Measure for Measure (TFANA)
Closed 2h 35m
Measure for Measure (TFANA)
78

Measure for Measure (TFANA) NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(48 Reviews)
Positive
81%
Mixed
15%
Negative
4%
Members say
Great acting, Great staging, Clever, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the Show

Theatre for a New Audience presents a new mounting of Shakespeare’s problematic dark comedy, a tale of irrepressible lust, impossible purity, and infuriating hypocrisy.

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Member Reviews (48)

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75
Quirky, Absorbing, Edgy, Long, Over-the-top

See it if you like modern WS. The verse is mostly well-spoken. Ricketts stands out; every word/gesture seems real. I liked the emphasis on comedy.

Don't see it if This MFM is highly imaginative, sometimes too much so. Sex toys abound; a convict poops, all is presented on a huge "table" w/bad sightlines Read more

76
Clever, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like great staging of Shakespeare's plays. This company is great at staging and Polonsky theater is ideal for Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or play Measure for Measure. I think the dialogue for this play is Shakespeare's worst. Read more

85
Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's comedy. This is a story of the abuse of political power that is as relevant today as then.

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist. you do not like explicit sexual acts, abuse, and perversion of all sexes. you hold government in high esteem. Read more

70
Slow, Funny, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you want to see a bold and risk-taking adaptation with strong acting, particularly by Ricketts. The comedic parts were truly funny.

Don't see it if The first act dragged so much; I noticed many audience members yawning and even sleeping. Second act was much more energized.

82
Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Quirky, Resonant

See it if enjoy well done translations/interpretations of Shakespeare. Story is fair but actors put it over

Don't see it if you are a Shakespeare purist

90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if If you like to see out of the box productions of the Bard. Totally refreshing and tons of fun. Loved the band and the immersive touches!

Don't see it if If you want to see a classic production of this play.

78
Relevant, Refreshing, Clever

See it if You enjoy modern takes on Shakespeare with clever directing choices.

Don't see it if You want a balanced cast (found the Duke to be an unclear actor)

75
Disappointing

See it if You like your Shakespeare a bit overripe. This is aimed about 85% at the groundlings among us, right from the stroll through the bordello.

Don't see it if You have more interest in the interplay of corruption, crime, punishment, virtue, impropriety, weakness and justice.

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
June 25th, 2017

"Leans too heavily on the supposedly funny elements...But in the great confrontations between Angelo and Isabella, this 'Measure for Measure' soars just as it should into that uniquely Shakespearean plane where absolutely opposing philosophies are given equally compelling expression...There is probably no cure for the play’s tonal whiplash...What makes sense in 'Measure for Measure' makes gorgeous sense here, thanks especially to Ms. Ricketts and Mr. Ryan."
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Time Out New York
June 25th, 2017

"This is dark stuff, but Godwin keeps the proceedings playful...Cake navigates the play’s rough waters heartily. The fiery Ricketts makes Isabella’s anguish soulfully real. And Ryan crafts a cunning portrait of a despot coldly certain of his infallibility. Watching the once-mighty Angelo reduced to a quivering mass is as harrowing as it is satisfying. In an age of outrage, this revelatory 'Measure for Measure' is a cry for hope and reconciliation. "
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Deadline
June 29th, 2017

"It’s indicative of how hard it can be to find the right tone for this play, which pogo-sticks from lowbrow gags for the groundlings to highbrow verbal duels for the cognoscenti...What pleasures there are in this production emerge from the excellent verbal thrusts and parries between Angelo and Isabella that ensue in Ryan’s and Ricketts’ assured, low-temperature performances. But this is still that play in which everyone ends up married and nobody wins."
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Theatermania
July 6th, 2017

"The play feels fresh, timely, and full of contemporary relevance...The story is pretty heavy for a comedy...Simon and his cast, however, keep things light every chance they get. Most of the laughs come from the minor characters...The comedic highlight of the show is Fine, whose outlandish portrayals of four different characters have the audience in stitches...Along with the modern dress, the band's upbeat rock numbers make the action feel current and familiar."
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Lighting & Sound America
June 26th, 2017

"There were moments when I wished Godwin had given less attention to such scene-stealing antics and focused more on the complex psychology of the three lead characters...The second half of Godwin's production is stronger than the first, and everything unquestionably comes together in the climax...At long last, a production that seemed merely trendy reveals how directly it speaks to the present moment."
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TheaterScene.net
July 2nd, 2017

“The minimal sets by Paul Wills allow for quick transitions between scenes but offer only a stark sort of atmosphere. His costumes are more successful but only for the comic characters. Matthew Richards' lighting plot has some film noirish effects. While Godwin's ‘Measure for Measure’ is tricked out with a great many unsuccessful contemporary touches, it is left to Shakespeare's story to bring home the dangers of abuse of power and hewing to the letter of the law rather than the spirit.”
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Theater Pizzazz
July 2nd, 2017

"A compelling new production...An insightful look at the timelessness of societal conflicts over justice, power, morality and family...While the tidy, but unlikely, resolutions at play’s end are even more implausible than many of the Bard’s other 'problem plays' the message and lesson are louder and more impactful...It isn’t often that one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays gets a major production, so on that basis alone this 'Measure for Measure' is a treat."
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CurtainUp
June 27th, 2017

“Simon Godwin stages ‘Measure for Measure’ in modern dress with fresh bite and emotional immediacy. With a top-notch cast led by Jonathan Cake as the Duke, Godwin brings to light the rich theatrical treasures tucked within this dark play…Although you might disagree with some of his approaches to the dramatic material, his provocative vision of the tragi-comedy will imprint itself on your memory…The cast is superb."
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Front Row Center
June 27th, 2017

