Why See Antony and Cleopatra?
The King of British Theatre returns in 2018
Film and stage royalty Ralph Fiennes returns to the play that made his name playing Claudio in 1988, this time in the lead role of Antony! Shakespeare's historical play depicting Ancient Egypt's first celebrity couple returns to the National Theatre 30 years later, as part of Rufus Norris' inaugural season of shows. Directed by Simon Godwin.
What is it about?
Originally adapted by the Bard from Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's lives, the action takes place between the Sicilian revolt and the suicide of the female pharoah at the height of the Roman Empire's final war, based in both Rome and in the sultry heat of Alexandria.
A power play that engulfs an empire
Marc Antony is the self-contained and melancholy third of the Roman triumvirate ruling with Octavius and Lepidus following the fall of Julius Caesar. Having neglected his duties after falling in love for the beguiling and capricious Cleopatra in Alexandria, he is reluctant to leave when recalled to Rome to explain his actions. Octavius is keen to cement their bond as brothers by marrying him to his sister; however when Cleopatra is informed of this union, she is beside herself with rage.
Antony finally returns to Alexandria after the Sicilian Revolt truce is broken by Octavius, and he promptly names himself king of Egypt, with Cleopatra by his side - however, Octavius is furious with Antony, and sparks a war. Despite Cleopatra avowing her naval ships to his aid, she commands them to retreat, leaving Antony's forces to the mercy of Octavius.
Antony finds himself emasculated by his lover, where he is now seen as a coward and he denounces her publicly; but he still loves her secretly. In a scene that closely mirrors Romeo and Juliet, he tries to save her life as she commits suicide, but to no avail.
Performance date: 8 February 2018
Suitable for ages 12+
to be confirmed by producers
Cast and Creative
Ralph Fiennes as Marc Antony
Directed by Simon Godwin
About London Theatreland: We are an independent show guide with no affiliation to any venue or show.
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