Boston Court Artistic Director Jessica Kubzansky has written, and directed, a fast-moving and unique take on Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” “the original #metoo story.”
By Carol Edger Germain
The audience views scenes outside and in two areas inside before being seated in the actual theater.
At first, the cast is rehearsing the new format for this classic, and actively musing on possible twists and turns. All are quite talented, involved, and eager to put in their two cents’ worth on how to stage various scenes. However, the renowned and controlling director of the play within the play, Bruce Elliot Norton [who also plays Duke Vincentio in the production; and both of whom are played by real actor Robert Beitzel (confused yet?)] powers ahead with his vision and goals and mostly staves off the creative possibilities presented by the other participants in the production.
Tension continues to mount as Director Norton introduces sexual twists and tones in a number of scenes. After we are seated in the theater, the pace speeds up even more, and “helpful suggestions” as well as downright dissent begin to weave throughout the rehearsal as tensions built in various pairings of participants. There is humor, too, which comes and goes, but the dissent and sexual tension grows uncomfortably. The ending is quite powerful, and theatergoers will be compelled to let their personal experiences and points of view define their thoughts and reactions to the conclusion.
Following are the real actors who played the actors who were playing other actors (some only had one role). I’ve listed them here so references would not be too cumbersome.
- Bukola Ogunmola: Dionna, the actor playing Isabella
- Desiree Mee Jung: Alexis, the Stage Manager
- Mara Klein: Brooke, the actor playing Marianna
- Dinah Lenney: Mary, the actor playing Escalus and the Provost
- Leo Marks: Sam, the actor playing Angelo
- Alexander Matos: J. Todd, the actor playing Claudio
- Randolph Thompson: Griffin, the actor playing Lucio
- Jenapher Zheng: Frankie, the Assistant Director
- Robert Beitzel: Bruce, the Director AND the actor playing Duke Vincentio
I encourage you to take a look at the website info on the production and view the three short videos (click here) to get a sense of the format of the play. Although the audience views scenes outside and in two areas inside before being seated in the theater, the play is not “immersive,” it is “observant” (i.e., you will be viewing the action from within the scene but will not interact with the actors).
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