Oxford Theatre Guild to Stage MEASURE FOR MEASURE, 23-26 Oct
Oxford Theatre Guild, Oxford's leading theatre company for non-professional actors, returns to staging Shakespeare with Cate Field's new production of Measure for Measure. This classic tale of obsession, morality and corrupting power is brought to life at the North Wall Arts Centre from 23rd to 26th October.
Set somewhere in small-town America, this moving and powerful re-imagining follows the story of Vince, known by his constituents as "The Duke". A charismatic but flawed political leader, Vince leaves his office in the hands of his virtuous deputy Angelo, hoping that his protégé will raise the town from the vice and degradation it has found itself mired in. But Angelo's rule proves harsh and a young man, Claudio, soon finds himself in prison: his marriage rendered invalid by a technicality, he is condemned to death for fornication with his own wife. When his sister Isabella tries to intervene on his behalf, her pious appeal spawns a corrupting obsession which threatens to turn a good man into a tyrant and pull the whole town down with him.
Shakespeare's darkest comedy, Measure for Measure pits justice against decency, morality against goodness and legality against legitimacy, asking whether what is right and what is legal are one and the same. Director Cate Field's bold decision to stage this performance in the modern political climate of America's Deep South gives resonance to Angelo's sanctimonious law enforcement and turns this 17th-century play into a very 21st-century tale of power, corruption, and sexual desire.
"With his obsessive focus on faith, morals and regulating what other people do in their bedrooms, Angelo's idea of virtue has a lot of parallels with the Tea Party movement currently sweeping through US politics. That similarity was one of the big reasons I thought that modern America would work, thematically, as a setting for this play. Once we got into the rehearsal room we realised that the issues and arguments in this story could be found just as easily on any peak time episode of Fox News." said Field. "All too often, performances of Shakespeare feel distant and removed from what really happens in the world we all know. But the questions asked in Measure for Measure are questions that the world still wrestles with, and the play presents us with a stark and unflattering reflection of our own time."
Performances of Measure for Measure run from 23rd to the 26th October at 7.30pm at the North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford with a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday 26th. Tickets are £13 (£11 concession) and available to purchase from thenorthwall.com, by phoning 01865 319 450, or in person from The North Wall Arts Centre. Group discounts are available.