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Balancing Act

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For their inaugural production, the Waging Theatre ensemble chose William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, a play that questions anyone's authority to wage a moral campaign without a measure of humility. The program and web site include pictures of George W. Bush and scenes from recent news, and the directors note that they chose the play because they found it relevant to the times, but — appropriately, given the theme — the performance avoids direct criticism of anyone in particular in favor of an open-ended exploration of what it means to judge.

The play, at the Brick Box/Ivar Theater in Hollywood, is performed in the original language and with minimal pomposity -- focused, often funny performances, and simple staging, though, shockingly for a professional theater, not all of the actors knew their lines perfectly on opening night. Still, the idea to put on this 400 year old play for its current themes was inspired, and the performance achieves a pleasant balance of thought-provoking exploration of moral questions and sheer entertainment value.