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Measure for Pleasure

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Sex and stamina in Florida Studio Theatre Stage III’s bedroom comedy.   By Kay Kipling   If your sex life is in a bit of a lull, you may find it gets jolted awake by watching a performance of Measure for Pleasure, now playing at Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III.   Playwright David Grimm has […]

April 30, 2007


Sex and stamina in Florida Studio Theatre Stage III’s bedroom comedy.
 
By Kay Kipling
 
If your sex life is in a bit of a lull, you may find it gets jolted awake by watching a performance of Measure for Pleasure, now playing at Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III.
 
Playwright David Grimm has taken the form and the standard characters of Restoration comedy—a rake, a long-married couple with bedroom issues, a virtuous young woman, her strict duenna and a knowing servant among them—and set them in a piece that employs both the rhyme of that genre and a more straightforward contemporary approach to language. The many double entendres are there, along with a lot of lustful panting, but there’s a darker side: These people cannot count on pleasure alone without undergoing some painful self-realization.


Eric Hissom, Shannon Noecker and Thomas Piper in FST’s Stage III production of Measure for Pleasure.
 
Among those caught in a web of wanting: Sir Peter Lustforth (Eric Hissom), unhappily servicing his demanding wife Vanity (Sheila Stasack) while keeping his lascivious eye on the virginal Hermione Goode (Shannon Noecker); Hermione’s not exactly faithful suitor Dick Dashwood (Thomas Piper); and the Lustforths’ servant Will Blunt (Aaron Galligan-Stierle), who’s finding that his relationship with a male strumpet in female’s clothing, Molly Tawdry (Andy Phelan), is more complicated than he’d first supposed.
 
Grimm handles the conventions of this style of comedy expertly while incorporating a more modern plea for understanding in the case of Will and Molly’s same-sex pairing. And he certainly keeps the action coming, especially in the Act II (mostly offstage) orgy where even Hermione’s nunlike guardian (Gabra Zackman) gets caught up in the hormones in the air. The cast performs in spirited fashion, with Galligan-Stierle, Phelan and Noecker especially making an impression under the direction of Russell Treyz, who helmed FST’s production of Around the World in 80 Days last season and certainly knows how to handle this show’s constant fast pace.
 
That said, by the evening’s conclusion (the play runs two-and-a-half hours with intermission), I was a little tired of all the complications and the constant sexual allusions. Guess it all depends on your—ahem—stamina.
 
Measure for Pleasure runs through May 18; for tickets call 366-9000 or visit fst2000.org.