Virtue and Love vs. Sin and Decay

I. Thesis Statement

The play demonstrates the interactions between morality and love in a society as the two seem to interact in determining the way people relate in life. 

II. Overview

1. The play I watched is titled Measure for Measure. 2. William Shakespeare wrote the play with human nature of justice as the major theme. 3. The theatre company that presented the play is the Department of Theatre Arts of San Francisco State University. 4. The play as staged at the Creative Arts Building. 5. I watched the play on Friday, March 7 at 8pm to 11 pm. The duration was approximately within two to three hours, which is the full length of a play according to the western world (Cohen, 22). 6. I purchased the ticket online through iLearn at $8.7. 7. The seat number I sat on was 103 on row H at the center part of the theatre. 8. I was accompanied by Ka Kit Leong and other friends in the theatre. 


III. Plot 

The play according to the themes and acts used classify it as a comedy due to the comical plot created. The inciting incident in the play is Angelo’s demand for Claudio’s head and the surprising incorporation of treachery. It is a continuous play with a ten minutes break between theme one and two with the climatic event coming up when Angelo has sex with the wrong person thinking it is Isabella. However, this play belongs to the number of Shakespeare's plays, which focus on a serious problem of human life. 


The combination of all the major incidents in the story provides the main strength of the story. The play also successfully combines the interaction between the feelings of young people and their morality. It analyses the refusal of young people to sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of other people. he relationship between people is determined by such factors as morality and love.

IV. Theme

The main theme of the story is people basing their actions on morality. People should consider sacrificing their personal interests for other people. This analogy puts morality at the centre element as the theme of the play. 

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V. Character described by function

The protagonist characters in the play are Isabella and Duke Vincentia. They have all the possible good character traits to qualify them as the main protagonists in the play. Vincentio as the main protagonists ants the city free of all crimes while Isabella is to have sex with Angelo to save her brother’s life. Angelo is a negative character, a hypocrite as he continues to have Isabella’s brother executed despite her meeting her part of the deal. Shakespeare successfully used different character traits in portraying the theme of of love and immorality in his play. Various negative character traits describe Angelo. He is cunning, a treacherous and does consider other people’s feelings in his deeds. He is out to manipulate other people on his own advantage. Duke Vincentio is an antagonist as he proposes to Isabella despite knowing she wants to be a nun. The duke also portrays several character traits including a judgmental character that comes out when he tests Angelo to determine his true character. He used other minor characters to support the roles of the major characters in the story. The dead pirate is an example of a minor character in the story. 

VI. Literal qualities

The author uses symbolism in the play. During the performance of the play, the set designer uses to huge stairs to represent large entrances in a gate like manner. The use of a wooden bench also represents the country setting of the play. 

VII. Music and musicality

The play used pop music as the major music basis. In the opening entrance, they used hip-hop music as the background music. The background music creates the mood to make the understanding that the characters were in a bar. Music also contributes to the understanding of the feelings portrayed by the different characters in the play.

VIII. Spectacle

Scenery according to Cohen is what we first see 139. The first impression when stepping in the theatre is the beautiful proscenium. The scene materials used in the play portray a 1600 scene when the play as written and first performed. 

Lighting in the play is spectacular and designed by Rudy Chapman. The director illuminates the scenes according to the time of the day in the plot. Lighting corresponds to different characters in the play hence enhancing excellent visibility. The most successful use of lighting in the play to enhance the story is when the lights are switched off to confuse Angelo into thinking he is having sex with Isabella rather than another person. This portrayed Angelo as stupid despite the fact that he tries o use other people with negative motives. 

IX. Convention

Measure for Measure is a full-length play according to the requirements for the duration of a play in the Western world. The production runs between two to three hours (Cohen, 22). Since the play is a musical opera, mime, dance, and movements are barely used. The use of some metaphorical elements creatively brings out scenes where some of the characters face execution. The whole play however, does not use puppets as compared to other classical plays. In the sexual scenes, metaphors bring out the fact that Angelo fails to recognize it is not Isabella. The play employs other presentation and representational performances. Majority of objects used have second meanings and metaphorical sense. 

X. Acting and directing

According to Cohen, a director of a play does not work in a vacuum. Directors have some sense of responsibility of shaping the production. Producers always work within a context (97). A director is the person responsible for guiding the actors and designers and is responsible for taking the credit. Ronnie Washington directs the play at the theatre. 

The director of the play organizes the characters in such a way that he makes understanding the main theme easy. Characters such as Alex Skinner responsible for playing Vincentio applied the Stanislavski method of acting. In the play, the character responsible for playing Angelo got the attention of the audiences in the play as he successfully employed the Stanislavsky’s external acting techniques. Celestine Covowitch who plays Isabella in the play got my attention throughout the night, as she had a less annoying role and was extremely beautiful. The director stresses that all people have common in socialization and hence cannot receive separate treatment. 

XI. Outstanding moments

The most outstanding moment in the play was when Angelo had sex with Mariana instead of Isabella. She tricked him into accepting doing it in total darkness as she pretended shy. Despite Angelo coming out as a negative character, he ends up receiving the same treatment he offers other characters of the play. Instead of having Claudio executed, a dead pirate’s head. The moment is very dramatic as it provides a sense of pleasure among the audience. 

XII. The event as theatre

This event is extraordinarily different from all the other events that happen in a theatre. The fact that it is a play by Shakespeare makes it respectable. It contains all the elements typical for an art of theatre. It contains imitation of appearance, voice, and manners. Actors professionally represent the appearances of the intended original theme by Shakespeare. 

XIII. Summary

The production and performance of the play by Shakespeare at the San Francisco successfully depicted the joy and hurt portrayed in the play. The design team for the play consist five people while the production team consisted of 11 people. The team worked in collaborations to achieve success in the production and performance of the play.   The characters enhanced the performance as they depicted their professionalism in employing various acting trait needed during the performance. They successfully transformed the stage into a lively event depicting most of Shakespeare’s thoughts when writing the play. Different characters portray either their moral or immoral aspects according to their actions. Isabella comes out as the main protagonist and therefore depicted in a positive way. Angelo on the other side has all the negative character traits that qualify him as the main Antagonist. He has little care for the rights and feelings of other people in the play. He has murderous traits as well as a well-established traitor. He abuses the rights of other characters in the play to his advantage without giving it thought. The play brings out love and morality as major keys for living a virtuous life. Despite this, individuals are entitled to making their own moral choice.

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