I'm George Walker for WFIU arts Shakespeare in the park-ing lot, the Indiana State University Department of Theatre presents Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. It's directed by Julie Dixon and it stars Ethan Parisho and Emily Burchell.
Ethan is a senior. He hopes to graduate this summer. Emma is a Theatre and dance major a junior, and she hopes to graduate in about a year. Julie Dixon is a faculty member directing Measure for Measure.
Julie Dixon: Well, it's a story about power and the abuse of power. When I was thinking about what Shakespeare play I was going to do I found myself gravitating towards ..in light of the Me Too Movement,..the issues of consent that exists within the text. It really made this a relevant play for contemporary audiences. I thought this would be a really good play to do right now.
The character of Isabella, who's a nun, is propositioned by the character Angelo, who is running the country. He wants her to sleep with him, and in exchange he will spare her brother's life. Her brother has been arrested and is doomed to be executed. It felt like it would be not the thing I wanted to say if thiis issue of consent was only confined to women because we know, of course, that the... Me Too Movement... also encompasses men who are abused.
I began to think about how to work with that. We decided that we would have the actors playing Isabelle and Angelo. switch roles. When we open on Wednesday., we'll do this as written and Emma will play Isabella and Ethan will play Angelo. Then on the second night, they're going to switch roles and Emma will now play Angelo. We call her Angela in that version and Ethan will play Isabelle. We call him Isaiah In that version. The actors have had to learn both parts In this rehearsal journey.
George: Wow, and as I understand it, you're doing it in the parking lot at the New Theater at the Indiana State University. And also it's available on zoom. We're hoping for good weather because the cameras are a little bit dodgy and apparently won't work if it's raining.
George: Ethan, tell us a little bit about your roles. You're playing both Isaiah and Angelo and you're a senior with a minor in theater.
Ethan Parisho: Yes, that is. I always feel a little bit under qualified to be playing roles of this kind of gravity, but I'm really putting my best into it and hopefully I'll do a good. job the headspaces of these two characters should, in a perfect world, be kind of in the same place, but in the context of the play Angelo’s headspace very quickly gets skewed to one of corruption and desire, whereas Isaiah is just about self preservation., trying to keep her honor, keep her values secure. So switching between those two headspaces has kind of been the trickiest part.
George: Emma, you're a theater and dance major. You're a junior and you're having the same problems that Ethan is having.
Emma Burchell: Yes, I am. It's been quite a challenge. This is probably the largest role I have ever had and it is also been the most rewarding role I've ever had. Switching back and forth and having to juggle two different roles that are somewhat in the same mindset has been. a challenge it's helped me have a wider range of things that I can do. It's made me feel really accomplished as an actor to be able to have the ability to switch on a dime, different characters. I think it'll be really cool to have the audience and have people in the community see something new every single night. It'll be something different every night that people come.
George: Thanks very much to our actors and the director for this unique opportunity of measure for measure.
I'm George Walker for WFIU.