It's all about giving, as good as you got
I am a music centered individual. Walking, thinking, singing Toni Price's Measure for Measure Sunday morning -- before viewing the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre's of William Shakespeare's play Measure for Measure Sunday afternoon -- had me wondering if songwriter's David Olney and Gwil Owen took the theme of theit M to M song from Shakespeare's play.
Mayhem, deceit, manipulating ulterior motives are just a few of the nefarious deeds of the conspiring cast of characters in what is defined as a Shakespeare 'problem play'. According to the 'What's It All About Shakespeare' website:
The term problem play began as a label for a form of 19th century drama, which contains contentious social quandaries. These 'problematic' subjects are debated by the play's characters, who have opposing points of view on the topic. Thee term problem play began as a label for a form of 19th century drama, which contains contentious social quandaries. These 'problematic' subjects are debated by the play's characters, who have opposing points of view.
Get your theater going head around that statement and it will be easier to understand the flurry of characters, opinions, actions inundating this play with considerable topics to ponder.
Acrosstown Repertory Theatre Director, President, 'Jane of all things needing to be done' Carolyn Salt and what appears to be a cast of a thousand characters weave a tale of conspiracy both intended, and unintended. This betrayal of souls, psychological-one-upmanship creates a golden rule observance, action-reaction result, and a measure for measure intellectual dual of minds, hearts, and spirits.
A quick tip is in order before seeing the play GLOBer: Study the plays program cast list for names and character identifiers of the twenty something subjects of this measure for measure comeuppance.
The story opens with Duke Vincentio, (Jesse Vale), appointing Lord Angelo, (Michael Glover), as his deputy to rule Vienna in his absence. Vienna has become loose in its moral behavior and Angelo's attempts to turn the city around and his strict enforcement of the laws against immorality resulting in the imprisonment and a death sentence for Claudio, (Alex Barba), since his fiancé, Juliet, (Jessica Jenkins), is pregnant. Lucia, (Milo Brooks), a friend, takes this news to the convent where Isabella, (Andrea Young) , Claudio's sister, is about to become a nun. And so this 18th century soap opera works to a crescendo of manipulating of facts, (Alternative facts?) contrivances, and guilty pleasures.
Ms. Salt deftly utilizes the entire ART building moving characters and their multiple story lines to center stage from multiple exits emphasizing their part in this charade of misconstruing reality.
Very nice job to the ART Cast & Crew for collaborating on a portfolio of unique, 'time relevant' costumes that immediately send the viewer to another time, and place
I found myself intently studying characters like Isabella and Angelo and how their actions, motives fit into the procession of events unfolding in Vienna. Each of the cast's characters, er, ugh, actors contribute a distinctive important component of the story:
- Andrea Young, image above left, was excellent portraying a woman facing a 'Sophie's Choice' type decision. Does Isabella give up her vows of chastity, nunnery for the life of her brother?
- Miilo Brooks', image above right, Lucio is a spellbinding study of conceited personality, duplicity, and selfish motives.
- Marietta Gallor's, image below, portrayal of Escalua moved the story smartly joining the threads of the multiple plot lines together very nicely. (Beautiful shot Keith McInnes.)
In a story of conspiratorial plotting and planning the final scene of the play brings all the threads of the story together with the ultimate measure-for-measure rebuke when the Duke makes things right with surprising actions.
Much applause to the ART Design Crew for creating a life like world on the stage utilizing a 'less is more' concept. The idea of scenic background images projected as a back drop to the action was both clever and smart. Many of the scenic placements left me contemplating the images falling and behind with the action on the stage.
The GLOB Master's laugh out loud moment came in the second act with the presentation of Angelo's(?) head to the Duke.
Very close to being overwhelmed with story lines, characters, the crisis confronting Isabelle and Claudio moved the story forward for me. The idea of forcing Isabelle to experience the ultimate decision making of family or moral convictions was superb. A decision I believe will leave you nodding your head in measure-for-measured agreement.
Special Thanks to the Hippodrome's Keith McInnes, and Gainesville Downtown website for the Measure for Measure images. The Acrosstown Repertory Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure continues through July with shows on various days, and times. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.