2. Art deco duel
Katherine Lyons as Octavia, Bruce Sinclair as Antony with Simon Herbert as Octavius in the 1920s styled Antony and Cleopatra opening at Te Manawa this Thursday.
Salad days and winter don’t normally go together. However, the source of the saying ‘‘salad days’’, a reference to youthful freshness and inexperience from a play by William Shakespeare, is about to bloom at Te Manawa.
The Bard’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra is set during the establishment of the Roman Empire. Based on the historical characters of Roman general and triumvir Mark Antony, and Cleopatra last pharaoh of Egypt, it opens for seven performances on Thursday night.
Joy Green’s Properjob productions is following the successful mid-winter Shakespeare presentations of Globe Award winning Julius Caesar in 2013 and last year’s Othello, with a third play set in Te Manawa. As with the previous two shows, Joy has taken a non-traditional approach by setting what she calls ‘ Romeo and Juliet for adults amidst the flappers and gangsters, speak-easies, jazz and prohibition era of the Roaring 20s.
Togas are out, fedoras and fascinators are in. Rome transforms into New York, Alexandria becomes the state of Mississippi, while the rebellious Pompey’s stronghold of Sicily is now Chicago.
‘‘It’s later Downton Abbey. The aim is to make it look pretty on a limited budget. The costumes are gorgeous with art deco set and period furniture to fit the decadence and glamour of the age.’’
The story sees Antony, besotted with the queen of Egypt, neglecting his duties as one of the three men ruling Rome following the assassination of Julius Caesar, and finding himself at odds with the other two, Lepidus and Octavius – the future Augustus Caesar, first emperor of Rome.
The political circumstances coupled with the over-wrought affair have tragic consequences for both Antony and his lover. Knowing that Cleo kills herself with an asp, those with a phobia about serpents need have no fear. Snakes are not allowed in New Zealand, and as Joy reckons there’s nothing more falselooking than a rubber snake, the serpent becomes a metaphor for an overdose of heroin or cocaine, and is quite in keeping with the spirit of the age.
As Antony is multi-Globe awardwinning actor Bruce Sinclair who played the Earl of Gloucester in the Summer Shakespeare production of King Lear, was Fagin in last year’s Oliver! and Julius Caesar in 2013. In that distinctive reverse gender production he played alongside Sasha Lipinsky’s conspiratorial Kay Cassius. This time, Sasha lands another leading role as Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. The experienced cast includes Paul Lyons, Simon Herbert and Danny Goodman
Properjob’s production of Antony and Cleopatra opens this Thursday, July 9 at Te Manawa and runs until July 18 with performances at 7.30pm, and a 2pm matinee on Sunday, July 12. Tickets are $15 waged, $10 unwaged; bookings through firstname.lastname@example.org
Sasha Lipinsky plays Cleopatra to Bruce Sinclair’s Antony in a 1920s-styled production of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra which opens at Te Manawa on Thursday 9.