Blount County folks were transported back to the 1500s this summer, getting a dose of comedic confusion in the process. The Tennessee Stage Co. brought one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays to the library lawn the evening of July 25, and approximately 150 turned out to watch the comedy that is based on confusion surrounding two sets of twins -- masters and servants -- who have no idea they have identicals wandering around the countryside.
Attendance was off for this year’s Shakespeare on the Lawn because of the threat of rain that hung on all afternoon and early evening, said Joan VanSickle Sloan, community outreach coordinator for the Blount County Public Library.
“We had about 150 people who came,” VanSickle Sloan said. “It threatened to rain, and that probably limited the number of folks who actually came. But the clouds actually kept the evening on the cool side, and it was the most pleasant evening of the summer.”
VanSickle Sloan actors put on a good show. “They did well. The story is one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays written sometime in the late 1500s,” she said.
VanSickle Sloan said the comedy has two sets of twins: A merchant and his wife have a set of twins and at the same time, a poor woman gives birth to a set of twins. The second set of twins are purchased by the merchant to serve as servants to the first set. A storm at sea separates the two pairs and the merchant and his wife. The confusion reigns supreme when the four end up in Ephesus.
VanSickle Sloan said the play was made especially interesting in that there was a set of twins in the cast, although not in the lead roles. Twin actors from Maryville, Chase and Chandler Condrone, performed in the play.
Even with the smaller attendance -- last year’s “Romeo and Juliet” brought a crowd of approximately 280 -- VanSickle Sloan said the Tennessee Stage Company actors enjoy coming to Maryville. “The actors love coming to Blount County because the audiences are such a delight. The actors love coming because the audiences are so responsive to the actors,” she said.