BRUNSWICK – The Bowdoin College Department of Theater and Dance will present “Measure for Measure,” one of Shakespeare’s most complex and mature comedies, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 6-8.

A comedy that often borders on the tragic, “Measure for Measure” examines the friction between human laws and natural law, spiritual purity and physical desire.

A duke, after presiding over a corrupt society for 14 years, puts an austere Puritan in charge to better enforce state laws. Observing the ramifications of this decision under the veil of disguise, the duke soon learns what people really think of him, and how easily a strict adherence to temporal laws can clash with higher laws of mercy and grace. The new ruler’s severity sets several subplots into motion, with the threats of death and terror hanging darkly over the extreme, often comic, society.

“Measure for Measure” is not a neatly classifiable play. It explores and relishes contradictions, making it one of the most psychologically modern of Shakespeare’s plays. It is ripe for a contemporary audience, as political power and hidden social and sexual agendas boil over both onstage and in our mainstream media on a daily basis.

The production is directed by Associate Professor of Theater Davis Robinson. All performances will be at 8 p.m. in Pickard Theater, Memorial Hall, on the Bowdoin campus. Free tickets are available at the David Saul Smith Union information desk, by calling 725-3375, or at the door.

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