Play by play: August 14, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  August 11, 2009

CAROLINE IN JERSEY | Melinda Lopez's new play finds our heroine "down and out in New Jersey" — her acting career is tanking, and "a peculiar stranger has made his presence known in her new apartment." Can Caroline get it together? Will LeBow, Matt McGrath, Lea Thompson, and Brenda Wehle star in this world premiere; Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic associate Amanda Charlton directs. | Williamstown Theatre Festival Nikos Stage, 1000 Main St, Rte 2, Williamstown | 413.597.3400 | Through August 16 | Curtain 3 + 8 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8:30 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $35-$37

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS | It's Shakespeare, it's on the Common, it's from Commonwealth Shakespeare, one of the nation's top purveyors of free Shakespeare, and it's, yes, free — what more do you need to know? Okay, this is one of the Bard's earliest and slapstickiest comedies, and it doesn't get done all that often. Arriving at Ephesus from their home in Syracuse, Antipholus and his servant Dromio discover their separated-at-birth twins, who of course have the same names, so you can imagine the mistaken-identity situations that ensue. Steve Maler directs; the cast includes Remo Airaldi as Dromio of Ephesus, Larry Coen as Dromio of Syracuse, Joseph Stamell as Antipholus of Ephesus, Dan Roach as Antipholus of Syracuse, Fred Sullivan Jr. as Ægeon, Jennifer Ellis as Adriana, and Zofia Gozynska as Luciana. | Boston Common, Parkman Bandstand || Through August 16 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | 7 pm Sun | Free

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) | What Hamlet calls "this most excellent canopy, the air," overhangs Orfeo Group's zanily laid-back rendition of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), which is being performed outdoors on the Publick Theatre stage in Christian Herter Park (through August 9). Neither are the plays of Shakespeare the only things squeezed by Orfeo, which reduces the title of this parodic staple to The Complete WOWS(A) and shaves the price of admission on Thursdays to nothing. The popular RSC spoof has been purveying its low-comedy take on the lofty art of the Bard since 1987, but Orfeo throws in a party atmosphere, beer for sale, and an urgency of its own. As Risher Reddick, nimble and nauseated as the show's too-too-solid heroines, warns, the troupe rejects "dry, boring, vomit-less Shakespeare." Joining the retching Risher in punning, mugging, swashbuckling, and pratfalling under the direction of Steven Barkhimer are an at-ease Daniel Berger-Jones and a more pompously antic Gabriel Kuttner. Skilled actors on a hambone holiday, they'll have you laughing till the light fades. | Publick Theatre, Christian Herter Park, 1175A Soldiers Field Road, Brighton | 617.747.4460 | Through August 22 | Curtain 6:45 pm Thurs-Mon | $15; Thurs free to all; Fri free with student ID

THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE | Shakespeare & Company takes up Donald Freed's 2005 two-hander, whose setting is Panama City in 1989. The Americans are invading, and General Manuel Noriega has taken refuge in the papal nunciature, where his only companion is Archbishop José Laboa. The general is looking for sanctuary abroad from the archbishop; when that's not forthcoming, he starts to explain why the mess he's in is not his fault but the CIA's. Dennis Krausnick and Ignatius Anthony make up the cast; Dee Evans and Clare Reedy direct. | Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | Through August 16 | Curtain 8:30 pm Thurs + Sat | 3 pm Sun | $16-$38; $11-$29 students, seniors

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Related: Play by Play: July 3, 2009, Play by play: July 10, 2009, Play by play: September 4, 2009, More more >
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