To coincide with the opening of the latest RSC’s production of Measure for Measure, November’s Picture of the Month depicts a scene from the 2003 production of this “problematic comedy”, set in 1940’s Vienna and directed by Sean Holmes. Emma Fielding played Isabella, the novice nun who refuses on principle to sleep with Angelo, the acting head of state, to save her brother’s life. Malcolm Davies, the Trust’s former photographer and veteran of many RSC photo calls, captures the tense moment where Angelo, played by Daniel Evans, attempts to blackmail Isabella, whose religious fervour and inner strength is shown to be unshakeable.
Then Isabel, live chaste, and brother, die; More than our brother is our chastity. (Act 3 Scene 1)
The production received mixed reviews. But no one could doubt Isabella’s courage, and at the same time, deeply-felt human pain for her brother’s predicament, as portrayed by Emma Fielding, in a flawed but nevertheless fascinating production.