I just watched the great Shakespeare Uncovered documentary about Antony and Cleopatra, hosted by Kim Cattrall.
|Kim Cattrall at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre|
|Kim Cattrall as Cleopatra|
|with Michael Pennington as Antony|
There are some nice moments where Ms. Cattrall interviews Dame Janet today, and her insights into the play are quite interesting.
|Janet Suzman as Cleopatra, 1974|
|Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra, 1963|
|Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter, 2006|
In this episode, however, I disagree with Jonathan Bate who thinks that the play was Shakespeare letting his hair down and writing about Cleopatra in order to comment on Queen Elizabeth, who had died only a few years before Shakespeare wrote the play. There is much more that Shakespeare is saying about King James and Queen Anne, than about Elizabeth.
|King James and Queen Anne, were they the original Antony and Cleopatra?|
|Marlon Brando as Mark Antony, in a Julius Caesar film, 1953|
|Mark Antony's speech, from the Brando film|
This, of course, is at the root of my new approach to Shakespeare's plays. In my versions of the plays, the audience is as much a part of the play as the actors on stage, and speak with the actors very frequently.
|Harriet Walter as Cleopatra|
David B. Schajer
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