CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A womanizing male in authority, unequal treatment under the law, religious convictions in black and white tested in a world of gray. Headlines taken from today’s news? No, these are some issues portrayed in Shakespeare’s 416-year-old play Measure for Measure arriving in Buckhannon this month.
“At its core Measure for Measure is a play about when women speak up, men in power don’t believe them,” said the Vintage Theatre’s founding producer and artistic director Jason A. Young. “I feel like the time has come for us to tell this story.”
The Rustic Mechanicals is the Shakespeare arm of the Vintage Theatre Company of Clarksburg. They will perform the play at the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The public is invited. Admission is free of charge, and the performance will be followed by a post-show talk back with the theater company for those audience members wishing to participate.
The production will be set in a fictious Virginia town notable for its brothels and promiscuous behavior, Young said.
He said the play follows a young Isabella and her brother Claudio who become entangled in intrigue full of deadly potential when a temporary leader handed the reins of power begins to implement harsh changes.
The play is known as one of Shakespeare’s so-called problem plays because the tone shifts back and forth abruptly from seriousness to comedy, said Associate Producer Beach Vickers.
“The audience will find themselves rocking in their seats between laughter and suspense in this quick-moving 90-100-minute edition of Shakespeare’s masterpiece,” he said.
“We really feel like this play, and specifically our production of this play, is going to resonate on college campuses,” added Young. “The content, and our take, is a truly wonderful reflection of so many issues our world is facing today.”
The Rustic Mechanicals, now in their sixth season, have grown from a troupe of seven actors to this year boasting a roster of over 40 West Virginia artists.
kd saine (sic, small letters) directs the production. Sarah Smith is featured in the role of Isabella.
“It’s challenging to portray a character with such unwavering moral convictions,” said Smith. “I’m most excited to show Isabella’s wit, courage, and fierce determination in the face of a world that finds her fragile.”
The Truth is Truth tour, as the company calls it, of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure will also perform in Clarksburg, Fairmont, Morgantown, Wheeling, Moorefield and Keyser.