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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton Players perform “Measure for Measure”

<me rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.” - William Shakespeare.

The Carleton Players recently performed Shakespeare’s play “Measure for Measure.” The play was directed by chair of dance and theater, Professor Ruth Weiner who was helped by a creative team of Carleton students. The play, presented in four acts on the weekends of Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 6, 7 at 8 p.m. in Arena Theatre, had a great turnout on all nights.

The play is believed to have been written by Shakespeare in 1603-04 and is deemed one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, shifting between a comic tone and darker tone.

The Duke Vincentio (played by Alex Higgin-Houser) disguises himself as a friar to spy on his deputy, Angelo (Jared Evans) who has been given the responsibility of enforcing the law in Vienna, where the play is set.

Angelo begins his reign of enforcement by condemning a young gentleman Claudio (Geoff Williams) to death for impregnating his fiancée Juliet (Stephanie Guerrero). Lucio (Nathan White), a friend of Claudio, convinces Claudio’s sister Isabella (played by Kristen Johnson) to plead before the judge for her brother’s life.

Isabella gains audience with Angelo, pleads for mercy and successfully convinces him to postpone her brother’s death sentence. Angelo makes Isabella an offer that he will spare Claudio’s life in exchange for her virginity. Appalled by his offer, Isabella refuses and retorts that she will inform everyone of Angelo’s hypocrisy.

Isabella goes to her brother in jail and tells him to prepare for his death for she cannot commit a crime to save his life that would doom her to hell. This conversation is heard by the Duke who contrives a way to help Isabella by using the famous “bed trick.” The tryst takes place, but instead of Isabella, Angelo ends up consummating his betrothal with his fiancée Mariana (Chasya Hill) who he had refused to marry when she lost her dowry. Yet Angelo goes back on his words and sends the order to the prison that he wishes to see Claudio’s head. The Duke thus is forced to play the “head trick” where the head of a pirate who died of fever and resembles Claudio is sent to Angelo.

While Claudio is saved, The Duke returns to Vienna in his rightful position where Isabella and Mariana both approach him to voice complaints against Angelo. Angelo denies everything and blames the Friar for all the lies spread against him. As the trial progresses, The Duke reveals himself as the disguised friar and proves Angelo’s guilt. The Duke condemns Angelo to death but Mariana pleads for his life and he is released on the condition that he marries Mariana. The play ends with in ambiguity when the Duke proposes marriage to Isabella who does not respond to his proposal.

While concerning moral dilemmas, the fear of death and damnation and authoritarian rule, the play also concerns many lighter subplots concerning Lucio, Pompey (Hunter Knight) a barkeep and pimp, and Elbow (Alsa Bruno), a policeman.

“I loved the direction of the scenes between Isabella and Angelo, I was so absorbed”, said Anushka Patel ’12.

The actors also had great things to say about the director, Ruth Weiner. Alsa Bruno ’12, who played the jocular policeman Elbow said, “Ruth is really patient with you as an actor and allows space for you to be creative with your our character”.

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