Monday, August 06, 2007

Does this look like Cleopatra to you?

Me either.

I saw a production of Antony and Cleopatra last week at Shakespeare and Company. It was excellent, except for Cleopatra. She was played by Tina Packer and--I have to be frank--she was way too old for the part, and too fat. She actually distracts from the play. When she falls to the floor in a moment of high drama, I worried that her fellow actors wouldn't have the strength to help her to her feet. This somewhat detracted from the illusion.

Even if she had been thin, Tina was not suited to playing Cleopatra the temptress. That train left the station a long time ago.

However, it is surprising how much of Shakespeare's play is left when Cleo is counted out. Nigel Ware was superb as Antony, and the rest of the cast were excellent.

I was reminded, as I am every time I see Shakespeare performed, what a genius he was.


Tatyana said...

I remember seeing Rigoletto (admittedly, not Shakespeare) and being distracted by the tenor's looks: he was short, bald and of considerable girth, Pavarotti-like. Now, if he was to play Henry the V, that would be an excellent casting.

Tatyana said...

I meant Henry VIII, of course. All those Tudors...