A 1920s Paris-style rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” opens tonight — not in a traditional stage venue, but at Franklin Street’s Varsity Theatre.
"Measure for Measure" will Beverly Schieman's first time directing a production. The UNC 2000 graduate has been acting and assistant directing for Triangle-based Bare Theatre since 2008.
“It’s scary, exhilarating, it’s educational — but its definitely very different than being a performer,” she said.
Schieman said she has worked in theater long enough to expect the unexpected. With its nontraditional setting,"Measure for Measure" was no exception. After losing the original performance space, Bare Theater took advantage of the Varsity's access to film.
“One of the characters is having a dream, and for his dream we used an amazing filmmaker — Michael Babbitt from (Hillsborough-based) Bombshell Studios — and he helped us put together a very short film sequence of Angelo’s dream,” Schieman said. “It came out just beautifully.”
Paul Shareshian, owner of the Varsity Theatre, said the theater regularly hosts live acts but has never hosted an entire play. He said the show looked promising and professional from the glimpses he caught during dress rehearsals.
“They’re utilizing the space as best they can,” he said. “If you’ve got a screen and a projector, why not use it? That’s what normal live show venues like DPAC do.”
Bare Theatre raised money for the production through a Kickstarter campaign, said actor Seth Blum. Blum said through the Kickstarter, people were able to purchase tickets in advance that went toward the cost of production. Those who made larger donations could earn prizes and were even given the chance to appear in the play.
Babbitt said mixing film and stage could be tricky, but he and Bare Theatre were able to work together and succeed in making a great piece for the play.