Measure for Measure
August 11, 1976 - August 29, 1976
| The Delacorte Theatre
Directed by: John Pasquin
| Literature: William Shakespeare
| Costume Design: Santo Loquasto
| Production Design: Santo Loquasto
| Music: William Penn
Duke Vincentio (Sam Waterston) - weary of ruling over an immoral city - goes away and leaves his beloved Vienna under the control of pious Angelo (John Cazale), who he knows will enforce the laws. Claudio is arrested for impregnating his fiancé Julietta before marriage, and Angelo sentences him to death to set an example. Claudio’s sister Isabella (Meryl Streep) , who is about to take her vows as a nun, pleads with Angelo for leniency, but he is overtaken by lust and agrees to revoke her brother’s sentence only if she will accept to sleep with him.
Cast: John Cazale (Angelo), Meryl Streep (Isabella), Sam Waterston (Vincentio), Lenny Baker (Lucio), Jeffrey Tambor (Elbow), Judith Light (Francisca), Michael Tucker (Froth), Steven Gilborn (Friar Thomas), Walt Gorney (Abhorson), David Haskell (Claudio), Ruby Holbrook (Mistress Overdone), Caroline McWilliams (Mariana), Robin Mary Paris (Juliet), Ron Randell (Escalus), Joseph Regalbuto (1st Gentleman), Jake Dengel (2nd Gentleman), Howard E. Rollins Jr. (Pompey), Jay O. Sanders (Barnardine), Harlan Schneider (Servant), John Seitz (Provost), Mark Simon (Justice), Bever-leigh Banfield, Katherine Braun, Ann Bronston, Frances Conroy, Gabriel Gribetz, Cheryl Tafathale Jones, Jolly King, Michael Kolba, Marilyn McIntyre, Nathaniel Robinson, William Sadler, Tony Simotes (Lord, Officer, Citizen, Nun, Monk, Attendant)
The Village Voice, August 23, 1976
Meryl Streep, having made the most difficult choice available in interpreting the character, backtracks from it only once – in her deadpan scene with the Duke, which does not seem to grow out of her outbursts at Claudio. For the rest, I think few actresses could present chaste, cold intelligence as fully, and still convey to the audience their natural warmth. She is the real thing, and if there were nothing else in the production, none of Cazale’s creeping or Lenny Baker’s pelvic outrageousness, if there none of Santo Loquasto’s witty, wide-armed sets, with Giotto demons above and modern sterility below, “Measure for Measure” would still be worth seeing for this Isabella.
Time Magazine, August 23, 1976
Meryl Streep slowly overcomes a role she was not meant for – Isabella, the hysterical novice who is asked to sell her virtue to Angelo to save her brother’s life. Lenny Baker is hilarious as Lucio, advocating lechery in the accents of Will Rogers. Director John Pasquin keeps the play moving, even through those last toyings with fate and shotgun marriages whereby the playwright pastes a sickly grin on this mask of tragedy and squa lor. Measure for Measure was Shakespeare’s poison-pen letter to the world. Its view of man, once regarded as intolerably bleak, now seems distressingly up-to-date.