- Twenty-Something Theatre presents Temporary Thing's The Bomb-itty of Errors at Studio 16 (1545 W. 7th just off Granville Street) until April 22. Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets. com/event/212588.
COMBINING Elizabethan theatre and modern day hiphop may seem like an odd pairing, but the producers and cast of The Bomb-itty of Errors, an "ad-rap-tation" of William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, are confident it will be a hit in Vancouver, where the Bard tends to be enjoyed straight up and on the beach at Vanier Park.
"If you actually read The Comedy of Errors - a lot of the characters lines are rhyming back and forth with one another, so it's a perfect chance to blend hip-hop and Shakespeare theatre," says Jameson Parker, a producer and actor in the play.
Parker's Vancouver-based Temporary Thing has teamed up with Twenty-Something Theatre to present Shakespeare's farcical tale of mistaken identity, which has been transformed into a 90-minute hip-hop comedy where all the lines are rapped. The show kicks off April 4 at Studio 16 (1545 West Seventh Ave.) and will run until April 22.
According to Parker, the awardwinning adaptation originally was written by theatre students at New York University a decade ago and became an Off-Broadway hit before earning rave reviews for productions in London and Chicago.
The Vancouver show will feature a live DJ who will spin 21 original hip-hop numbers composed by local artist Anami Vice. The play includes 22 characters-both male and female - who, in the Shakespeare tradition, will be played by four male actors, adding to the already chaotic script.
"It's very funny and very, very fast paced," says director Catriona Leger, a 15-year theatre veteran. "There are a lot of very quick changes, lightning quick, and on top of all the Shakespearean language and hilarity is the added bonus of music."
Leger said one of the most challenging scenes is when all four actors play all of their characters in a four-minute span and sometimes have less than 10 seconds to change costumes. She added the actors really show their strengths with how well they take on the roles of the female characters.
"You would be surprised with how much fun men have dressing up and pretending to be women," she says.
Parker, who plays five roles including protagonist Antipholous of Ephesus and his wife Adriana, said the theatre team has brought in four costume assistants to aid the actors during the most frantic moments of switching the uniquely designed costumes.
"The costumes are unbelievable-they're worth the price of the ticket alone," he says. "They're all custom built and have this LFMFAO-meets-William Shakespeare kind of feel to them. And then the set is awesome, it's got this huge graffiti mural."
Another draw to the production, according to Parker, will be how the Studio 16 theatre space has been modified into a lounge where theatergoers can grab drinks throughout the play without interrupting their neighbour.
"What we're creating in the theatre is almost like a bar that you're going to go into to sit and watch a hip-hop concert slash play," he says.
Director Leger admits she was initially nervous mixing Shakespeare and hip-hop, especially working with hip-hop artist Anami Vice, who recently signed a major record deal. But in the end, she enjoyed the process and sees the unusual combination attracting not just a 20-something crowd but a wider ranging audience.
"It's like Shakespeare got married to a 1990s or 1980s hiphop wife and they had four kids," she says.
For more information, go to bombittyoferrors.com. For tickets, go to brownpapertickets.com.