Putney School Teacher Stars In Shakespeare's Measure For Measure
June 29, 2002 - Amherst, MA - After more than 20 years teaching Shakespeare to young people,
Putney School’s English department chair Harry Bauld now brings the Bard’s
words to life on the stage. Playing Angelo in the Hampshire Shakespeare
Company’s production of Measure for Measure, Bauld is tackling one of
Shakespeare’s most complex roles with assurance and enthusiasm.
Hampshire Shakespeare Company performs Shakespeare Under the Stars at The
Hartsbrook School at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, Massachusetts, easily
accessible from I-91. Performances are at 7 pm, Wednesdays through Sundays,
with Measure for Measure running through July 14.
Bauld has taught English at Putney for 11 years, coming to the school from
the Horace Mann School in the Bronx where he began his teaching career in
1981. A graduate of Columbia University in art history, Bauld’s love of
Shakespeare led him into the field of literature.
Looking for a summer program in Shakespeare for his daughter, Bauld came
across the website of the Hampshire Shakespeare Company, a community group
that, in addition to producing two shows a summer, offers educational
programs for children and teens. He auditioned for the group’s production of
The Tempest for the summer of 2000 and was cast (somewhat non-traditionally)
as Ariel, a role in which he made good use of his wit and athleticism.
Last summer, Bauld tackled one of his favorite roles, that of Iago in the
tragedy Othello. He sees Iago as a truly evil character who in most respects
is beyond human emotion and therefore evokes no sympathy from the audience
with his ultimate downfall.
Angelo, the villain of Measure for Measure, is much more interesting to
play. His behavior, Bauld says, derives from his complete lack of
self-knowledge. Given the power of life and death over the citizens of
Vienna in the absence of the true ruler, Angelo operates from a public
posture of moral superiority while succumbing to his own weakness when
confronted by a woman whom he desires and tries to rape.
“The audience is intended to be uncomfortable with the character of Angelo,”
Bauld says. By playing such a recognizable villain, Bauld gets to “take the
leash off, and do what is taboo. This behavior represents the ugly part of
In the end, though, Angelo proves more human than Iago. He has no more
sympathy for himself than he has for others whom he has condemned, but,
forgiven by the women he wronged and pardoned by the returned Duke, Angelo
finally recognizes that he can accept the full range of human failings in
himself and in others and still feel safe.
“Measure for Measure,” says Bauld, “resonates today with the current
quandary of the Catholic church” which he feels must acknowledge the basic
humanity and sexuality of its priests.
When asked what his favorite Shakespearean role is, Bauld didn’t hesitate to
say “Hamlet,” while adding that he feels he is too old to play it. But, he
says, he would love to take on Claudius should the opportunity present
Hampshire Shakespeare Company is now in its twelfth year, offering
opportunities for professionals and amateurs to work together in a beautiful
outdoor setting with the Holyoke Range in the background. Consult the web
site for complete details about all the Hampshire Shakespeare Company’s many
activities (www.hampshireshakespeare.org) or call 413-788-4750.