This summer, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival at California Lutheran University will feature Measure for Measure for the first time in its 19 years, directed by Michael J. Arndt. First staged in 1604, the play reflects important issues in Shakespeare’s day including immorality and accompanying diseases, the rise of a conservative Puritan movement and mistrust of rulers. Though it contains many comic scenes and characters, the play deals with the darker issues of retribution, justice and mercy.
The Kingsmen production is set in the Montmartre district of Paris in the late 1890s. The political atmosphere in Paris was sharply divided between an ultraconservative Christian faction on the right and a socialist faction on the left. The artists and other residents of the Montmartre were held in poor regard although many of the wealthy bourgeois visited the prostitutes and clubs like the Moulin Rouge. The Kingsmen play will begin with a Moulin Rouge-type show featuring cancan dancers.
The cast is led by Harold Dixon as the Duke, Brett Elliot as Angelo, Rachel Seiferth as Isabella, Marc Silver as Pompey and Ross Hellwig as Lucio. Dixon, the former chair of the theater arts department at the University of Arizona, was last seen as Prospero in The Tempest and the Player King in Hamlet in 2013. Elliot, an associate artistic director who has been with the company since the first season, has played many of the major roles including Hamlet, Petruchio and Henry V. Silver, also an associate artistic director, has been in most of the festival productions since the first year and has portrayed Thisbe, Feste, Shylock and others. Seiferth lives and works on both coasts and last played Juliet in the 2012 Kingsmen production of Romeo and Juliet. Hellwig, a former student of Dixon, returns after last year’s performance as Orsino in Twelfth Night.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
June 26 – July 12, 2015 at 8pm
Kingsmen Shakespeare Company at
California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road #1800, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Festival grounds open at 5:30 pm for picnicking and entertainment.
General admission is $20 for adults and free for those under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. Lawn boxes are $75 to $110. For lawn box reservations, all 805-493-3014 or go to www.kingsmenshakespeare.org.