Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park Tour takes on Measure for Measure

Samantha Bitonti as Isabella in Measure for Measure.

For the first time in its 31-year history, Repercussion Theatre is presenting William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure for its summer tour of Shakespeare-in-the-Park, visiting Montreal and surrounding area parks from July 11 to August 11. Also a first is that the text which, for the past 3 years has been translated into French and accessible on smartphones for Francophone fans of the Bard, is now available in English as well, enabling Anglophone audiences to follow the artful language, courtesy of Plank Design.

Measure for Measure is one of Shakespeare’s later plays, written at the start of the reign of King James, and around the same year that said monarch began work on his version of the Bible.

In the play, the Duke of Vienna, concerned by his city’s moral depravity, puts his sternest deputy, Lord Angelo, in charge. Angelo immediately launches a massive cleanse of the Renaissance “sin city” while the Duke roams the streets in disguise, to observe his social experiment. Lord Angelo’s inflexible approach to law enforcement condemns Juliet’s fiancé, Claudio, to death for the crime of impregnating her out of wedlock, despite their impending marriage.

When Claudio’s sister, the virtuous and chaste Isabella, begs Lord Angelo to spare her brother’s life, her beauty and his newly granted power corrupt his judicial impartiality, and he makes an impossible proposal to a woman about to become a nun. In the end, everyone escapes mostly unscathed, while the audience is left to ponder whether justice has truly been served.

“Shakespeare’s stories are multifaceted, reflecting the complexities of human behaviour and relationships; I think it’s one of the reasons his plays still ring true so many centuries after his death,” said Amanda Kellock, Repercussion Theatre’s Artistic Director and the director of this production. “Exploring the ways in which his stories still resonate is thrilling to me; it allows us to look at our own time with fresh eyes. Conversely, discovering how many issues have endured all this time can be a bit discouraging, but looking away never solved a problem. This play focuses particularly on the hypocrisy of those in authority; how the laws they create can ignore human frailty and are not always applied equally. It shows a powerful man threatening a woman, confident that he will not face any consequences because of his social standing and reputation, an all-too-familiar contemporary situation. It’s no surprise this play was quoted frequently during the Kavanaugh/Blasey-Ford trial last year in the U.S.”

“Measure for Measure is not done often so I’m thrilled to introduce it to Shakespeare-in-the-Park fans,” continued Kellock. Repercussion Theatre alternates its programming each year between comedy and tragedy.

Following last year’s Romeo and Juliet, and given the current global state of affairs, Kellock found Measure for Measure a fitting choice this summer, rich with the kind of truthful humour that makes audiences cringe as they laugh. “Although,” she added, “there are plenty of lighter moments, especially in the form of Elbow, the adorably, verging on terrifyingly, inept policeman!”

MOBILE SHAKESPEARE

For the fourth consecutive year, all Montrealers will be able to enjoy every nuance of the Bard’s language thanks to Plank Design, and its unique application that enables Francophone and Anglophone audiences to follow the text by reading sub-titles on their smartphones.

SHAKESPEARE-BEFORE-THE-SHOW

Once again, Repercussion Theatre is partnering with Geordie Productions to introduce young audiences to the fascinating world of William Shakespeare through playful, innovative workshops. There are seven 2-hour workshops, from 4 to 6:15pm, for kids and teens at a cost of $35. Participants will explore Shakespeare’s language, as well as some of the characters and themes in the play, in a fun, accessible way. They will also have the opportunity to meet the cast of Measure for Measure. Maximum of 10 students per class. Parents can register their children at: http://geordie.ca/gtsworkshops

  • 8-12 year olds, Wed. July 17th Westmount Park
  • 13-17 year olds, Wed. July 17th Westmount Park
  • 11-17 year olds, Thurs. July 25th Rembrandt Park
  • 10-15 year olds, Sat. August 3rd Jeanne-Mance Park
  • 11-17 year olds, Thurs. August 8th Pine Beach Park
  • 8-12 year olds, Sat. August 10th Westmount Park
  • 13-17 year olds, Sat. August 10th Westmount Park

RAIN CANCELLATIONS

The tour is designed to be performed outdoors; however, there are alternate indoor locations in walking distance of the respective park at most locations. A show is cancelled ONLY in case of heavy rain and/or thunderstorms. Updates will be available by website, social media channels, and phone. To stay abreast of last-minute changes in the performance schedule, follow Repercussion Theatre on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or call 514-931-2644.

—Repercussion Theatre

—www.repercussiontheatre.com

—AB

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