Think you’ve got problems? Get a little perspective with Shakespeare’s most famous problem play, Measure for Measure. Among other timeless topics, the play addresses hypocrisy in public figures, government’s meddling into people’s private lives, and that old favorite: lust, and what to do about it.
The Vineyard Playhouse series, Shakespeare for the Masses, which usually performs at the Playhouse, brings Measure For Measure to Che’s Lounge this weekend since the Playhouse is dark for a few weeks. Shakespeare and other playwrights will be in residence again later this spring.
The Shakespeare folks are excited about their first remote gig, especially at Che’s Lounge, a venue the troupe feels is the perfect setting for the intimate, shadowy world of the play. The brainchild of Chelsea McCarthy and Nicole Galland, Shakespeare for the Masses bills itself as the quick and painless and free way to enjoy Shakespeare in the off-season. With a consistent ensemble of nimble Island actors, the shows are performed in less than 90 minutes, after one day of rehearsal. A tongue-in-cheek narrator lends modern commentary and clarity to the events.
Since October, Shakespeare for the Masses has staged script-in-hand productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and All’s Well That Ends Well — all with a considerable amount of physical movement: duels, battle scenes, kidnappings and assassinations. (The founders credit the troupe’s two fight choreographers, Scott Barrow and Mac Young, for the success of such ambitious undertakings.) Because Che’s performance space is smaller and more intimate than the Playhouse, Measure for Measure will be a little less physical, but no less theatrical.
Adapted by Ms. Galland and Ms. McCarthy, Measure for Measure will feature Christopher Brophy, Victoria Campbell, Brian Ditchfield, Brooke Hardman, Liz Hartford, Christopher Kann, Jill Macy, Paul Munafo, May Oskan and Molly Purves as the narrator. The series is sponsored in part by the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council.
The free performances are Friday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at Che’s Lounge in downtown Vineyard Haven. Running time is approximately one hour and 15 minutes. For more information please call The Vineyard Playhouse box office at 508-696-6300, or visit the theatre’s Web site at vineyardplayhouse.org.