Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents

inaugural production of Shakespeare 400 Chicago

Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre's


January 27–31, 2016


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) welcomes Cheek by Jowl and Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre’s internationally acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure to kick off the line-up for the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebration. Directed by Cheek by Jowl Co-Artistic Director Declan Donnellan and designed by Co-Artistic Director Nick Ormerod, this piercing modern production navigates the uses and abuses of power in an authoritarian society, drawing striking parallels to today's geopolitical landscape. Performed in Russian with projected English translation, Measure for Measure is presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the Courtyard Theater for a limited engagement January 27–31, 2016.

Shakespeare’s gripping exploration of morality sets the scene in a city that has decayed into corruption and chaos, where lust and pleasure resist legislation. The Duke relinquishes power to his moralizing deputy, and secretly observes as Angelo succumbs to his own demons in his obsessive pursuit of a young nun. With a unique brew of laughter and reflection, Measure for Measure dissects the nature of government, love and justice—asking unsettling questions about the complex relationships between those in power and those they govern.

The Russian actors that make up the dynamic company of Measure for Measure are the first in a diverse array of international artists making Chicago their stage throughout 2016 for the Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebration. Uniting the City’s resident world-class institutions and hosting leading artists from around the globe, the festival explores Shakespeare’s enduring legacy across languages and disciplines including theater, dance, literature, music, cuisine and spectacle.

The collaboration between Cheek by Jowl and its sister company, the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre, exemplifies founders Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s passion for forging theater for international audiences. Donnellan and Ormerod are considered to be among the world’s foremost interpreters of Shakespeare, and have toured their work to audiences around the world since founding the company in 1981. Donnellan and Ormerod return to Chicago Shakespeare after their Russian-language Twelfth Night from the Chekhov International Theatre Festival was presented as part of CST’s World's Stage Series in 2006. Following a decade of performing work in Moscow, the creative partners were commissioned by the Russian Theatre Confederation to form their own company of Russian actors, and the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre was born. Measure for Measure is the first co-production between the sister companies.

Hailed as “a shattering portrait of contemporary Russia” by Moscow’s Novaya Gazeta, this production of Measure for Measure received five of Russia’s prestigious Golden Mask Award nominations, including Best Director for Declan Donnellan and Best Large Scale Drama Production. London’s The Telegraph declares, “You don’t need to be thoroughly acquainted with Measure for Measure or speak a word of Russian to follow this radically trimmed version.” The Independent raves that “it combines a solar plexus punch with real, thought-provoking finesse about the issues.” The Stage gives highest acclaim for this production that “makes sharp work of Shakespeare’s muddled play, turning it into an insightful take on modern Mafioso politics… a periscope through which to look at a world where morality has increasingly been turned on its head.”

Joining Donnellan and Ormerod on the creative team are Kirill Sbitnev as Assistant Director, Irina Kashuba as Choreographer, Sergey Skornetskiy as Lighting Designer and Pavel Akimkin as Composer. The company includes: Alexander Arsentyev (Duke), Yuri Rumyantsev (Escalus), Andrei Kuzichev (Angelo), Alexander Feklistov (Lucio), Petr Rykov (Claudio), Alexander Matrosov (Provost), Ivan Litvinenko (Executioner), Nikolay Kislichenko (Elbow), Igor Teplov (Barnardine), Alexey Rakhmanov (Pompey/Friar Peter), Anna Khalilulina (Isabella), Elmira Mirel (Mariana/Mistress Overdone) and Anastasia Lebedeva (Juliet/Francisca).

Measure for Measure is produced by Cheek by Jowl and the Pushkin Theatre, Moscow in a co-production with the Barbican, London; Les Gémeaux/Sceaux/Scène Nationale; Centro Dramático Nacional, Madrid (INAEM).

January 27, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
January 28, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
January 29, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
January 30, 2016 – 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
January 31, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.

Performed in Russian with projected English translation.
Tickets: $68–$78
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