Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Measure and More

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Coffee and Conversations gathering at the Barksdale this morning. What a good time! It is always fun to see Mary and I was especially happy to finally meet Susan Haubenstock. And the mix of theater folks and theatergoers in the crowd came up with some great questions. Jill Bari did a great job of hosting – perhaps my biggest thrill to come out of the morning is that I can now say that I’ve shared a stage with JB Steinberg!

Also, I wrote up my review of Measure for Measure this past weekend and I don’t want to give away too many details but I use the word ‘gratifying’ in my summary of the show. It’s kind of a weird word to use, particularly when you expect theater to be “exciting” or “engrossing” or “enthralling” or “electrifying” – and that’s just the adjectives that start with ‘e.’

But I think gratifying really fits this show. M4M certainly deserves the moniker “problem play” as there are many comic moments but there are some very serious elements, specifically a death sentence and sexual extortion. Even though there is a resolution that makes what happen not rape, exactly, it’s still a little oogy.

Even so, what made me happy about this show is that, while I thought there were some rough spots where the mix of comic and potentially tragic was a little awkward, in the end it all came together beautifully. I find plays often lend themselves to culinary metaphors and with ‘Measure for Measure’ there were courses that were purely delicious (Liz Blake’s Isabella) and some that bordered on too tart (John Moss as Lucio). But I left feeling grateful that I attended, thoroughly sated in terms of my theatrical appetite, and full of interesting things to think about (that would be the aftertaste, I guess).

This is not damning with faint praise; it’s just me struggling in my own inarticulate way to say that while I don’t think M4M was necessarily a knock-you-off-your-feet “Wow!” show, it was a sitting-in-an-easy-chair-after-Thanksgiving-dinner ‘Ahhhhh…” kind of show. And that to me is gratifying. Make sense?

1 comment:

Andrew Hamm said...


Is "oogy" one of those synonyms for "hilarious" that you struggle to find?

I am finding that Measure has a long, slow finish like a really good Merlot or Norton, and that the aftertaste is quite different than the initial bouquet.

There's always a certain amount of familiarity, even "getting tired of it," that tends to happen over a long rehearsal-and-performance process, but I find that I enjoy the experience of this play more and more with every passing week. Part of that is because Liz is delicious, of course, but I just love doing this play, I adore the cast and crew, and will be sad when it's gone.

Thanks for the kind words. And the "Coffee and Conversations" was really fantastic!