BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHAKESPEARE PRODUCTION - 2006
Ruth Eglsaer Measure for Measure Denver Center Theatre Company
Isabella is a would-be nun, the sister of a young man whom Angelo, a religion-crazed deputy, condemns to death for fornication. Although she pleads for her brother's life, Isabella is in her own way as narrow and judgmental as Angelo; it is through suffering that she is eventually humanized. Isabella is a very difficult role to get right -- she's a tragic figure in a comedy, by turns cold and sympathetic, and given some of the most profound speeches Shakespeare ever wrote. Ruth Eglsaer confronted these problems with passion and integrity, and vanquished them; she made Shakespeare's language her own. In the early scenes, her Isabella had the chilly radiance of an icicle; her anguish later in the play tore at the heart. A stunning achievement.