Joseph Midyett and Bjorn DuPaty both laugh when they said the one job they wouldn’t have wanted is directing “The Comedy of Errors.”
“The Comedy of Errors” is a classic Shakespeare play about two sets of twins -- one born to a noble family, the other to a not-so-noble family. The twins are switched at birth and then separated.
Ian Belknap’s dilemma? Having to cast two sets of twins. Luckily, he found classically trained actors who look enough alike to play twins.
Bjorn DuPaty (Antipholus of Syracuse) and William Sturdivant (Antipholus of Ephesus) play the noble twins. The other set of twins are their servants played by Sid Soloman (Dromio of Syracuse) and Joseph Midyett (Dromio of Ephesus).
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“I never thought I’d be part of two pairs of people who look alike,” DuPaty said. “So far, it’s just been a great time. I’ve loved playing the character.”
The tour just started and the cast is getting used to each other and being on a tour bus.
“There are 17 of us on the bus,” Midyett said.
That includes seven actors, the company manager and the director. The crew travels separately with the lights and set.
“It’s cool,” Midyett said of the travel.
He also loves the play.
“People will come in and ask, ‘This is Shakespeare?’ You will be in for a treat,” Midyett said. “‘The Comedy of Errors’ is the first of his mistaken identity plays. It reminds (me) of all the buddy movies of the 1940s and 1950s. All of them branched off of this play.
“You come here with the expectation of Shakespeare. You expect to hear some ancient language. You hear us say things that are normal and see bits you see on television. You forget it was written hundreds of years ago.”
However easy it is for the audience to keep up with the play, it’s difficult for the actors, Midyett said.
“There are no leads,” he said. “Everybody has to bring their ‘A’ game.”
The Acting Co., which is presenting this play, was founded by the late John Houseman, in 1972, to give people outside New York to see professional actors. The company has performed more than 130 plays for more than three million people.
Alumni include Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson, Patti LuPone, Jesse L. Martin, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright and Keith David.
The company does two shows in repertory. The 2011-12 tour includes “The Comedy of Errors” and “Julius Caesar.”
The play presented at each venue is decided by the venue.
“It (‘The Comedy of Errors’) is a nice break from the serious drama of ‘Julius Caesar,’” said DuPaty, who plays Julius Caesar.
Both actors are very happy to be working with the Acting Co.
“It’s every actor’s dream,” Midyett said. “That’s what’s so great. You’re doing what you love. Yesterday, I was Octavius Caesar, the next ruler after Julius. I’m doing Dromio tonight. These are two vastly different characters. You have to stay very grounded.”
Both actors had auditioned for the company before and this is their first year.
Luckily for them, “this is a company that once you’re in the company, you are considered to be a member,” DuPaty said.
In fact, this is DuPaty’s first tour. So he talked to his actor friends who have toured and got advice on what clothes to take and what to expect to eat.
“It’s really hard and you have to plan ahead and buy things,” DuPaty said. “We have a small refrigerator for 17 people so there isn’t a lot of space for everyone. You do the best you can.”
He’s trying to eat healthy this year, so he’s buying vegetables and fruits.
“I’m trying to increase my intake of water; cut out processed sugar and eat the right types of meats.”
So far, both said everything is fine on the bus and they don’t anticipate any personality problems.
“People have been really respectful of each other,” DuPaty said. “But I know you can’t get away from each other.”
DuPaty has family in Georgia and he’s looking forward to seeing them.
“They’re going to come see me in Columbus,” he said. “We’ll get to hang out for a little while afterward. It will be my grandmother and my aunt and my cousin on my father’s side of the family.
“I’ll be a little bit nervous. I’ll try to remain focused.”
As for Midyett, he’s loving it.
“It’s the life,” he said. After the tour ends in May, he’ll head back to New York.
He hopes that he’ll get a call to return to the Acting Co. next season.
“I’m sure the phone will ring,” Midyett said. “This is a coveted company to work for.”