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March 2013
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Andrew Patner on Arts and Culture

Critic's Choice: A Swing and No Miss

Andrew comments on Robert Falls‘ new production of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” at Goodman Theatre.


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  • Michael Meshenberg

    Hi Andrew,

    I agree with most of your comments about Measure for Measure. Falls is often edgy which is what makes his plays challenging, sometimes unnerving. Setting it in NYC in the 60s is clever though, having lived there during much of that time, the sleaze he depicts seems pretty far over the top. But I guess that’s what distinguishes art from reality. And the disco scenes in the prolog and conclusion (ssh) were a bit silly, if entertaining.

    My one complaint – and it’s a big one – is the gratuitous killing off of the Isabella character. Despite the Duke’s attempt to bring happiness to everyone by matching them up, Shakespeare left the ending ambiguous. That’s fine with me; I can either supply my own ending or leave room for thought or discussion. I don’t know why Falls felt a need not only to wrap things in a bow for us but also in a nasty way that does the play a huge disservice. Sure the play is problematic. It has elements of drama and comedy. But Falls’ need to throw in some tragedy, too, all but ruined the experience. He’s a talented director but, in this case, he got too carried away with his own ego by rewriting Shakespeare. Unnecessary and disappointing.

    I’d be interested to know what you and others think.