The name William Shakespeare immediately brings to mind self-serious frippery nowadays. After all, you don’t end up with a title like “The Bard” by making dick jokes. Or do you? In Shakespeare’s own time, theatergoing wasn’t nearly as rarefied. His audiences were often made up of belligerent drunks carousing and hollering like a bunch of bros at a UFC match. For his part, Shakespeare played to the cheap seats with a steady stream of dirty jokes and ribaldry that now titillate only Elizabethan scholars and Shakespeare geeks. Among the Bard’s plays, Measure for Measure is one of the filthiest, though it’s worth noting that the name is a biblical allusion, not a double entendre. At least according to student reference site Shmoop, which gives the play a hard PG-13 rating for its extramarital sex and syphilis jokes. (Apparently genital warts and brain rot were hilarious in Elizabethan times.) This staging of Measure for Measure promises to take Shakespeare a bit closer to his roots by emphasizing the play’s fleet pacing and sharp banter as the audience knocks a few back. Still, keep in mind that it’s the 21st century, not the 17th -- you should probably save the hollering and chair-throwing for another night.
Mondays, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Aug. 14. Continues through Aug. 27, 2012