10 December 2010

Measure for Measure

Earlier this week, after a quick bite at the Ottoman Cafe (delicious sandwiches and delicate cups of Turkish coffee), I saw the Public's Mobile Unit production of Measure for Measure at the historic Judson Memorial Church. 

While Rob Campbell was outstanding as the evil Angelo and Carson Elrod injected humour as the gadfly Lucio some of the other performances seemed off. Although the production was uneven, sitting and listening to Shakespeare's words about truth and justice and the powers of the court while the wind howled outside was still a treat (but then aren't Shakespeare's words always a treat?). 

When Claudio, who has been condemned to death for fornicating with his betrothed outside of wedlock, states "the miserable have no other medicine but only hope" he seems to be speaking on behalf of many for whom this production was intended. 

The mission of the Public's Mobile Unit is to bring Shakespeare to those who are unable to attend the theatre—the incarcerated, the homeless, the elderly, the disenfranchised. After a two-week tour of places like the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island and the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults in Queens, the Mobile Unit brought the production to Manhattan so that New Yorkers who can go to the theatre could check them out. I'm glad I did. 

Seeing the play has inspired me to revisit some of Shakespeare's plays that I have not read in years. I shall be adding that to my list of New Year's Resolutions (which is growing by the day). 

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