Measure for Measure

Company B Belvoir, 2010
Photo by Heidrun Löhr for Company B Belvoir.
Continuing his examination of power in Shakespeare’s plays (following Julius Caesar, and the divisive and behemoth War of the Roses, both for STC), Benedict Andrews turned his distinctive aesthetic vision and directorial style to this, one of Shakespeare’s more problematic comedies. Set in a revolving hotel room, complete with sheer curtains, functioning shower, toilet, and television, not to mention video cameras operated by the cast, it took a long hard look at a society where, as he says, “pornography has become mainstream, sex tapes of celebrities are public fodder, politicians speak in the name of God; where all private lives are under constant surveillance, where everything is numbered and consumable.” Culminating in one of Shakespeare’s classic ‘wonder upon wonder’ revelatory endings, outrage is heaped upon outrage, and it leaves is bewildered, morally and imaginatively. This is not so much Shakespeare as Andrews’ stream of falling coloured confetti, his cluttered mise en scene, his over-reliance upon video close-ups, and his hyper-intellectualisation of everything which seems to have no rational explanation in his on-stage world.