Comedie of Errors, to be performed this weekend at the DeBaun Auditorium in Hoboken. Sure, the Jersey
City resident is happy to be getting back to performing after a long hiatus, and pleased to be re-debuting in a
Shakespeare work, but mostly she's excited because she really doesn't know what's going to transpire on
"I'm starting to be a little nervous, but I'm so looking forward to see what the heck is going to happen," said
No, Boyle isn't just having the usual pre-show jitters about whether the performance will go off without a hitch.
It's just that she really doesn't know anyone else's lines but her own, and she's not even sure which of the
actors will be playing which role. And even though it might seem a cavalier approach to such a respected
playwright's work, that's just the way Shakespeare staged his own plays.
"If you were an actor in Shakespeare's day, you would never get a copy of the script," explained Clarke
McCarthy, artistic director of the production. "There were a lot of reasons for that, including the fact that there
was no copyright law. It was also very expensive and time consuming to copy and distribute the play."
So actors, with few clues about the play beyond their own lines, written on a roll of paper between two dowels -
hence the term role to describe one's part -delivered their lines on opening night without knowing who would
reply or what they'd say. All they knew for sure was a three-word cue, said by one of the characters immediately
before each line they were to deliver.
"The question then becomes how can you do that, how would that be possible?" said McCarthy.
McCarthy happens to know that Shakespeare allowed for the seemingly impossible, because she's spent 15 years
studying the bard's First-Folio, the first collection of Shakespeare's work, taken directly from the original rolls.
"You see a lot of odd spellings, words capitalized seemingly at random," McCarthy said of the First-Folio.
"Shakespeare wrote in code, characterization, movement, all of these things."
Examples of this code include a capitalized word mid-sentence, which meant the word was to be emphasized.
Shakespeare also devised certain rules, like that the actor always crosses toward the person to whom he is
speaking. McCarthy, a prot