Considered a dark comedy, Measure for Measure accentuates themes of justice and mercy, and how desire can tempt even the most pious of men. Shakespeare also underlines the power of a woman’s sexuality and how their purity can be so seductive.
The plot, although simple, is thick with undertone. Duke Vincentio (an excellent Thomas Bigley, who also directed) takes his leave and entrusts his title to Angelo (Justin Michael Terry). A devout man, Angelo must enforce the most severity of the law against Claudio (Matt Calloway), who has been caught in a tryst with Juliet (Lauren LoGrasso). Enter Lucio (an always superb Gus Krieger), who will fetch Claudio’s sister, the nun Isabella (Jennifer Bronstein), to plead for his life. Angelo falls for Isabella, and will grant Claudio’s release on the condition she sleep with him.
Of course, not everything is as it appears. The Duke has not left, but is in disguise, a sly observer under the guise of a monk. Now it is a race against the sentence and what order the Duke can restore and keep Isabelle chaste.
As this is a Porters of Hellsgate production, expect subtle twists to the Bard’s text. The play is set in 1890sVienna, as the costumes by Jessica Pasternak reflect. Thomas Bigley has an actor’s vision and lets his cast immerse themselves into their roles. The sets gave the stage definition and space, very well done.
It is sobering to muse that the actions in Measure for Measure are as relevant now as they were when first staged in 1605. Yes, we evolved, but how much?
Measure for Measure plays at
The Whitmore Theatre located at
11006 Magnolia Blvd. in
North Hollywood. For tickets, call
(818) 325-2055 or visit