Kate Powers

MEASURE FOR MEASURE Artist Profile: Kate Powers

Have you binge-watched anything lately, and if so, what? I’m not really a binge-watching kind of gal.

What’s your favorite line in Measure for Measure, and why? Two lines from the play resonate with me right now:

“Our doubts are traitors, / And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt.” Indeed. Fight for what you want and what you need; you can do this if you just stop apologizing for your thought, your ambition, your need to be heard.

And at this national moment of crisis, uncertainty, erosion of the rule of law, and fiat by tweet, I hear this in my head nearly daily:

“But man, proud man,
Dress’d in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d—
His glassy essence—like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.”

Why should people come see this show? People should come see Measure because it is funny and rude and terribly, terribly sad. The play is a potent reminder that #metoo is a centuries’ old problem, that men extracting or pressuring women for sex as a transactional exchange has long been among us. Shakespeare is exploring corruption of authority, the intersection, or bypass of, justice with mercy, and sexual misdeeds that continue to infect our society and oppress those who are not invited to share in governance. Ultimately, the play stops, but it does not end. Shakespeare throws some mighty questions onto the stage with this play, but he refuses to answer them for us. How do women find the strength to tell their stories and support one another while doing so? What is the nature of justice? Is ‘an eye for an eye’, ‘an Angelo for a Claudio’ justice? What is the relationship between justice and mercy? Where is the boundary between authority and tyranny? How much government do we need?

Kate Powers directs Measure for Measure. She has directed extensively off-Broadway and regionally. She has directed both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winter’s Tale at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. Ms. Powers also directed Sandy Duncan in in Steven Dietz’s Becky’s New Car at Theatre Aspen and Hayley Mills in Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy for the National Theatre’s UK National Tour. She is the founding Artistic Director of the Redeeming Time Project, which uses Shakespeare to effect positive change for the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated. Kate made her debut with Theatre Unbound in 2017, directing an evening of short plays in conversation with Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles.”

Tickets for Measure for Measure are available here.

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