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Measure for Measure

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Jason Kendall

In this, one of Shakespeare's darkest comedies, a nobleman is sentenced to die for getting his fiancee pregnant; the prince who sentenced him seduces a nun; and the true duke goes undercover as a monk to behold the prince's stern rule on the hookers, pimps and criminals with their backs against the wall.

New York Comedy Club
241 East 24th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
8 p.m., April 2-5, 9-12, 2000

Production Team and Cast

Director and Producer Jason Kendall
Assistant Director and Associate Producer Daniel Carroll O'Leary
Stage Manager and Dramaturge Rebekah Knoll
Music Director/Performer Joe Mattzie
Production Advisor Patrick Promelroy
Production Assistant Jennifer DuCaud

Picture Key
Michael Dufault
as Duke Vincentio
Greg Waller
as Angelo
Matthew Iott
as Claudio
Donna Stearns
as Isabella
Bob Armstrong
as Escalus
Letty Ferrer
as Provost
Lynn Antunovich
as Marianna
Melinda Ferraraccio
as Juliet
Ralph Carideo
as Abhorson
Aaron Macerelli
as Friar Thomas & Froth
Tim Gore
as Elbow
Werner Pauliks
as Pompey
Heather Berman
as Mistress Overdone
Rob Addison
as Lucio
John San Nicolas
as Barnadine

From the Program

In honor of OOB theater everywhere, I would like to ask the audience to also go see the other version of this play, currently in production across town. This is a unique opportunity to see two radically different performances of the same show. These shows, when seen in the light of the successes of "The Donkey Show", "Bombity of Errors", and many others, shows a resurgence of the classics on the New York stage. This trend may be due to a number of things, not the least of which is monetary. Lack of royalties combined with innovative thinking allows for some powerful and hilarious theater.

It was my hope to deeply explore and then reconstruct this so-called "problem play" of Shakespeare's. I was deeply influenced by Peter Brook's text "The Empty Space," and the following passage was an inspiration.

"Deadliness always brings us back to repetition: the deadly director uses old formulae, old methods, old jokes, old effects; stock beginnings to scenes, stock ends; and this applies equally to his partners, the designers and composers, if they do not start each time afresh from the Void, the Desert and True Question - why clothes at all, why music, what for? A deadly director is a director who brings no challenge to the conditioned reflexes that every department must contain.

For half a century at least, it has been accepted that the theatre is a unity and that all elements should try to blend - this has led to the emergence of the director. But it has been a matter of external unity, a fairly external blending of styles so that contradictory styles do not jar. When we consider how the inner unity of a complex work can be expressed we may find quite reverse - that a jarring of externals is quite essential."

It is my deep hope that I have found and encouraged both entertainment and challenge for the audience and that I have not become a "deadly director." M4M has both comedic power and high drama whil asking us to seriously consider the abuse of power. When this play is examined in terms of today's political landscape, this play has some rather potent statements, not just nationally, but right here at home.

Special Thanks: Amanda Silaski, Lou Salmone, Steve O'Neill, Shannon Haragan, David Lamberton, and Chris DePaola for their help in the audition process. Without them, it would have fallen apart at the seams. Patrick Promelroy, Jennifer DuCaud, Bob Cividanes, Abigail Kinney, David Lamberton, Amanda Silaski, Judith E. Taranto, Chris DePaola, Shannon Haragan, Players. Theater Rehearsal Studios, Ron Shetler Studios, 8th Avenue Studios, Ozzie, Al, Actors' Equity Association, and of course Phoebe and Tabitha. Also, thanks to the 2,131 actors who sent in their headshots for the auditions. Your hard work and desire to be in Shakespeare proves that Off-Off-Broadway theater in New York is vital and alive.

Synopsis (Warning: spoilers ahead....)

Act 1 The Duke leaves town and puts the strict Angelo in charge of Vienna. We see some street urchins playing around. A young gentleman, Claudio, is led to jail and imminent execution for getting his girlfriend pregnant. The Duke comes back to Vienna and disguies himself as a Friar to see how Angelo is governing. His sister, Isabella, is told of his predicament on the day she is to become a nun. The police put the very strict Law to work on the street urchins. Isabella pleas for her brother's life, and Angelo reacts unexpectedly.

Act 2 Claudio.s fiancee, Juliet, tries to visit Claudio in jail, and meets the Duke in disguise. Isabella meets Angelo privately to sue for her brother's life, and encounters a problem.

Act 3 Isabella comforts her brother in jail and tries to prepare him for his execution. The Duke overhears as friar and assists her. The Lawmen arrest the street urchins and clean up the city. The Duke learns the problems his lax goverment has caused.

Act 4 Isabella and the Duke execute a plan to solve their problem. The Duke tries to rescue Claudio himself in the prison, and meets the strange people who are incarcerated. Angelo learns the Duke is coming home early, and acts quickly.

Act 5 The Duke works it all out.(?)