Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Beckingham
Production Stage Manager, Kaelyn Cahill
Auditions: Tuesday, Dec 11, 3.30-6 in the Black Box
Callbacks by invitation, Wednesday, Dec 12, 3.30-6 in the Black Box.
Cast Meeting/Read Through: Monday Dec 17, 3.30-5.30 in the Black Box.
Rehearsals: After winter break, Monday-Friday 3.30-6.
Dress Rehearsals: Monday, Feb 25; Tuesday, Feb 26;
Wednesday, Feb 27 (Invited Dress, curtain at 6pm).
Opening: Thursday, Feb 28 @ 7pm
Performances: Mar 1,2,7,8,9 @ 7pm
Strike: Saturday, Mar 9, following the show. Expect to be there late!
About the Play
Duke Vincentio has become somewhat of a recluse, and feels flustered and remiss about the total free will and liberty the citizens of the town seem to have. He is curious about how power should be wielded and how justice should be negotiated. The Duke announces he’s heading out of town, and appoints a strict, puritanical deputy, Angelo, as acting duke. However, Duke Vincentio stays in town (in order to witness the goings on), disguising himself as a Friar.
Angelo immediately arrests Claudio and sentences him to death for fornication. Claudio’s crime was impregnating his fiancee, Juliet. Lucio, a quick-witted bawd, and friend to Claudio, convinces Isabella (Claudio’s sister, who wants nothing more than to be a nun) to meet with Angelo and plead for Claudio’s life. She does, but Angelo, overcome with lust, gives Isabella an ultimatum: If Isabella will sleep with Angelo, he will set her brother free. If not, Claudio will die as an example for the rest of the city.
I will be moving the original time period and setting to 1882 Virginia City, Nevada. Through the lens of the #MeToo movement, we’ll explore themes of justice, liberty, temperance, morality, and power.
Note: Here is the version of the script we will use – M4MScript. Feel free to read through. I have yet to fully edit it; some further monologues and scenes will be truncated. I do not believe in “translating” Shakespeare’s text. Only certain words will be changed – eg. “Virginia” instead of “Vienna.” Maintaining the rhythm (or iambic pentameter) of the verse is of utmost most importance in my opinion. So, even with cuts, I will still take pains to keep the intended rhythms.
About the roles
Due to the intended thematic investigation of this production, the genders listed for each character are fixed as stated – some are male, some are female, some roles can be either or other.
Duke Vincentio/Friar Lodowick (male): He puts Angelo in charge to enforce laws that haven’t been enforced in 14 years. Then, he disguises himself as a monk so he can stick around and see how things go. He finds himself in the middle of a scandalous situation. Sometimes his actions are full of mercy; other times, not so much. He is a flawed character.
Angelo (male): A pious man with a well-hidden past, he is put in charge during the Duke’s absence and begins harshly enforcing the strict sex-related laws. Faced with his own sensual desires, he makes a hypocritical choice that brings his past back into focus.
Escalus (male, female, or other): A judge who, despite being more qualified for the job, is overlooked by the Duke when Angelo is named as his replacement.
Provost (male, female, or other): A disenchanted Marshal working for Angelo. Above all else, the Provost wants true justice served.
Elbow (male): A well-meaning, but simple townsperson, who believes he is a constable, but essentially makes glorified citizen’s arrests. He speaks multiple malapropisms – eg. “benefactors” instead of “malefactors.”
Isabella (female): A young woman who, after a violent incident, wants more than anything, to be a nun. Her intentions are postponed when she decides to help her brother. Then she faces a horrible dilemma that challenges her entire belief system. She is strong, eloquent, and stands up for herself…..but which ever way she turns, she remains at the behest of men.
Claudio (male): A young man desperately in love. For impregnating his fiancée, he is arrested and sentenced to death as an example to the community that the strict sex-related laws are back in effect.
Juliet (female): She is unmarried and pregnant. Her baby’s father is imprisoned and sentenced to death. Her commitment to Claudio never wavers, and neither does her sass.
Mariana (female): She was engaged and abandoned by Angelo, but she still feels somehow connected to him. In a way, she sacrifices something of her integrity in order to help Isabella and Claudio.
Mistress Overdone (female): Madam of the largest brothel/saloon in the city, she is concerned about the implications these laws have on her livelihood and those she cares about. She is witty, courageous, and a benevolent soul.
Lucio (male): A mischievous member of the town who gets by on charm. He is a frequent visitor to the brothel/saloon. He is a cad; a fop; or in Shakespeare’s day, what was known as a “fantastic.” Under it all, he means well.
Pompey (male, female, or other): An entertainer (clown of sorts) and confidant to Mistress Overdone. They will do anything for her. They are the town’s snoop.
Ensemble Characters (to be played by 4-5 male identifying, female identifying or other actors)
Gentleman & Lady, Friar Thomas, A Justice, Varrius, Froth, Abhorson, Barnardine, Francisca, Lords, Officers, Citizens, Attendants, Messenger.
CLICK HERE for an: Audition Form
People will be seen in the order they sign up. If you have a conflict and have to leave early, please let stage management know.
For initial auditions, please prepare one of the sides below. Not every character is included. On the audition form, you may still specify who you would like to be considered for, but on Dec 11, I really just want to hear/see how you tackle Shakespeare’s language. The main thing to take into consideration is status – are you reading for a character who is a member of the government, who may have a certain amount of power, or are you reading for a character who is a town citizen? Also, are you speaking in verse or prose? Verse is indicated by all capitals in the left indent. This means that there is a certain meter or rhythm to the speech. It is meant to be poetical (eg. The Duke, Angelo, Isabella, Lucio, Juliet). Prose is not capitalized and is everyday speak (eg. Mistress Overdone, Pompey, Elbow, most ensemble characters). Especially emphasize imagery, repeated words, and other poetical devises – alliteration, assonance, metaphor, antithesis, etc. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE MEMORIZED, BUT PLEASE BE FAMILIAR WITH THE TEXT. Overall, I just want to see that you have made a conscious effort in creating a character who has a story – voice, physicality, objective, etc.
Here is a link that can offer further help, including a glossary of unfamiliar words: https://shakespeareswords.com/
Please only prepare one of the following sides for the Dec 11 auditions: