Ending Ithaca College’s Main Stage season is the adaptation of “Measure for Measure,” the exciting and wildly humorous play by William Shakespeare. Wendy Dann, director and assistant professor of theater arts, attempted to create an eccentric world that makes a successful pairing with Shakespeare’s classic text.
“Measure for Measure” is a tale about power, love and religion. Claudio (senior Bruce Landry) is sentenced to death by deputy to the duke, Angelo (junior Dan Berlingeri). Claudio’s sister and nun Isabella (senior Hallie Peterson), appeals to
Angelo in hopes of rescuing her brother, but is faced with the tough decision to give up her virginity to save her brother or stick by her religious beliefs. The Duke of
Vienna, Vincentio (senior John Gardner), then goes on a mission to expose Angelo for his power-hungry and crooked ways with the help of Isabella and Father Friar.
Walking into the theater, audiences are faced with a brilliant set created by senior theater design major Lawrence Moten. The main set piece includes a disk-like circular platform, which supports rusted arches of metal that revolve during scene changes. The warped configurations of metal not only create new settings, but also picturesque and metaphorical moments. In one scene,
Isabella visits Angelo to ask for Claudio’s life. The curved piece placed between them displays the physical and symbolic guard that Isabella needs to protect herself from
Angelo. The set’s movement helps propel the story forward with each revolution by allowing audiences to see the continuous
progression of the storyline.
Junior sound designer Kymberly Donowski and lighting senior designer Aaron Porter help establish the wacky side of the play through the music and lighting. The music featured throughout the production is an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, strong bass beats and other dissonant sounds. The music was used sparingly, but effectively, emphasizing speeches and key moments of realization. A deep and strong beat, accompanied by a low-pitched humming sound, aided in the tension building while Vincentio devised the perfect plan to save Claudio.
The lights were a show of their own. The production featured vibrant blues and pinks that helped to make the atmosphere fun and
believable. The show opened with a short choreographed sequence that featured ensemble members who are seen only with the flash of lights that are pointed up, rather than down. This effect quickly established the dark and mystical world of the play.
All of the characters had their own distinct standout personalities on stage. Lucio (senior Miles Crosman) served as the comic relief during the play and certainly hit his marks. Crosman brought the meddling character to life with swift movements and signature gestures, such as the simple flip of his hat.
The Provost (freshman Matt Madden), the leader of Vincentio’s henchmen, showed his strength — or lack thereof — with every piece of scenery or other character he attempted to lift, establishing a running joke throughout the show and leaving audience members rooting for him by the end.
The contemporary take on the play serves Shakespeare’s piece well. From the intricate yet elaborate set to the strategic and visually pleasing lighting, this production certainly measures up.