Saturday, March 28, 2015

Xavier Tippett in Measure for Measure

That's Andy, Charlene, Xavier, Madysen, and MSW after the show.

Andy and I went last night to see our friends Charlene and Tyrone Tippett's son Xavier in Measure for Measure  (See their Youtube Promo).  He attends the Middlesex (NJ) county arts high school, and it was amazing to see a group of 15 and 16 year olds playing that mean old late Shakespeare play with all the corruption and hypocrisy: an excellent Angelo, lots of girls doing the usually male parts, notably the Duke.  She did a really admirable job with those many long lines of poetry and narration.

Shakespeare's patriarchs are, in my opinion, hardest for 21st century people to appreciate and understand:  they are always manipulating and tricking their subjects  (Duke Vincentio certainly does-- playing his cruel pretenses till the very end) -- and yet, we are, in the end, supposed to appreciate their magnanimity and their ability to restore order. Anyhow, that's tough for us today with our ideology (if not always fact) of democracy. So aside from how well the young woman played the part, the decision was made for her to do it light-heartedly, almost playfully, which works probably better today than old-fashioned dignity and privilege.

And the end, where the Duke offers her hand in marriage to Isabela, is played with a black-out rather than another forty lines of blank verse.  Interesting indeed.

Xavier's Pompey, on the other hand, is a natural: he's the bar tender/ bawd, one of Shakespeare's clowns, but played by Xavier in sharp early twentieth century clothes as more of a self-conscious humorist:  more stand-up than fool-- anyhow, he was handsome and funny and terrific.

In general, those kids did a more than adequate job with the language, which is just a stellar compliment to their teacher/director, and their physical movement, individually and as a group, plus singing, were completely professional.

What a treat!

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