Shakespeare’s difficult play about power and its abuses is anything but a problem in Declan Donnellan’s canny production, first seen in the UK at the Barbican in 2015. Very memorable it was too. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s in Russian but rather marvel at the clarity of Donnellan’s storytelling in this pared back 100 minute version, the acuity of the performances and the moments of real punch and daring. It’s set in a world of surveillance where something nasty lurks in the shadows that without doubt suggests Putin’s Russia but there is nothing unsubtle about a staging in which guile and the machinations of politicians is put under scrutiny with a steely forensic gaze.
Written by William Shakespeare Performed in Russian with surtitles With his unique brew of laughter and high seriousness, Shakespeare dissects the nature of government, love, and justice – asking unsettling questions about how we are governed, exploring the “complex relationships between those in power, and ordinary citizens” (Kristina Matvienko). Measure for Measure has been nominated for five Golden Mask awards, including Best Large Scale Drama Production and Best Director for Declan Donnellan. “Measure for Measure is about many different things; it always strikes me as a very modern play. It’s a play about control and how one of the ways that we are controlled, by not only governments, but by churches and other institutions that seek to control us, is shame. We are controlled by shame. It starts with parents and it develops, and it is an extremely good way of controlling people.” – Artistic Director Declan Donnellan