VIENNA, 1900s. The city is beset with brothels and loose morality. Unable to gain control, the Duke of Vienna leaves the city and appoints his deputy, Angelo, to govern in his absence. Angelo resolves to clean up the city and revives strict laws against sexual licence. Under these laws, a young man, Claudio, is sentenced to death for having made his fiancée Juliet pregnant. Angelo also threatens to demolish all the city’s brothels, including theone run by Mistress Overdone and her pimp, Pompey. Meanwhile, the Duke returns to the city in disguise. Shocked to hear of Claudio’s fate, his friend Lucio visits Claudio’s sister, Isabella, who is a novice nun. He persuades her to plead with Angelo for her brother’s life. Angelo promises to spare Claudio’s life if Isabella will sleep with him. She refuses.
Isabella visits her brother to tell him that she must keep her honour and he must die. The Duke, disguised as a friar, overhears their conversation and approaches Isabella in secret. He reveals that Angelo has an ex-fiancée, Mariana, whom he treated badly. After meeting, Isabella and Mariana plan to fool Angelo: Isabella agrees to have sex with him but only in a darkened room where, in fact, Mariana will take her place. Unaware of being tricked, Angelo betrays Isabella anyway by trying to carry out Claudio’s execution, but his plans are interrupted when the Duke reveals himself.
Approx. Run time: 3 hours
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
September 16, 6:30 PM
“To whom should I complain?”
When a young novice nun is compromised by a corrupt official, who offers to save her brother from execution in return for sex, she has no idea where to turn for help. When she threatens to expose him, he tells her that no one would believe her. Shakespeare wrote this play in the early 1600s, yet it remains astonishingly resonant today. Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, directs this new production.
‘This fresh, insightful version of a morally murky play finds the RSC on flying form’
Mail on Sunday
‘Excellent…a rolling mass of desire, repression and duplicity’
‘Gregory Doran’s s plendidly lucid production…proceeds with the pace of a thriller’
‘Gregory Doran’s insightful realisation of Shakespeare’s notorious “problem play”…a rare opportunity to see such an effective staging of this difficult text’
Tickets: $12/All Seats