ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science & History, Main Street, Palmerston North
09/07/2015 - 18/07/2015
Following on from two award-winning productions in 2013 (Julius Caesar: Rome Inc.) and 2014 (Othello), ProperJob Productions returns to Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History in July 2015. Once again transporting Shakespeare outside the confines of a proscenium arch theatre, we are discovering another new performance space in which to explore new ways of bringing the ideas and action of a traditional text to the audience.
This year’s production, staged in the Museum’s Atrium, will be Antony and Cleopatra, a story which presents a familiar hero in a less familiar light.
In this play Antony’s total commitment to those he loves (displayed to such devastating effect in his suppression of the conspirators who murdered Julius Caesar) becomes a self-destructive force when it is coupled with lust and matched by an equally compulsive response from the woman it is directed at – a woman who needs Antony’s adoration to bring purpose and power to her own life. As Antony allows his passion for Cleopatra to take precedence over all his other commitments and responsibilities, his neglect alienates his associate, Octavius Caesar, transforming a powerful ally into an equally powerful antagonist.
The production shifts the focus from the armies of Rome and Egypt to the gangs of Jazz-Age America, a famously glamorous era which resonates with the Shakespeare’s luxurious and indulgent setting, while emphasising the timelessness of his themes.
Where: The Atrium, Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science & History, Main Street, Palmerston North.
When: Thurs-Sat 9, 10, 11; 16, 17 & 18 July 2015, 7.30 pm.
Matinee, Sun 12 July, 2.00pm
Cost: $15 waged, $10 unwaged $13.00 groups (5+) $7.50 school groups (5+)
Cast, in order of appearance:
Demetrius: A member of Antony's entourage : Rohan Prince
Phyllida: Octavius Caesar’s assistant
Mark Antony: Bruce Sinclair
Domitius Enobarbus, a trusted assistant of Antony's: Paul Lyons
Cleopatra, Antony's lover: Sasha Lipinsky
Alexa, manager of Cleopatra’s household: Rebecca Freeman
Charmian: Cleopatra’s dresser: Sapphira Raven
Iras: Cleopatra’s secretary: Lauren Hutchison
A gypsy fortune-teller: Alexandra Bellad-Ellis
Octavius Caesar, one of Antony’s business partners: Simon Herbert
Lepidus, Antony’s other partner: Danny Goodman
Octavia, Caesar’s sister, and later Antony’s wife: Katherine Lyons
Pompey, a rival to Antony, Octavius and Lepidus: Alwyn Bakker
Menas, Pompey’s officer : Rohan Prince
Scarus, Antony’s officer: Alexandra Bellad-Ellis
Creatives & Crew
Director/Producer: Joy Green
Tech Design& Operation: Nick Skarott
Production Design: Nic Green
Costume: Lee Matthews & Joy Green
Stage manager: Megan Green
Another interesting production and interpretation
Review by John C Ross 10th Jul 2015
This version of Shakespeare’s play is adapted to Prohibition-era,1920s USA, with Antony, Octavius and Sextus Pompey as gangsterish rival tycoons who battle each other, offstage, with mobs of gunmen and dodgy lawyers. It comes with a bundle of tweakings to the dialogue, costuming, set-design (what there is of it), incidental music (jazzy) and stage-business. Cleopatra’s asp, for example, becomes a poison-filled hypodermic syringe, rather than a rattlesnake.
The play turns on the renditions of the central pair, who need to be in some ways outstanding. Antony may be an aging lion, facing challenges from a younger one, but he needs to be some kind of lion, and Bruce Sinclair, a veteran actor, conveys this quite well. Sasha Lipinsky as Cleopatra looks the part, with plenty of spirit, yet needs to focus on sharper, clearer diction, slightly slower.
Of the others, Simon Herbert gives a sinisterly stylish, increasingly authoritative rendition of the role of Octavius and Paul Lyons a sensitively restrained performance as Enobarbus. Danny Goodman is quite good as Lepidus, and Katharine Lyons as Octavia.
Much praise to Joy Green, the director, for once again mounting an interesting production and interpretation that hold together reasonably well. I hope she’ll forgive me for suggesting a few areas for fine-tuning. The chosen venue, the atrium in the Museum, is not particularly friendly acoustics-wise and quite a few of the actors need to pay more attention to speaking up, to projecting their voices and to sharper articulation of their words. In this venue, they need to speak about half-turned downstage. It just might be possible to bring actors and audience closer together, for one or two scenes at least. The sequence in which Cleopatra arranges her own suicide might be tidier.
Nic Green’s set has Cleopatra’s chaise longue on a rostrum at upstage centre, and two pairs of rostra, with curved benches, at midstage left and right. They are quite congruent with the production, and serve it well. Lee Matthews’ ‘period’ costumes are excellent.
It’s an interesting production and one wishes it well. With a little settling in, it should be perfectly fine.
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