Measure for Measure – by AnnMarie Welser

April 8, 2013 in Blog by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

The Goodman adaption of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” may take place 400 years later yet the main storyline remains the same. The Duke (James Newcomb) announces he will leave and gives all power of the sinful city of New York (Vienna) to Angelo(Jay Whittaker), yet ironically stays within the city disguised as a priest. With the power to lead the wicked city, Angelo makes it his duty to rid the city of all evils starting with Claudio (Kevin Fugaro). Angelo uses Claudio as an example to all unlawful citizens, yet Angelo’s morals take a sudden twist once Claudio’s sister Isabella (Alejandra Escalante) enters. As a nun, Isabella prays and begs Claudio for her brother’s freedom . Yet Claudio is infatuated by her, and accepts only one promiscuous trade: her virginity. This renovation carries many surprises, ultimately shining upon the hypocrisy of government, the role of religion and morals within a society.

Robert Falls is a Shakespeare innovator. He modernized the tale and used theatrics which engaged and stimulated the audience, directing actions such as slow motion. Falls used references such as new set design, and fresh comedic lines to modernize this tale. Falls created a perfect blend of comedy and suspense by blending Shakespeare’s ironic wits with an edge.

The inner streets of the dirty city set the tone for the play and provided a breathtaking atmosphere within the theater. The scenery dazzled with street signs, graffiti and debris. Taking over much of the stage the scenery captured the audience yet the performers used this to an advantage. Instead of being consumed by such a dazzling set, the actors used every aspect of it portraying the various levels within a society. The beginning of the play was risqué, yet displayed all levels of the unrighteous city when in the mist of all the city’s sins Isabella was seen praying in a church. The performers brought the show to life as they perfected actions varying from sexual to religious. Angelo was an example of an stimulating, ironic character as he was thrust into leadership and set apart his morals by pursuing all he stood against. The role of the Duke was deep and hilarious, he engaged all to take part in his ironic and hilarious actions.

The technical elements brought the production to life. The costumes, lighting, and sounds captured the 70′s fashion and vibe. With special characters, an eye-popping set and other theatrics, the Goodman polished Shakespeare’s drama, creating a fresh and exciting adaption which all audiences will enjoy.