“The minimalist environment helps one to focus on the poetry of the text, but its music is hampered by the hodgepodge of accents. Jonathan Cake has the greatest success with the text…A group of talented, quick-witted supporting actors cavort through the narrative with verve and color. Each makes a mark…I found the play too long...it really became burdensome. The energy and focus of the talented cast, however, carried us through the few dragging moments.”
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Stage Buddy
June 27th, 2017

“Though Godwin's production may not do much to broaden the horizons of the play, and, yes, got a li'l gimmicky, it certainly tells an awesome story well…This production distinguishes itself with some seriously great acting…Shakespeare is rewarding because the works are rich with characters and dynamics and scenarios that cross-mingle morally and ethically and emotionally, creating a web of a good time. 'Measure for Measure' certainly fulfills all of this in its own charming way.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
June 25th, 2017

"I’m in love with the poetry of Shakespeare, but this play just seemed more accessible. The music, performed by the magnificent band is just as engaging and unique, adding soul to the flavor and the festivities...This provocative production quite readily brings to mind our own highly polarized world...A beautifully crafted production of a complex and problematic play. Repression, lust, hypocrisy, and disturbing sexual politics has never been so much fun or more wildly brought forth."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
June 26th, 2017

“Swiftly paced and vigorously, if not subtly, performed…It's filled with the kind of novel touches we expect in such modern-dress affairs…Too much of the dialogue, though, is delivered in rapid, full-throated, rhetorical style;…actors tend to shout at rather than talk with one another…'Measure for Measure' comes, unfortunately, at a moment when it can't help being trumped by a production that received remarkable attention even though many wouldn't give two pence for it.”
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Upstage-Downstage
July 1st, 2017

“If you accept that, at its heart, it actually is a comedy, you will find much to like in director Godwin's interpretation…Godwin leans toward the comic, playing up the clowning elements and downplaying, as much as possible, the play's darkness. Things get a bit muddied as a result, and the production goes overboard by drumming up audience participation…Fun stuff, but it doesn't add much to the overall experience or shed light on the proceedings. Still the cast is a strong one.”
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Off Off Online
June 30th, 2017

“Godwin’s production takes liberties, and many are smart. (The problem plays usually benefit from a bit of roughing up, although here the themes of lust and moral hypocrisy are still contemporary)…A strong cast boosts the production...Some problems can’t be made fresh…The production’s comedy is less successful...Godwin goes all out for a classic ending…It’s a measure of the production’s virtues that the resolution stretches credibility less than usual."
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scribicide
June 25th, 2017

"I do wish directors would be more willing to embrace the ‘Measure for Measure’ I find in this text, the one where Isabella (Cara Ricketts) is sexually blackmailed, deceived into believing her brother is dead, and finally forced into marriage with the man who is responsible for all of this. Vincentio ends the play by cheerfully announcing the nuptials that are practically a requirement for Shakespearean comedy, but it is always Isabella's silence that I find most compelling."
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The Stage (UK)
June 25th, 2017

"Godwin’s music-driven production contains twangy electric guitars and such a large number of silicone penises that they demand a unique collective noun...Among the diverse ensemble, Thigpen and LaVoy stand out. Though, elsewhere, the imprecise caricatures intended as the comic relief start to grate...Ricketts’ virtuous Isabella is pressured and abused but never breaks. It’s a poised and formidable performance."
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Stage Buzz
July 6th, 2017

"There is much to like in this production...Godwin nicely guides the story and performers through the different elements of the tale, and the sets and costumes by Paul Wills–the play is done in modern dress–all work well. The only sequence that really doesn’t work is a somewhat extraneous bit which takes place in a nightclub...Well presented, while taking pains not to hit the audience over the head with its message, this production of 'Measure for Measure' is quite the satisfying treat."
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Plays to See
June 29th, 2017

"Explodes at you from every corner of the stage...Perhaps the most chilling, and disturbingly compelling, element of Godwin’s 'Measure for Measure' is the relationship between women and the law...The actors are so well cast that you lose yourself entirely in their stories. And even if you aren’t looking for political commentary as delivered by Shakespeare this summer, the sheer talent of this cast is worth a trip to Brooklyn."
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TheaterScene.com
July 1st, 2017

“You are never involved. The play has never caught you. Despite moments of anguished appeal, Isabella, the character most likely to touch you, to reach you, just does not, no matter splendid actress Cara Ricketts’s fine efforts…Every other character is similarly flawed, but director Godwin, instead of taking that as the cue to holding the mirror up to us, flaunts his furbelowed production for us to admire…It’s Shakespeare. But there’s that niggling gnaw of disappointment."
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More Than The Play Blog
July 1st, 2017

"The design elements are well conceived and the casting is stupendous...Ricketts, Ryan, and Cake fearlessly lead this amazing cast and take the audience on a phenomenal journey of desire, doubt, and righteousness...These three actors make bold choices with subtle nuances that set the stage on fire and engage the audience on numerous levels. The final act is superbly directed. The action builds steadily, bringing all the elements of the story to climactic brilliance."
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Slant Magazine
June 29th, 2017

"This production, ostentatious in its salacity, is part of that modern European tradition that mistakes provocation for insight...When such noisy stage business quieted, the production was powerful; it just needed to give its strong cast the space to act in peace...Best among the actors was Cake...A riveting and lively performance that easily jumped between the deadpan and heartfelt...Thigpen, as Lucio also carefully and cleverly straddled that line between comedy and poignancy."
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