Laugh/Riot presents the ancient Roman comedy ‘The Twin Manaechmi’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 10:14 PM
Laugh/Riot presents the ancient Roman comedy ‘The Twin Manaechmi’  by Anna Ashcraft
Menaechmus the traveler (Richard Kolbosky) and Peniculous (Jonny Rick) have a heated argument during rehearsals for ‘The Twin Manaechmi.’

Laugh/Riot Performing Arts Company will present “The Twin Manaechmi,” directed by Rob Connick and assistant directed by Shaun Taylor.

Laugh/Riot is currently in their fourth season and is the resident theatre for Edinboro University’s drama department. They provide performance and educational opportunities in theatre and the performing arts. 

This play eventually became the basis for Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” and the classic musical “The Boys from Syracuse.”

“The Twin Manaechmi” is a comedy about a mistaken identity. Originally written by playwright Plautus, this Latin-language play follows twins, Menaechmus, of Epidamnus, and Menaechmus, of Syracuse, who were separated at a young age.

“It is the story of twins separated at birth and rediscovering each other. It comes through in lots of plays, anytime you’ve got a circumstance where you’ve got characters who trade places with each other either unintentionally or intentionally, they take advantage of the fact that they look like each other,” Shaun Taylor, assistant director said.

Now searching for his long lost brother, one of the twins arrives in Epidamnus unaware when he does in fact meet his brother and is mistaken for him.

“One twin has landed in search of his other half and finally lands in the right town, [and in] a course of mistaken identities they discover each other and everything ends happily,” Taylor said.

“Ultimately each of the twins spend some time in the others shoes. The twin, who is traveling and has landed here, discovers his brother’s wife inadvertently and she’s not that nice. He also ends up with his brother’s mistress in the pink house. It is very slap stick and lots of physical humor and it is Roman, so there are some sex jokes.”

“It has been adapted into a sort of ‘Commedia dell’arte’, it is very fast and the scenes are relatively short,” Taylor said.

This year’s production of “Macbeth” was the first production of Shakespeare that Laugh/Riot has put on and was one of the most attended shows ever according to their Facebook page.

“Besides this year having a focus on duality, we’re also doing something special while showcasing theatre from every major era. Next up is our classical contribution of ‘The Twin Manaechmi’ a Roman comedy. After that will be ‘Killer Joe, the Northwest Pennsylvania debut of the Tracy Letts play,” according to the Laugh/ Riot Facebook page.

“It’s a great gift before the holidays, as well and a great way to laugh off those winter blues with ‘The Twin Manaechmi’ opening Dec. 3 and running to Dec. 13. Hope to see you there.”

The next Laugh/Riot show will be “Killer Joe,” running Jan. 14 through Jan. 24.

The show will run Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays Dec. 6 and 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 for EU students, $5 for EU faculty and staff and non-EU students and $10 for general admission.

Discounted tickets or season packages can be purchased online at Laughrioterie.com. 

Anna Ashcraft is The Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com

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