Measuring Discomfort with the Long Beach Shakespeare Company

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"So began the Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s production of Measure for Measure, unsettling audience members who expected Shakespeare, not a whorehouse. This push for audience discomfort was the great strength of this production, under the direction of Helen Borgers, and it was largely effective, reminding the audience that the Renaissance classification of comedy does not necessarily involve constant laughter or reassurance. Indeed, the production chose to cut many of the scenes with low characters – perhaps a shame given the excellent performance of Elbow by Emily Hansen. Elbow’s hickish accent, exaggerated swagger, and fierce glares ensured that Hansen stole all of her scenes. Abhorsen, played by the petite Ruby Morales and toting an axe a full foot taller than she, adds similar moments of brief physical comedy. However, the production makes up for these ladies’ abbreviated roles by forcing the audience to actively confront the problematic uses of male power and dominance."


This review was originally published in In the Glassy Margents in March 2017.


Iona College