Rogue Performer Preview: Creating “Breakneck Comedy of Errors”

 by Tim Mooney

The Rogue Festival is almost upon us again and this year it will be in person. This is the first of several Rogue Performer Preview articles going up in the next few weeks. For the time being, they will all be here on KRL News as KRL is undergoing a redesign. We also have a Rogue Festival event page here on KRL News as well and you can learn more on the Rogue Festival website.

Breakneck Comedy of Errors is my fifth one-man Shakespeare Show! The Rogue Festival has seen two of them so far, as I launched my Rogue career with Lot o’ Shakespeare in 2012 and followed up with Breakneck Hamlet in 2016. Along the way I’ve also done a collection called Shakespeare’s Histories and Breakneck Julius Caesar, which may find their way back west one of these days!

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Last spring I had a wild inspiration: a festival out of New York City was featuring Comedy of Errors, inviting new ideas for plays based upon, inspired by, or loosely related to Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors
Tim in “Breakneck Comedy of Errors”

As a one-man show specialist, of sorts, the one show that I’d NEVER imagined as a one-person show was The Comedy of Errors

It features TWO sets of TWINS a-whirl in a wild series of mistaken identities with paths crossing and re-crossing… If this play is not already confusing enough, how do we make sense of “mistaken identity” when the only identity is a single person playing alone?  

It seems that the thing that I find most inspiring is when something seems the most impossible. (One monologue from EVERY Shakespeare play? All of Hamlet in an hour? The word “impossible” is, to me, like a red flag to a bull.)

It so happened that, what with the pandemic and a dry spell in the schedule, I suddenly had time on my hands and the opportunity to memorize the ten thousand or so words these one-man shows tend to demand. 

I spent May and June of 2021 memorizing Breakneck Comedy of Errors, creating costumes and dialogue and a visual concept for a videotaped performance for the So Many Shakespeares festival. I had NO idea if it was going to work. I even wrote the producer of the festival to suggest that we should call this a “work-in-progress.” (I think I feel this way about ALL of my shows, some two weeks before the first performance.)

Well, I recorded the show, edited it, and posted it on-line for the festival viewing, uploading the final copy about an hour before the very first premiere. 

People seemed to like it… perhaps much better than I did. Time went by, and the festival closed and that seemed to be that.

A month later, I got a small trophy in the mail: “Best Overall Show.”

Later that summer I posted the same show to the Minnesota Fringe Festival, also operating “virtually” in the summer of 2021. People watched and some of them posted “audience reviews” to the show. (ALL of those reviews rated the show with FIVE STARS.)

I never thought I’d turn this show into a live event. I thought a video version would be the extent of its life-cycle. But suddenly, I had requests for live performances, and a season of fringe festivals coming up. And so, now I get to find out live and in-person just what’s so funny about this show. And now, I’m starting to think about taking on ALL of Shakespeare’s 38 plays…“Breakneck Style.”

If I can make Comedy of Errors work, maybe there are no “impossible” plays.

 Breakneck Comedy of Errors will be at the Vista Theatre (1296 N. Wishon) for one weekend only, with performances March 4 (10 p.m.), March 5 (5 p.m.) and March 6 (3:30 p.m.).  Tickets to “Breakneck Comedy of Errors” are $12. More on Tim can be found at