The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0603 Tuesday, 28 March 2000.
Date: Tuesday, 28 Mar 2000 10:24:20 +1000
Subject: Measure for Measure in Melbourne
As with Scott Crozier, I too was disappointed by the Melbourne Theatre
Company's production of Measure for Measure.
I agree that the production took a sledgehammer approach, but I would
argue for a different underlying fault. I think that the production was
made with the aim of making the play sexy and accessible. Instead, the
result was crude titillation and a lack of a clear, coherent line on the
play. The more complex verbal sexuality of the play was overwhelmed by
crude stageing devices. I imagine that the Melbourne Theatre Company
thought first of ways of making the play sexy, and then second about
The first five minutes of the production were taken up with an enactment
of the intercourse between Claudio and Juliet. The advertising poster
image for the play is a naked female breast. The slogan used to sell the
production is: 'A play that drips with sex and reeks of corruption'.
The production was probably trying to attract an audience who enjoyed
'Shakespeare in Love' and Baz Luhrmann's R & J, and who want to see
sexy, blunt, direct interpretations. I'm sure Richard Burt could
elaborate much further on how these associations work.