“Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoiled name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh
That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun.”
—Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene iv
Over the past thirty years of making, producing and presenting theater, I thought I had become resilient to the ways in which the news of the day may surge up, tsunami-like, and overtake whatever ideas you had about a piece of art as your audience is viewing it. Art lives in relationship to the viewer and also to the time in which it is viewed. But I have been flattened by the headlines as Pushkin Theatre’s Measure for Measure takes ArtsEmerson’s stage. Judge Kavanaugh, Dr. Blasey Ford, Flake, Trump, Cosby, #MeToo, #MidTerms, #TimesUp, Rose McGowan, Terry Crews, your sister, your daughter, your priest. Your country.
It was Shakespeare who told us that “the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.” (Hamlet, Act III, Scene ii)
Measure holds a mirror, and the image sears.
“ Say what you can,
My false outweighs your true.”
Don’t forget to vote.
- David Dower, Artistic Director
Don’t miss Measure for Measure OCT 24 – 28 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre!