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October 27, 2005



Today Thursday, Oct. 27 marks opening night for the Shakespeare Performance Troupe's ambitious production of Measure for Measure, known as one of the Bard's darkest comedies. The play, directed by Shannon Friday '06, will be performed in Erdman Living Room from 8 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Oct. 28, and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29. It is free and open to all.

Friday, who has been working with the SPT since her first year at Bryn Mawr, says that the production of Measure represents something of a departure for the group. "It's a very dark play," she notes. "Last semester, the troupe performed its first tragedy Othello and it was very successful. So this semester we felt we were up to the challenge of taking on a play that challenges the boundary between comedy and tragedy."

The disruption of boundaries, Friday says, is a thematic concern that informs many aspects of the production. The play's action focuses on a threat of sexual violence, a "very explicit violation of personal boundaries," she explains. "That was challenging for the actors it required them to be very aware of their bodies and of notions of personal space."

The production similarly challenges theatrical boundaries, with devices that pierce the artificial "fourth wall" between players and audience, obscure certain scenes from the audience's view or locate them in several points around the room so as to call attention, Friday says, to "the voyeuristic nature of theater."

"I hope to force the audience to consider what it means that they have crossed a boundary by consenting to watch the action of the play, such as when Isabella is molested," says Friday.

The show also strikes out on a new path, Friday says, with a bit of experimentation in physical theater. "We have always used a very naturalistic style of acting in the past," she says. "In this production, several of the minor characters use coordinated, choreographed movement."

The Duke will be played by Madelynn von Baeyer 06, Angelo by Maria Semaan '08, and Isabella by Alison Reingold '09.

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