Experience Shakespeare’s original Measure for Measure, set in Italy, uncensored, written in 1603, alongside the more familiar version, adapted in 1621 by "our other Shakespeare", Thomas Middleton, set in Vienna. Come see the newly restored Italian version on Feb 21, 22, 23, and the Viennese version on Feb 28, March 1, or March 2.
Want to find out more about Measure for Measure?
Read an interview with Hoosier Bard director Prof. Terri Bourus about the process of coming up with the two scripts.
Listen to Prof. Terri Bourus and Prof. Gary Taylor discussing Measure for Measure with Travis DiNicola on WFYI.
Hoosier Bard is a unique theatre company, linking the New Oxford Shakespeare editors, the Indianapolis performing arts community, and students and faculty at IUPUI. At every production, spectators become collaborators, helping to test new ideas about what Shakespeare created—-and how it should be edited, performed, and taught.
Our performances emphasize what the actor-playwright Shakespeare emphasized. Actors: dominating the stage, creating characters and telling stories. Words (spoken by actors): their meanings but also their poetry and playfulness. Bodies (of actors): moving, running, jumping, fighting, dancing. Costumes (worn by actors): creating the visual palette of the performance, conveying a social world. Props (carried by actors): only to the extent that they help create character and tell the story. Music: performed live. Audiences: interacting directly with actors.
No big expensive sets that dwarf the actors, slow down the action, and have to be designed before rehearsals even begin. No canned music. No complex lighting plot. No hard divide between the stage and the auditorium. No sense that Shakespeare is elitist.
Shakespeare is not easy to perform, because his words are four hundred years old. Actors cannot perform Shakespeare well unless they know what his words mean. Not just the dictionary meanings, but the social meanings of his time and place.
Just as musical theatre requires special training, so does classical theatre. Anyone can parody Shakespeare’s conventions (or those of opera, or Broadway musicals). But those conventions are tools; if you know how to use them, they can unlock powerful, collective, live experiences.
Every Hoosier Bard production is an exercise in teaching actors and crew how to do Shakespeare. That’s why we’re supported by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the IUPUI Hoosier Bard student club. You can’t learn how to do theatre from a textbook. Apprentice actors learn from more experienced actors. That’s why our productions feature actors and crew from the Indianapolis performing arts community: they provide role models for IUPUI students, and the specialized training we offer them enriches productions by other Indianapolis companies.
Hoosier Bard’s first production, Young Hamlet (2011) played to sold-out houses at the Indy Fringe, even adding an extra performance, demonstrating that cheap Shakespeare could appeal to young Indianapolis audiences. Its second production, The History of Cardenio (2012) opened the new Campus Center theatre at IUPUI with "a winning blend of the twin geniuses of Cervantes and Shakespeare" (The Indianapolis Star). The "fast-paced emotional rollercoaster of a production" received national and international rave reviews, hailed as "a lively, gripping piece of theatre" (Shakespeare Bulletin) and "a rollicking experience" (Nuvo). Shakespeare scholars from around the world converged on Indianapolis, and the BBC praised "Cardenio" as "bold and brash and funny and moving." It is the subject of a book forthcoming from Palgrave later this year.
Hoosier Bard Productions was co-founded in 2010 by Terri Bourus (a prize-winning teacher and prize-winning Equity actor with stage experience in Shakespeare, Irish drama, and American musicals) and Gary Taylor (one of the world’s leading Shakespeare scholars).
The History of Cardenio
A RARE LOST PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND FLETCHER OPENING IUPUI THEATER
On April 19, 2012, IUPUI celebrated the opening of its brand new, state-of-the-art, 248-seat theater, located in the IUPUI Campus Center, by inviting the Indianapolis community to witness the performance of a literary mystery that has intrigued scholars for centuries: William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s "lost play", The History of Cardenio.
The six performances (April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28) marked both the first North American production, as well as the world premiere of a complete staging with professional actors, of Gary Taylor’s creative and scholarly reconstruction of Cardenio. Shakespeare and Fletcher based their play on Miguel de Cervantes’ Spanish masterpiece, Don Quixote, often described as the first modern novel. Their English play was an instant success, performed before the court of King James I in early 1613, and before the Ambassadors from the Duke of Savoy, ancestor of the royal family of modern Italy, in June of the same year. But though historians have long known about these accounts of Cardenio‘s early performances, no complete text of the play has survived to be viewed by modern audiences, and it is often regarded as irretrievably "lost."
