Antony and cleopatra stratford 2017
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
This play is so good, it is not merely a masterpiece: it is a mystery. The two protagonists are alternately noble and petty, wise and foolish, and yet they never seem inconsistent or self-contradictory because Shakespeare--here is the mystery--consistently maintains a tone that is paradoxically both ironic and heroic. Part of it is the language, which shifts seamlessly from mellifluous monologues adorned with cosmic imagery (comparing Anthony and Cleopatra to continents, stars,etc.) to the most modern-sounding, most casual and wittiest dialogue of Shakespeares career. Part of it is the larger-than-life characterization which transforms each vicious and pathetic absurdity into a privilege of the lovers protean magnificence--as undeniable and unquestionable as the sovreign acts of Olympian gods. Whatever the reason, this play makes me laugh and cry and leaves me with a deep spiritual reverence for the possibilities of the human heart.
I wrote the paragraph above two and a half years ago, and it still reflects my opinion of the play. This time through, though, I was particularly struck by how much the voices of the military subordinates and servants--Enobarbus and Charmion, Ventidius and Alexis, and many others, including even unnamed messengers and soldiers--contribute to this double movement of the ironic and heroic, celebrating the leaders mythic qualities but also commenting on their great flaws. Enobarbus--with his loyal (albeit amused) appreciation, his disillusioned betrayal, and his subsequent death from what can best be described as a broken heart--is central to this aspect of the play.
Synopsis - Antony & Cleopatra - Royal Shakespeare Company
Iqbal Khan 2017 production
Sign in. Watch now. Titus has returned from a brutal year war having lost 21 sons in battle. Betrayed by his nation, and with his family in pieces, a series of bloody events follows as he and Tamora, Queen Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome.
Antony and Cleopatra at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks. What is the worst thing you can say about a Shakespeare production? Why is it so dull? Partly because Khan adopts the same criminally conventional vision as Angus Jackson does for Julius Caesar. Partly because the power-brokers of empire seem more suited to sitting GCSEs than carving up the known world.
Please refresh the page and retry. On paper, hunky. But in practice, we need far greater steers from season director Angus Jackson as to the pressing intellectual rationale behind this epic with a capital E undertaking. In Ant and Cleo, in particular, with its sensuous riot of steam-baths in Rome and animal face-masks, towering cat statues and hieroglyph-bearing monuments in Egypt, the look is so retro-opulent you half expect a thundering chariot, or Elizabeth Taylor, to put in an appearance. R ather like the tragedies themselves, the over-riding sense is of colossal amounts of effort being expended to dwindling avail, even of plans going awry. Because this conventionality of approach — whether or not you find it a moribund aesthetic - creates a distancing effect.
In the title roles, Antony Byrne and Josette Simon are pulling in even more directions than their characters are meant to be. She is, at least, compulsively watchable, because you never know what line reading she is going to go for next — and, for her death scene, she springs the biggest surprise of all. Designer Robert Innes Hopkins resourcefully re-uses set pieces from Julius Caesar — the horse and lion statue reappears, for instance, adorning the top of a monumental archway. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts. The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in We do not receive government funding.