Cather­ine Mc­clements plays Cleopa­tra in Antony and Cleopa­tra

Time Out (Melbourne) - - THEATRE & DANCE -

Ac­cord­ing to Cather­ine Mc­clements, watch­ing

Antony and Cleopa­tra is a lit­tle like watch­ing a Princess Diana doc­u­men­tary, glimps­ing a life where love col­lided with pol­i­tics. “Shake­speare is tak­ing th­ese big mo­ments from his­tory and show­ing how ev­ery­thing was be­hind closed doors.” The Egyp­tian queen is un­der­stood to have been a fierce leader and is be­lieved to have killed her­self by com­pelling an asp to bite her breast. It’s that ex­tra­or­di­nary story that en­ticed Mc­clements – a cel­e­brated stage and screen ac­tor – to re­turn to Shake­speare 14 years af­ter she last en­coun­tered the Bard in Belvoir’s

Mac­beth. Al­though her cast­ing in this Bell Shake­speare pro­duc­tion was met with ex­cite­ment in the­atri­cal cir­cles, Cleopa­tra wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a role the ac­tor had longed to play. “I don’t think any fe­male Shake­speare char­ac­ter is nec­es­sar­ily on the wish­list,” she says. “They’re trou­bling and tricky to pull off, but they’re also fa­mous and you just al­ways want to give it a go... Some­one once said that Shake­speare is like ac­tors’ heroin. It’s sort of true; it’s not nec­es­sar­ily good for you, but god, it’s ad­dic­tive.” The one thing I ad­mire most about Cleopa­tra: “She’s able to rip her­self out of the myth and cre­ate her own fu­ture.” Òarts Cen­tre Mel­bourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Mel­bourne 3004. 1300 182 183. www.arts­cen­tremel­bourne.com.au. $40-$92. Apr 26-May 13.

Cather­ine Mc­clements in Antonyand­cleopa­tra

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