The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1235 Monday, 5 July 1999.
Date: Sunday, 04 Jul 1999 13:10:11 PDT
Subject: Antony and Cleopatra in New Orleans
I want to commend the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane (University in New
Orleans, Louisiana) for a fine production of Antony and Cleopatra. This
production offered a contrast between overly-serious youth in Octavius
Caesar and his entourage and the gaudy middle age of Antony, Cleopatra,
and their associates. The production was rather more comic than I
anticipated, as if Egypt were the locus of a comic world conflicting
with the seriousness of Rome.
I reread A&C in anticipation of seeing the play performed. It has not
been a play I have greatly considered previously, but this reading and
performance have raised for me three questions or points for
First, I don't think the scene quite works in which the soldiers hear
music from within the earth. I'm not sure what is the point of this
scene. The performance did not clarify the problem for me.
Second, I think the character Eros is rather aptly named to be an emblem
of the values of the Egyptian world in the play. Have others felt so?
Finally, among the presented deaths (therefore leaving out Lepidus and
Pompey), no one is killed in the play. Rather, the characters die as if
Rome cannot sustain them. This is true both of such characters as
Enobarbus and Iras of the suicides-Cleopatra, Antony, Charmian, and
Eros. I suppose this must have generated much of the criticism of A&C
through time. Comments?
This is the sixth season for the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. A&C has
now ended, but the production of Twelfth Night is beginning. Later this
month, their intern program will offer a production of Love's Labour's
Lost. If you are in the New Orleans area, I would consider these to be
must-sees. I have been very pleased with this festival.
One other question: How about a report about the Edward III that was
being performed in Cleveland?