Hoosier Bard Productions, the theatrical arm of the New Oxford Shakespeare project at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, takes to the stage next month for a two-weekend premiere of two back-to-back versions of Measure for Measure at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St. Shakespeare’s original and uncensored Measure for Measure will kick off the first weekend (February 21, 22, and 23) while Thomas Middleton’s more familiar 1621 adaptation of Shakespeare’s play will be featured in the second weekend of the show (February 28 and March 1, 2). Tickets ($8 students with ID, $15 general admission) are available at indyfringe.org/measure-measure or 317-869-6660.
Measure for Measure features an international cast of stage veterans, local actors, and IUPUI students under the direction of Equity actor, IUPUI professor of drama, and Hoosier Bard founding director Terri Bourus.
Bourus returns to directing after last year’s local and international success of The History of Cardenio, Shakespeare’s “lost” play, “a winning blend of the twin geniuses of Cervantes and Shakespeare” (Indianapolis Star). Bourus’s “fast-paced emotional rollercoaster of a production” received rave reviews, and was hailed as “a lively gripping piece of theatre” (Shakespeare Bulletin) and “a rollicking experience” (Nuvo). Shakespeare scholars from around the world converged on Indianapolis, and the BBC praised Cardenio as “bold and brash and funny and moving”. The play and production were also the subject of the WFYI television documentary, “CSI: Shakespeare”.
Measure for Measure asks: when is sex legal? What is the relationship between politics and morality? It tells the tale of a liberal Duke who leaves his city under the control of the conservative fundamentalist Angelo. Angelo immediately starts enforcing laws that make illicit sex a capital offence and a young man, Claudio, is sentenced to death for getting his teenage girlfriend pregnant. When Isabella, Claudio’s devout sister, pleads with Angelo to save Claudio’s life, the results are explosive.
Audiences will want to come both weekends to experience the two very different worlds of Measure. During the first weekend, audiences will be treated to the warmth and optimism of Shakespeare’s Italian summer setting, which invigorates the more lighthearted and comedic version of the original play. The second weekend presents a darker interpretation of the story, set in the winter world of wartime Vienna.
“It’s a fabulous learning experience for IUPUI students to work alongside dedicated professional actors,” Bourus says. “It’s a unique challenge and opportunity for actors, to stretch their boundaries and perform two different interpretations of their characters back to back in successive weekends. ”
Audiences will have the chance to hear more about the two texts and two interpretations at the talkbacks with Bourus and members of the cast, after each performance.
The second weekend will also feature a special ASL translated performance, under the direction of IUPUI English Professor Janet Acevedo.
The New Oxford Shakespeare project is also hosting a Master Workshop titled “Editing and Performing Measure for Measure” on Saturday, February 23 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. In addition to Bourus, and NOS editors Anna Pruitt and Rory Loughnane, the workshop will feature two special guests, Professor Gary Taylor, one of the world’s leading Shakespeare scholars (Florida State University) and actor-director Christopher Marino (Chicago). In this workshop, participants will have an opportunity to discuss some of the various issues that arise in editing and performing Shakespeare’s plays with the on-site editors of The New Oxford Shakespeare. Topics include: early modern adaptation; editing drama as a multimedia art form; theatre as a form of research.
Indy Fringe Ticket site: http://indyfringe.org/measure-measure
NOS site: http://liberalarts.iupui.edu/shakespeare
IUPUI Event calendar entry: http://events.iupui.edu/event/?event_id=7986