Measure for Measure, Shakespeare's tangled tale of lust, loyalty and mercy, is being presented by People's Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, PA, through April 5. Previews began Mar. 11 for a Mar. 13 opening.
This unusual production is drawing on the art and culture of Germany's pre-Nazi Weimar Republic as a setting for the play's shawdowy world -- where lechery masquerades as virtue and raw ambition takes the place of honor.
The production, directed by People's Light Associate Artistic Director Stephen Novelli, has a unit set designed by James F. Pyne Jr. that features a sharply angled steel structure and cubist-influenced drops (to create a "sense of confinement," according to Pyne).
"Measure for Measure has been called a morality play, a tragicomedy, a problem play," Novelli said recently in an interview. "At the heart of the play is a question: Is it possible to know yourself? The Duke does what he does in an effort to learn who he is. Angelo and Isabella find themselves in situations in which the person they think they are turns out not to be who they really are.
"Shakespeare refuses to solve any moral issues. He leaves it totally in the hands of the audience to come up with any moral judgment if they can." The cast of Measure for Measure includes Peter DeLaurier as the Duke, Mary Elizabeth Scallen as Isabella, Graham Smith as Angelo and Benjamin White as Claudio.
Upcoming plays at People's Light include Jane Martin's Jack and Jill (April 22-May 17) and Shaw's Heartbreak House (June 3-28).
For more information, call (610) 647-1900.
-- By Rebecca Paller