Dulaang UP Measure for Measure opened last August 20 to the public and I lost no time in watching it myself. I chose yesterday’s 3 pm schedule for the English version and brought my son with me. I was expecting to be impressed after reading through the credentials of those involved in its production and I was not disappointed.
The first thing that caught my attention was how all the design elements – set, lighting, and costume, just seemed to blend perfectly together. Even with the obvious limitation in performing space, the basic set is transformed with ease from one scene to another with the use of appropriate props, lighting, and effects. There was very minimal physical movement of props that usually tend to break the momentum.
I am not aware if the costumes’color scheme simply followed earlier productions of this Shakespearean play but this I have to say. The choice of beige or the range that belongs to the pale brownish to yellowish colors was simple genius. The color and the costume styling were simply to the point in terms of the time period. It created a visual cohesiveness that would not have been achieved if the costumes were done in different color shades. If I’m not mistaken, the very creative headdresses used by the female ensemble were mostly made with a distinct local material or something that resembles buri. If that is so, then I like it all the more.
Music and Sound
Though I do not have technical expertise on these aspects, suffice it to say that these elements were just as effectively harnessed as the design in this play. They came on cue and added just the right touch to make the scenes more compelling and engaging. If someone would say that these elements skipped a beat during the actual performance I saw, then I would have to say I noticed none and it has not affected my appreciation of the play whatsoever.
The performances given by all the performers, from the main lead to the support were all commendable. By virtue of the importance of their roles however in the play, the actors who performed the roles of Duke Vincentio, Angelo, and Isabella, got the most attention, and understandably so. Their presence were real, their diction impeccable, their faces and actions as convincing as they could ever be. The actor who played Lucio managed to stand out as well. I do not doubt though that the able support they got from the rest of the actors made it possible for them to shine. Of course, being under the directorship of the much respected Alexander Cortez and having professional production people behind them also provided a great advantage.
I do not pretend to be a professional stage play critic as that pretense is far too exhausting to keep up. I came to watch Dulaang UP’s Measure for Measure in the hope that it will be a learning entertainment for myself and my teenage son. It gave us more, when it forced us to think and think hard.
It may take a long while for me to forget Isabella’s face as shown before the lights closed to signal the end of the play. Its meaning and repercussion reached into me and troubled me. I remembered that many women continue to be pawns in games played by men… by the powerful… by the moneyed…but alas that is something that would require more than one article to talk about so let’s reserve that for some other time.