Already closed | 2h 10m | East Village

Measure for Measure (The Public Theater)

From 88 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Clever

About the show

Elevator Repair Service, the Obie-winning company behind 'Gatz,' returns to The Public to celebrate their 25th season with a new production of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about vice and hypocrisy. More…

With athletic theatricality and Marx-Brothers-inspired slapstick, the ERS ensemble brings new life to this story of impossible moral choices in 17th-century Vienna. Radical experiments with speed set the play’s combination of the comically absurd and the tragically serious in stark relief, and deliver a new show that marries the company’s unique performance style with the Bard’s exquisitely lyrical language. ERS Founder and Artistic Director John Collins directs.

Member Reviews (88)


Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Clever

Indulgent, Slow, Quirky, Confusing

See it if You are very, very familiar with Shakespeare's plot, can tolerate drastically reimagined classics, enjoy what may be creative gimmicks,

Don't see it if You want your Bard done in linear style that doesn't challenge, don't like edited, rethought productions that can be hard to follow

Great writing, Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if A beautiful play. Some very nice, touching moments. And shockingly relevant to today.

Don't see it if The director made the weird choice of having the actors speed through much of the script, making it hard to understand.

Inexplicably schizoid, Lacks any subtlety, Indulgent

See it if Anything in theater is all right? How about a Shakespearean dramedy where several players act & the remainder do shtick? It's wearying &...

Don't see it if cloying. Add the incomprehensible speed at which much dialogue is delivered & you realize why there is no intermission - who would stay?

Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if You are a diehard fan of ERS. Although I am a fan of theirs this interpretation of Measure for Measure was disappointing.

Don't see it if You want a more traditional play without gimmicks and confusion. Also, over two hours without an intermission was very long in this case.

Quirky, Good actors underused

See it if Helps if you like Shakespeare comedies, helps if you know the text, helps if you like unique interpretations.

Don't see it if You don't know the play (you will miss much of it). You care for the issues (Weinstein anyone?), the emotion, the angst instead of sly jokes

Ambitious, Disappointing, Dizzying, Epic, Great staging

See it if you love avant garde-ish theater. The text rules all here, and some of the performances are notable

Don't see it if you are not familiar with the plot or are not particularly quick at picking up plots (this one runs fast and free)

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You adore anything by Shakespeare and can sit for over 2 hours with no break.

Don't see it if You only like traditional formats of Shakespeare plays. This was a fast paced comic rendition of this playwhich sadly missed the mark.

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying

See it if you have a grasp of Measureand can follow actors changing characters quickly. It was fast paced and I found myself referring to the plot.

Don't see it if You can't sit through a two+hour show with no intermission

Ambitious, Quirky, Disappointing, Erratic, Brisk

See it if an unconventional approach to Shakespeare

Don't see it if it is unpleasant to listen to unintelligible speed-talking and view busy choreographed distractions simultaneously

Disappointing, Gimmicky, Irritating

See it if You will see anything by the Elevator Repair Service...even their lesser presentations.

Don't see it if You dislike dialogue delivered so quickly as to be incomprehensible, followed by scenes that drag out the interaction.

Slow, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you're interested in new and innovative ways of approaching shakespeare

Don't see it if you want a classical adaptation of shakespeare, or one full of excitement

Entertaining, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Slow, Cliched

See it if you like off-beat Shakespeare, you enjoy physical comedy, you want to see famous moments of this play in a new & interesting way

Don't see it if you are expecting something groundbreaking, you like traditional Shakespeare, you can't sit for more than 2 hours

Ambitious, Confusing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy contemporary staging of Shakepeare's classics; and know enough about the play to independently connect the dots.

Don't see it if You prefer your Shakespeare well enunciated and audible; or staged with Elizabethan sensibilities.

Confusing, Dizzying, Excruciating

See it if you are very familiar with the text

Don't see it if you want to see a show that makes sense

Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Disappointing

See it if The one redeeming quality of the play was the acting. You can take a lot of bad scenes for one or two scenes that get you hooked.

Don't see it if You want to see a semi-normal Shakespeare production that is coherent with pacing and direction that you can follow and understand

Clever, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if You like the Marx Brothers style of sketch comedy which this production is largely based on.

Don't see it if you don't like people taking liberties with the rhythm of the text.

Confusing, Disappointing, Clever, Quirky, Slow

See it if you've like a fresh take on an old play

Don't see it if you don't want to sit for two hours straight with no intermission

Disappointing, Excruciating, Intense, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You love Shakespeare and want to have a different experience

Don't see it if You can’t sit for two hours and 15 minutes and you don’t like people speaking at the speed of light.

During previews

See it if reimagining "Measure" as frenetic screwball comedy that highlights the pratfalls and buffoonery of the characters, genuinely funny

Don't see it if having characters speak dialogue @ breakneck speed negates ability 2 dote on Will's brilliant language; absurdist experiment fails

Also The director provides a NEW way of presenting the play. Dialogue is sp... Read more Read less

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Too long without intermission

See it if you know the story and want to see a different take on or presentation of Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you don’t know the story as you will most likely not understand what the actors are saying especially at 100mph at times.

Also Personally I enjoyed York Theatre Company’s Desperate Measures a lot b... Read more Read less

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Banal, Insipid, Clumsy

See it if you don't mind good actors reading their lines really fast from a projection at the back of the theater and an unimaginative boring set

Don't see it if you want to discern the genius of the dialogue which is rattled off often over a lot of background noise. Fine actors but sloppy production

During previews
Ambitious, Confusing, Intense

See it if You like deconstructionist theater. If you are a Wooster Group or ERS fan, you might get something out of it.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare. Barely there.

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying, Quirky

See it if You like Elevator Repair Service -- but read it first! Much is taken at a rapid, incomprehensible pace. Whole idea is varied "measures."

Don't see it if You like your Shakespeare at a measured, understandable pace that does justice to the great scenes in this play.

During previews
Clever, Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Eccentric

See it if you are a big ERS fan and enjoy absurdist/slapstick/slightly Dada/meta theater. Visually exciting, ultra committed, funny performances.

Don't see it if You want traditional Shakespeare or to savor the prose, you don't like breakneck-auctioneer quick pace. You don't like ERS-type absurdity.

Also I'm a huge ERS fan, but at this point, this isn't one of their more st... Read more Read less

October 10th, 2017
"I usually lower my expectations for 'Measure'...But even in over-conceptualized versions, there’s usually at least one, thought-provoking portrayal that illuminates. Mr. Collins’s production does feature one such performance, from Mr. Shepherd. Mostly, though, it translates the challenges of a n...
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October 10th, 2017
"As far as language goes, the production is often unintelligible...That doesn’t matter in the clown bits, but one misses important information and poetry in other scenes...Yet the show has many compensatory assets...Several performances are delightful...And the production is funny in unexpected w...
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October 10th, 2017
"It’s thrilling to see a group of artists throw themselves into a project where there’s the actual risk that the whole thing might go terribly wrong...In this case, some things have gone pretty seriously wrong...There’s so much potential resonance here that it’s maddening to watch the ERS product...
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October 10th, 2017
“A mess that lands primarily as a showcase for the amazing Scott Shepherd…The effect of John Collins’ gimmicky production is breathless, as if to say let’s race through this and just get to the good parts. But the good parts are nearly as incomprehensible (except when Shepherd is commanding a sce...
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