The Errors in Comedy of Errors Lecture at Gunn Library

Yale College Professor Dr. Mark Schenker will present a companion lecture to his first presentation. This talk, The Errors in Comedy of Errors, will take place at Gunn Memorial Library on Thursday, June 27. This event is sponsored by Friends of Shakespeare in the Litchfield Hills, together with Shakesperience Productions in connection with their main stage productions of The Comedy of Errors in Washington, CT this summer.

Dr. Schenker will explore the tragicomic elements of the play that point us to darker themes in Shakespeare’s tragedies and especially his “problem plays”: All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida. The errors in the play are misunderstandings, mainly based on judging from appearances (e.g., someone mistakes one person for his twin). But those errors are not slight: they occur in the context of shipwreck and family separation, imprisonment and threat of execution. And they engender accusations of adultery and insanity. Because the play is a comedy, those errors are corrected eventually—and improbably. And yet, but for its neat resolution of confusions, The Comedy of Errors has the makings of  tragedy, and serves as a reminder of how closely allied the comic and the tragic are in Shakespeare’s body of work.

Mark J. Schenker has been at Yale College since 1990.  He is currently a senior associate dean of the College and dean of academic affairs.  A former lecturer in the English Department, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University with a concentration in 19th-century and early 20th-century English literature. Dean Schenker has for over 25 years lectured on literature and film and has led book discussion series in more than 100 venues in Connecticut, including public libraries, museums, and cultural centers.  For the past decade, he has given programs on Shakespeare’s plays in conjunction with Shakespeare on the Sound.  He also conducts monthly sessions for a number of private reading groups in Connecticut. In 2001, he received the Wilbur Cross Award for Outstanding Humanities Scholar, presented by the Connecticut Humanities Council.

The main stage productions of The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare in the Park will take place at the River Walk Pavilion in Washington, CT nightly Wednesday, August 7th through Sunday, August 11th at 7:30 p.m. Performances are free; audience is encouraged to bring blankets, beach/lawn chairs and picnic dinners for these theatre under the stars events. For more information visit

Thursday, June 27, 6:30 pm


The Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
at Route 47 on the Green