“ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA:” A BARGE TO ANOTHER ERA
BY BONNIE GOLDBERG
A triumvirate struggling for control and a tempestuous love triangle dominate the sun baked landscape of Egypt as Shakespeare’s classical tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra” captures the newly renovated Hartford Stage until Sunday, November 7.
Politics and power battle for supremacy as the leadership of the world is at stake. A trio of mighty men Mark Antony (John Douglas Thompson), Octavius Caesar (Scott Parkinson) and Lepidus (Christopher McHale) rule the Roman Empire after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
This newly formed triple power of the world is threatened by a fourth contender Pompey (Alex Cendese) who does not object to dividing and conquering if it will get him the dominance he desires. Wars on sea and on land follow the competitors as loyalties are threatened and questioned.
Mark Antony first finds himself married to Fulvia while he is having a heated dalliance with the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, portrayed by a vibrant Kate Mulgrew. When Fulvia dies, he cements his relationship with Octavius by wedding his sister Octavia (Kendra Underwood), much to the fury of Cleopatra.
Ever the actress, a histrionic Cleopatra becomes a drama queen, almost flaying the poor messenger (Jake Green) who brings word of Antony’s betrayal. In true Shakespearian fashion, the lusty passion between the pair runs from fiery to freezing, like a thermometer heated to boiling and then plunged into an ice bath. Their affair is mirrored in the battle for power raging among the titans and, ultimately, both lose and pay the permanent price of death, he with a sword, and she with a snake. Tina Landau directs this involved historic epic.
For tickets ($23-66), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sundays and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Delve into the psyche of an Egyptian Queen as she realizes the domination of her kingdom is not enough if she doesn’t have the man she loves, Mark Antony, by her side to share it.