Going to see one of Shakespeare’s comedies is a real treat for me, although not all of his comedies are created equal; “Measure for Measure” is more of a dark comedy and doesn’t really have many of the elements of a Shakespearean comedy. Last weekend I saw Fiasco Theater’s interpretation of it at the New Victory Theater and thought it was thoroughly entertaining, funny and thought-provoking.
In the play, the Duke of Vienna installs the deputy to enforce the city’s strict laws, disguises himself as a friar and finds out the consequence of the deputy’s actions towards the citizens. In the meantime, Isabella, a young nun, has to choose between saving her brother’s life by losing her virginity to the deputy, or living with the knowledge that she could have prevented her brother’s death. After the Duke (still disguised as a friar) devises a plan that will save Isabella’s brother and the plan fails, the Duke decides to “return” and take charge.There are six actors in the performance and they each have two roles – with Andy Grotelueschen playing the Duke and the Duke disguised as a friar. The double roles obviously enable the play to be performed with less actors but also have another purpose: they show different sides of man – the head (intellectual), the heart (spiritual) and the groin (primal). For example, Emily Young (who was probably the strongest performer) plays a madam in a brothel and also a novice nun.The set design by Tony Award-winner designer Derek McLane (Broadway’s Ragtime, Grease, Anything Goes) was minimal but clever and efficient. The music was chosen by Ben Steinfeld who is the musical director and also performs and co-directed the show with Noah Brody. The music, in both English and Latin, is by English Renaissance composer William Byrd who was a contemporary of Shakespeare. It was sung a capella and the harmonies by the group were simply gorgeous and eerie. This group of six (who, by the way, are all graduates of the Brown University/Trinity Rep M.F.A Acting Program) displayed some major talent when it comes to acting and singing. They made watching a Shakespearean dark comedy fun, intriguing and entertaining!
The performance runs about 2 hours plus a 15 minute intermission. It’s appropriate for kids ages 13 and up.
When: Through March 16th, 2014
Where: The New Victory Theater
209 West 42nd Street, Between 7&8 Avenues, New York
Price: $14-$38 per person
To Purchase Tickets click here.
To purchase by phone call (646) 223-3010
Box office is open Sunday & Monday 11am-5pm; Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-7pm
Photos by Joan Marcus
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets.