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It’s the classic tale of mistaken identity.

Separated at birth, two sets of identical twins are reunited in their hometown for a comedy full of wild mishaps, slapstick, puns and wordplay. William Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" will be the latest play performed by Central Community College students at the Fine Arts Theater on the Columbus campus, 4500 63rd St.

Play director Stephanie Tschetter said even though the play was written hundreds of years ago, its themes are still relevant today.

“This play asks sort of the fundamental questions like, who am I? Who am I when no one else is around? Am I still the same person? How do I love someone? And how does that love translate and reciprocate from another person? Shakespeare asks those questions, and I think that’s why we’re still studying him today,” Tschetter said.

The 70-minute show runs at 7 p.m. today, Oct. 19, and 20 and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21. Tickets are $7, but the show is free for all CCC and high school students, as well as younger children. This will be the first production Stephanie Tschetter has directed at CCC after being hired on as a theater and speech instructor. She said she wanted to do a Shakespeare play because it gives students a window into theater history, noting it has been 10 years since the school performed a Shakespearean act.

“I picked this one because it’s so fun, and it’s so bizarre, so interesting. And I knew when I first got here and met the kids, we could do this,” Tschetter said. “They would be able to handle the slapstick universe this play calls for.”

The twin Antipholus of Syracuse will be played by Christopher Hemmer, 22, of Grand Island. The CCC sophomore is studying theater management and production. He said he's excited to perform a Shakespeare classic.

“I haven't really done Shakespeare before,” Hemmer said. “So I enjoy really making it bigger than life, which all Shakespeare should be.”

Freshman Nathan Hennessy, 18, of Stromsburg, said Shakespeare allows for performers to fully express themselves. He'll be playing Dromio of Syracuse, another one of the twins.

“Shakespeare gives you an outlet to go above and beyond,” Hennessy said. “You have this language that if someone's not understanding what you’re saying, you let them understand through your physical actions and your emotion behind the language.”

Sophomore Sydnee Craig, 19, of Giltner, will be playing Hennessy's twin counterpart, Dromio of Ephesus. She said her character gets beat up a lot by the rest of the cast with tons slapstick humor.

“I love scene five, the very last scene,” Craig said. “Everyone is on stage and I do a lot of mirroring with the other Dromo, it’s my favorite thing. And it was so hard not to laugh every time we did it, because he (Hennessy) just has amazing facial expressions, it’s just great.”

Bethany Ernst, 19, of Columbus, said she was drawn to theater because she didn’t fit in with the other kids in school who preferred sports. The sophomore is studying to be a high school teacher and will be playing the role of Adriana, the wife of one of the twins.

“I like theater because I’m one of those people who wear their heart on their sleeves, I’m a very emotional person,” Ernst said. “And I like being able to show people something they can relate to.”

The play will be the first production freshman Sawyer Hahn, 19, of Grand Island, will participate in at CCC. He'll be playing the role of the conjuring schoolmaster Dr. Pinch and said he hopes to one day be a professional voice actor.

“‘I’m normally nervous for my first play,” Hahn said. “I just try to imagine that no one is there because if I imagine that they’re there, I will literally screw up my lines.”

Cast members include Katie Shonka of Bellwood, Bethany Ernst of Columbus, Paige Hinkle of Columbus, Kim Mendoza of Columbus, Jacob Kucera of David City, Matthew Lunde of David City, Amber Foland of Fullerton, Sydnee Craig of Giltner, Sawyer Hahn of Grand Island, Christopher Hemmer of Grand Island, William Morales-Guerra of Lexington, Katie Skinner Milligan, Mathew Becker of Minden, Savanna Hraban of North Bend and Nathan Hennessy of Stromsburg.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News Review.

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