Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure

Duke Vincentio of Vienna doesn’t have time to sit and chat. He’s got a dukedom to observe in disguise. “Our haste from hence is of so quick condition,” he says at the start of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, “that it prefers itself and leaves unquestioned matters of needful value.” Elevator Repair Service’s gaga production of the play at the Public Theater is in as big a hurry as the Duke, but achieves the opposite effect: it tears through the niceties of Shakespeare’s plot only to screech to nearly a full stop in the scenes of highest tension, ensuring that none of the most meaningful fragments of “needful value” passes unheard, if not unfelt.

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Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure (1604) has long been considered one of Shakespeare’s problem plays. Partly it’s because of corruptions in the printing, but also, as a purported “comedy,” it’s never fully satisfying. In the right director’s hands, though, it can be deeply intriguing and memorable. 

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