Roman leader Marcus Antonius of Rome and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt are perhaps history’s most famous lovers, a couple whose passion changed the course of history.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis will present “Antony and Cleopatra," The Bard’s epic rendition of their tragic love, in Forest Park, May 22-June 14. Festival officials chose the play because they wanted to perform a “big show” in their 15th season, according to interim artistic director Bruce Longworth.
“These two characters were titans in their time. As their decisions went, so went the fate of the entire Roman Empire,” Longworth said in a news release. “It is a tale of larger-than-life personalities locked in a relationship that shook the world.”
St. Louis native and John Burroughs High School alum Mike Donahue will direct “Antony and Cleopatra.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this story to life in such a great, iconic setting in St. Louis,” Donahue said, in the release. “Working outdoors in Forest Park presents great opportunity and challenge; returning to St. Louis to take this on is really an honor.”
Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” was first performed in 1607. Cleopatra, tempestuous and captivating, is thought by many to be one of Shakespeare's most complex characters.
In 1963, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton performed the lead roles in a 1963 movie version that won four Oscars. In 2001, Lynn Redgrave and Timothy Dalton starred in a televised theatrical production of “Antony and Cleopatra.” Here's a clip from that performance, which included costume and set designs from the original 1607 Globe Theatre debut.