This weekend, I attended Baker College’s production of The Comedy of Errors. BakerShake, as it’s known, has been a Rice University tradition since 1970. The actors prepare a Shakespeare play for 6 weeks and present it in Baker’s elegant commons (seen below). The Comedy of Errors was the first comedy they had performed in a while, and I was excited to see it. I don’t know much about theatre, but I wrote down my rudimentary thoughts here.
The play was overall really fun for me to watch. The acting was well done, and many of the cast members had a gift for comedy. A highlight for me was the actor who played Dr. Pinch, who was hilarious. More specifically to BakerShake, I think that Baker was a really special place to perform Shakespeare. The commons set the tone perfectly for the show. The stage (or rather, section of ground with audience members on couches on both sides), had the intimate appeal of dinner theatre without the cheesiness. Furthermore, the cast members, since they didn’t have a backstage, sat around the stage, reacting to what was happening while in character. This added to the vibe of the play, which was that Shakespeare does not need to be taken seriously. We felt free to laugh loudly, react to things that happened, and interact with the cast. The characters sat on audience members’ laps, tossed us props, and even took an audience member’s ringing phone and improvised an impressive couplet about technology on the spot.
I really enjoyed my first BakerShake, and am considering participating next year. Be sure to be on the lookout for BakerShake when it returns next spring!