Director Chris Edwards says the show is a remix of Shakespeare and hip-hop
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project experienced a pause, due to the Omicron variant, but is now set to unleash a staging of “The Bomb-itty of Errors” in late spring. The show will be performed at The Charlestown Working Theatre in Charlestown, from May 25 – June 26. The production marks ASP’s second return to live theater, following the pandemic shutdown in March 2020. This particular work has been on Director Chris Edwards’ “list of shows to program,” ever since he assumed his current position in 2017. He has “a deep relationship with the piece,” having performed in it on tour and also directed it in New York and Las Vegas.
“Growing up in the ’80s,” Edwards said, “I was a child of the hip-hop cultural movement. The art form was exciting and empowering. It gave me a creative outlet and helped me to express myself with passion. This play is a love letter to hip hop and an ode to Shakespeare. Using The Comedy of Errors as a framework, Bomb-itty takes that plotline, characters, and much of the language and “remixes” it. It’s a throwback to a time when hip-hop practitioners focused on ‘moving the crowd’ and bringing the community together for a celebration of life and a hope for a better future, no matter color, creed, or culture. We selected this title as part of this post-Covid season because we need a space to come together, laugh, and be joyful amidst the tumultuousness of the last two years. I have never worked on a show with such broad appeal as Bomb-itty, which is so important as we experience being together in a shared space again.”
Mara Sidmore, managing director of ASP, commented on the production’s delay and its joyous return to the stage, coming up in May:
“It was an immensely difficult decision to postpone “The Bombitty of Errors” in January due to the Omicron variant. We had literally just loaded all of our scenic elements into the space and the actors were supposed to be on set in another day. With a successful run of a fall show behind us, we were so frustrated to have to close yet again. Two years of closure in a business that relies on gathering in intimate spaces is just brutal. Fortunately we were able to find a window when all of the actors were available in May-June to remount the show. We are about to go into rehearsals for the “reboot” of Bomb-itty and can’t wait to show off our talented team with this upbeat, music-filled piece.”
Edwards described the fusion of Shakespeare and hip hop that is at the show’s core:
“We are a company that explores heightened language. Bomb-itty, written in the mid-nineties, takes the heightened language of Shakespeare and re-mixes it with the heightened language of Hip Hop. I’ve always felt that there is truly very little difference between the two worlds in terms of heightened language. And as ASP’s Artistic Director I am interested in plays that are in conversation with Shakespeare as well as playwrights who are experimenting with language in a similar way to Shakespeare. This play also creates a more inclusive and diversified look at language and characters, which is exactly what ASP needs to be doing right now.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.