But The History of Cardenio is only partially lost: many of the play’s fragments survive as a complex and enticing mystery that scholars have been attempting to resolve for centuries. IUPUI’s grand opening production combined IUPUI students with professional actors from the Indianapolis performing arts community by demonstrating the way that a collaboration between theater researchers and performers can provide incisive solutions to long-standing critical and textual problems. Cardenio was directed by Dr. Terri Bourus, IUPUI Associate Professor of English Drama, an Equity actor, and Director of the New Oxford Shakespeare at IUPUI.
"Actors notice things that computers don’t." ~ Gary Taylor
Photo: Painting by Ivan Hernandez Olivera, used by permission
Identifying and authenticating Cardenio‘s fragments is a complicated and time-consuming editorial undertaking, while reconstructing the play’s missing pieces and shaping the fragments into a cohesive whole is a creative and imaginative one. As one of the world’s leading Shakespeare scholars and an expert on conditions of early modern performance, Gary Taylor is uniquely qualified to bring a new text of The History of Cardenio to modern audiences. A joint general editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare and Distinguished Research Professor of English at Florida State University, Dr. Taylor’s scholarly work on Cardenio over the last quarter century has made innovative use of new digital databases, which are crucial to the task of distinguishing fragments of the original play. He has also collaborated on Cardenio with scholars around the world, whose work is published in a collection of essays by Oxford University Press, which also includes an essay by IUPUI’s own Dr. Terri Bourus.
The Hoosier Bard production was the occasion for an international scholarly colloquium on the play, held on April 28, 2012. Papers from that colloquium are currently being edited by Bourus and Taylor, for a forthcoming book.
The IUPUI production and symposium was covered by the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18010384
It also inspired a PBS documentary, CSI Shakespeare, which will premiere on November 1, 2012 on WFYI. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpdiduSfkXI&feature=youtu.be
The best actors in Christendom, either for comedy, tragedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-historical, historical-comical, comical-historical-pastoral, tragedy-historical
—Seneca could not be too heavy nor Plautus too light, for the law hath writ those are the only men.
The New Oxford Shakespeare is the first edition to include an Equity actor, IUPUI English Drama Professor Terri Bourus, among its general editors. Hoosier Bard Productions is the theatrical arm of the New Oxford Shakespeare, linking an IUPUI student theatre group with the NOS editors and the Indianapolis performing arts community. Spectators become collaborators with Hoosier Bard and the NOS by helping us to test new ideas about what Shakespeare created, how it should be edited and performed, and what it means today.
The first performance by Hoosier Bard Productions staged the unfamiliar 1603 quarto text of Hamlet. It was directed by Terri Bourus (who is also editing the play for NOS), and its cast included four of the NOS editors (Bourus as Gertred, Connor and Neville as Rosencraft and Gilderstone, Taylor as the Ghost). Calling the play Young Hamlet emphasized the fact that the protagonist is much younger than the traditionally performed texts would have him be. Hoosier Bard Productions presented the story of a young revenger—a bright, strong prince coping with his father’s murder and his mother’s embarrassingly rapid remarriage. Described by Indianapolis Star reviewer Jay Harvey as ‘a less philosophical hero’ and ‘punkish’, this Hamlet does not hesitate, but moves swiftly to the play’s tragic conclusion.
The response to the play was phenomenal—the original four performances sold out as audiences braved s now, ice, and bitterly cold temperatures to attend, and a fifth performance was added by popular demand. Even after adding as many chairs as fire regulations would allow, the Fringe box office turned 30-40 people away every night. Observers noted that the audience was ‘younger than is typically seen at a Shakespeare play in Indianapolis, even at the Fringe’. Another commented that the play was fast and edgy and that the music (performed live by an IUPUI undergraduate) made this 400-year old play seem very young indeed—even though the language remained true to Shakespeare’s text.
Young Hamlet tested in the laboratory of performance an unfamiliar and “suspect” text, using many of the original performance practices of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries: minimal technology, frequent stage-audience interaction, no scenery, a mix of historical and “modern dress” costuming, cross-gender casting, live music, no breaks between scenes or acts.
Future Hoosier Bard and NOS productions are planned, once construction of the new IUPUI theatre is complete in 2012.