June 01, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment News
In Full … Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 17th season with the ‘dark comedy’ Measure for Measure. It plays in repertory with A Midsummer’s Night Dream Tuesdays through Sundays in the 520-seat open-ended Mainstage tent in Vanier Park from June 14 through September 23. Kathryn Shaw, Artistic Director of the Acting Program at Langara College’s renowned Studio 58, joins Bard on the Beach for her first season as director.

Measure for Measure is a powerful moral drama that examines love, lust, duplicity, and the abuse of power. Lord Angelo (Ian Butcher) is empowered by the Duke of Vienna (Scott Bellis) to correct the lax morals in Vienna in his absence. Angelo closes the brothels and imposes the full measure of the law on noble Claudio (Kyle Rideout), sentencing him to death for fornication with his fiancée, Juliet (Tara Jean Wilkin). Claudio’s friend Lucio (Haig Sutherland) visits Claudio’s sister Isabella (Karen Rae), a novice nun, and convinces her to appeal to Angelo for clemency. The previously puritanical Angelo is consumed with lust for Isabella and makes her the ultimate indecent proposal – will she exchange her virtue for her brother’s life? Escalus (Russell Roberts), a respected official, also tries to arouse Angelo’s sense of mercy, but the Provost (Mike Wasko) is ordered to have Claudio executed the following morning. Meanwhile the Duke, disguised as a Friar, has been quietly monitoring the intrigue and intervenes with a plan of his own – Angelo’s forsaken bride Mariana (Melissa Poll) will take the place of Isabella in the illicit liaison. Meanwhile the city’s prostitutes, pimps and jailers – the bawd Mistress Overdone (Colleen Wheeler), her servant Pompey (Allan Zinyk), the Executioner (Paul Moniz de Sá), Elbow the constable (Josue Laboucane), and the prisoner Barnadine (Parnelli Parnes) – provide a colourful portrait of life beyond the law. Caught up in the intrigue are the Duke’s confidant, Friar Peter (Bernard Cuffling) and Isabella’s guardian, Sister Francisca (Luisa Jojic).

Kathryn Shaw has set Measure for Measure in troubled pre-war, 1930’s Europe where militarism and the desire to perfect society were on the rise. Set Designer Kevin McAllister’s multi-leveled stage provides an intimate audience/stage relationship, while the dramatic tensions of this play are sharpened with a black and metallic palate. Mara Gottler’s costumes help depict the play’s juxtaposed worlds: rigid uniforms for the military; formal suits and neat feminine silhouettes for civilians; raunchy and colourful attire in the cabaret; the pristine look of the church; the faded garb in the repressive prison camps. Gerald King’s lighting, Stephen Bulat’s sound design, and Nicolas Harrison’s fight choreography reinforce the contrast of these cultures. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Marcella Hyde (Apprentice Stage Manager).

Performance details for Measure for Measure are as follows:
• Previews: June 14, 15, 16; Opens: June 17
• Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from June 14 to September 23 – Mainstage tent in Vanier Park.
• Plays in repertory with A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
• Forum: Shakespeare & The Abuse of Power – Monday, July 10, 7 pm; led by SFU’s Paul Budra
• Celebrating Red & White wine event – post-show on August 19.

Play tickets are $17.00 to $29.50. Order through the Bard Box Office, either on-site or by calling 604-739-0559, or on-line at www.bardonthebeach.org. Season Sponsor is Starbucks and Production Sponsors for Measure for Measure are Jaguar/Land Rover.