Saturday, June 06, 2009

Measure for Measure

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. - Shakespeare

I attended a performance of Shakespeare's play Measure for Measure produced by the Promethean Theatre Ensemble Saturday evening. It was a lively and sometimes effective production of a difficult play that is considered one of Shakespeare's "problem" plays.
Ostensibly a comedy (his last), but filled with more serious themes such as the nature of justice and the appropriate relations of married and unmarried men and women turning on the question of what and when sexual relations should be engaged in. The main characters, the Duke, Angelo, Claudio and Isabella were effectively portrayed by Robert Tobin, Brian Pastor, Zach Clark, and Beth Wolf, respectively. The most appealing character was Lucio, described by Shakespeare as a "fantastic," a flamboyant bachelor who provides much of the play's comedy. He is a friend of Claudio, and tries to help him. He is a bawdy gentleman, but beneath his comic veneer he has a darker side, and was outstanding as played by Nick Lake. I also was impressed by the ability of Tyler Rich to effectively portray five different minor characters, giving each a distinctive personality.

As I mentioned this is a difficult play to effectively mold into a coherent whole. This production succeeded more often than not and the acting was sometimes outstanding. The result was an enjoyable evening of Shakespeare on the stage at the City Lit Theater.

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