Old Globe Theater takes Shakespeare on the road again with ‘Measure For Measure’


After two successful years with the traveling Globe For All performances, the program returns for a third year with Shakespeare’s “Measure For Measure,” on tour around San Diego County with free performances through Nov. 20.

Directing this year is Patricia McGregor making her Globe debut. “I am familiar with this type of (outreach) program,” McGregor said. “The Public Works has a similar program called the Public Theater Mobile. I directed their ‘Hamlet’ around New York. Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein worked with the Public Theater Mobile when he was in New York. Throughout my career engaging with different communities has been really important to me.”

“Measure For Measure” is set in a decadent Vienna, where the strict, newly appointed leader, Angelo, wants to rid the city of moral corruption. But that changes when he falls for a young nun pleading for the life of her brother, and justice, lust, hypocrisy and redemption become pivotal to the story. It was, and continues to be, classified as comedy, though its tone may challenge that expectation.

“In many ways, the gender politics of male/female equity, and who has power in the room, has not gone away since Shakespeare’s time,” McGregor said. “Part of it has always felt very resonant and to have a character like Isabella who has grace, mercy and speaks the truth, and possesses power and logic, makes for a very interesting journey.”

With a cast of nine professional actors, a DJ, and four production staff members Globe for All takes free professional Shakespeare to audiences in military bases, homeless shelters, centers for the elderly, correctional facilities, recreation centers, libraries and other community venues. Some of the 2,200 audience members thus far are seeing Shakespeare for the first time. In addition to this year’s 17-stop tour, Globe for All will play at The Old Globe Theatre for two low-cost performances.

“When I took a concert-type show to Riker’s Island prison, one of the officers said it had been years since they heard live music,” McGregor said. “That really struck me. A teaching artist who went to Las Colinas said the people who were incarcerated were so hungry, not just for entertainment, but to have a place to focus on something positive. It gave them something to talk about. I’ve had reports that these things profoundly affect some incarcerated people and give them hope because they’re being acknowledged. I take those audiences very seriously.”

IF YOU GO: “Globe For All,” free public performances will take place at St. Michael Chaldean Catholic Church, 799 E. Washington Ave., El Cajon, 6:30 p.m. Nov.10. City Heights/Weingart Branch Library, 3795 Fairmount Ave. 2 p.m. Nov. 12. Linda Vista Recreation Center, 7064 Levant St. 12:15 p.m. Nov.13. Naval Base San Diego, 2375 Recreation Way, Building 3210, 7 p.m. Nov. 16. A Reason to Survive, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 140 E. 12th St., Suite B, National City, 7 p.m. Nov.18 and Escondido Public Library, 239 S. Kalmia St., noon, Nov. 19. (619) 234-5623.