Six players. Six doors. A city torn.
In a fight between the preservation of morality and the desires of the flesh, there’s no end to the shocking drama that unfolds in Measure for Measure from Fiasco Theater, on stage now at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
This lesser known, but essential work in the collection of playwright William Shakespeare comes to life brilliantly in the Pamela Brown Auditorium, featuring an outstanding ensemble, including Louisville’s own Jessica Wortham (Esaclus/Mariana) who usher the audience through a provocative series of events, keeping us engaged every second of the show. Using smooth acapella musical transitions, revolving entrances and exits, and seamless shifts between character roles, Fiasco Theater’s Measure for Measure embraces a simplicity of set, while executing a complex plot with ease.
At first, the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare’s pen was at odds with our ear for modern vernacular, but the foreign feeling faded quickly as bonds with the characters married the language with the narrative in a way that, at intermission, made us forget there was ever an adjustment to be made.
It is impossible to hail one player above the rest in this ensemble. They waltzed together through the storyline, luring us to dance with them through the tension of each moment. We pleaded in our minds with Isabella for true justice, felt the pain of separation and threat of death, and begged in our hearts for the Duke to remedy the mess made from Angelo’s desire to both enforce and evade the law.
Cheers to Paul L. Coffey (Angelo/Elbow), Matt Dalall (Claudio/Pompey), Devin E. Haqq (Duke), Stephanie Machado (Isabella/Mistress Overdone), Paco Tolson (Lucio/Froth), and Jessica Wortham (Escalus/Mariana) for a tremendous performance, as well as Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld for outstanding direction of this incredible show!