REVIEW: Genesius Guild’s ‘Measure for Measure’ Really Measures up
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? More specifically, a summer evening spent watching a performance of Shakespeare as the sun shines golden on a stone amphitheater? Genesius Guild is showing “Measure for Measure (abridged)”, which will run for two more nights on June 26 and June 27 at 7pm in the Rock Island Lincoln Park
“Measure for Measure” showcased a metatheatrical experience and began by introducing the actors to the stage as themselves. Throughout the play, the actors remained visible to the audience. Such a peculiar opening invites the audience to partake in the production of live theater. The majority of costume changes are conducted on-stage and are well incorporated into the comedic and dramatic aspects of the storytelling.
With most outdoor theatrical venues, audience immersion can be limited by the facility as there are many
potential distractions for both audience and actors. However, the metatheatrical experience already functions to break the proverbial fourth wall. Thus, the audience can experience theater as an extension of the real world.
Mischa Hooker immersed the audience into the live theater experience with his performance of Escalus/Lucio. With such a comfortable stage presence and natural delivery, Hooker developed a notably enjoyable experience for all who were viewing. His inflection matched that of a poet, a manner of delivery perhaps William Shakespeare himself imagined.
Denise Yoder brought such character versatility and depth to the stage in her performance of Overdone/Mariana/Julietta/
Kitty Israel’s performance as Isabella was very forward and direct. Her character displayed sorrow with such emotive eyes and a well supported voice. Israel’s voice carried its character in
a very direct manner and was enjoyable to watch.
Noah Stivers portrayed Claudio/Provost/Friar Thomas, and in doing so, found himself switching between a prisoner and guard in the same sequence. Stivers had such distinct mannerisms that there was a clear distinction between two characters within the same scene.
Humor is a defining motif of most Shakespearean performances, especially when laced into the struggle and hardship. The humor written in the script was executed well, and there were many directorial decisions that created opportunities for this.
I recommend this show to all in search of a pleasant evening spent exploring the full enjoyment of a beautiful park and the artistic participation in live theater.
For more information on upcoming productions and for future show dates visit www.genesius.org.