The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0370 Monday, 21 February 2000.
Date: Sunday, 20 Feb 2000 23:37:31 +1100
Subject: Antony and Cleopatra in Melbourne
I've just been to an interesting new production of Antony and Cleopatra
here in Melbourne, Australia. It was staged in a theatre within an old
gasworks, with a traverse stage, audience on both sides and a long
performing space between.
The director used ropes and cloth at each end to indicate Rome and
Egypt. The ropes hung from pulleys and indicated Roman loyalties as
cast members stretched, attached and reattached them in the course of
performance. The bolts of scarlet cloth were used in scenes with
Egyptian characters, symbolising the more luxurious, decadent East.
It sounds contrived, but it was quite interesting and dramatic in the
large space, though there were limitations to its effectiveness. The web
of ropes produced by the negotiations between Antony, Caesar and Pompey
was fascinating, linking everyone on stage, with characters leaning
against or within something reminiscent of a ship's rigging.
For those who are interested, there's a full review of the production on
my theatre website at http://www.stageleft.com.au/