Hartford Stage
Photos by Jamie

 Antony & Cleopatra

October 9, 2010 

by Jamie Robinson

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Many Thanks to Jamie!

If you have reports or photos with Kate to share please e-mail totallykate@gmail.com

I never know quite how to begin these things so I'll just start with the spoiler alert, if you donít want to know details about the play you might want to avert your eyes.  Seeing Kate perform her coveted role of Cleopatra was absolutely thrilling!!  She was beautiful, passionate, sexy and well....

The audience surrounded the stage on three sides, so there was not a bad seat in the house.  The first rows of seats are right on the stage, I was in the 2nd row and let me tell you, you could just about reach out and touch them.  It had a very intimate theatre in the round type of feeling.  The actors run up and down the aisles quite a bit and at times even stand/sit on the steps and speak.  In the middle of the stage they had the Nile River, actual water running down the length of the stage.  It was covered by glass in the first act and uncovered when we entered after the intermission, amazing!  The ushers actually stood on either side of the "river" so people walking across the stage to get to their seats would be mindful not to fall in!  When the second act opens, John Douglas Thompson is actually walking in the river and in one scene where the soldiers are fighting; one holds the others head under the water as if to drown him.  It really lent to the drama of the play.

Now to Kate, and I'll try not to gush, but she looked damned amazing!  What the hell, if you're reading this then you don't mind the gushing so.... Kate looks beautiful in a red wig as youíve seen in the pictures and very fit. I noticed without her heels on she looks rather small compared to some of the other cast.  Her gowns were gorgeous, rather sheer, low cut and very sexy!  She is barefoot throughout most of the play and I believe she changed gowns 3-4 times, but there's a lot to absorb so I'm not quite sure.  The catch phrase advertised by the Hartford Stage reads "Passion rules allĒ and the production does not disappoint.  The first scene opens in Egypt and Kate is onstage with her court and Marc Antony.  They are talking and laughing and they kiss and embrace quite a bit.  At one point she lies down on top of him and at another he picks her up, throws her over his shoulder and exits the stage while patting her on the bottom.  Well, I was definitely lost after that, so forgive my recollection of events following, LOL!  He picks her up and swings her around several times and they look so cute together.  Suffice it to say, Kate and John Douglas Thompson have a wonderful chemistry!  Can you tell I am a hopeless romantic?

Marc Antony and his soldiers wore black pants, long sleeved black shirts and black combat boots, while Cleopatra and her court were in traditional costumes.  I thought it was an interesting mix of modern and traditional.  The setting is very minimal, not too many props, it's all about the acting and Kate, JDT and the cast were so amazing, that you didn't need anything else!  John Douglas Thompson, who I'd never seen perform, was really good, very intense and emotional.  He would have to be to keep up with our Kate and he does, very nicely!  At one scene he undresses down to his boxer briefs and he looks very nice indeed!  Sorry, but I am a bit naughty! 

A little help from the playbill here about the history...the story of the play begins after the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire is ruled by a triumvirate: Lepidus, ruling Africa; Octavius Caesar ruling the west: and Marc Antony, ruling the east.  While Caesar secures his power in Rome, Marc Antony stays in the Egyptian capital Alexandria with his love, Cleopatra.  And that is where the play begins.  The play depicts their passion for one another, shows the wars and rifts between Marc Antony and Caesar, and how in the midst of it all Marc Antony is always drawn back to Cleopatra, which leads ultimately to their tragic end. 

Well, the play was almost three hours long, although it seemed to fly by, so I will not describe it all.  But one scene, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I thought Kate was brilliant in, was where the messenger is trying to tell her that while Marc Antony was in Rome he married Octavia. Well, she just gives that messenger hell, and the scene is very comedic and the audience laughed and really loved it!  As a matter of fact there are quite a few scenes where comedy comes into play and Kate really shines here.  It's been said in other reports, as in Love, Loss And What I Wore, that she really does comedy well and the audience loves her at those times.  It's like seeing a glimpse of Kate when she speaks at conventions where she is naughty and funny; yes I think that's it!  Although, I also love her when she does angst and drama, well I love it all really; she does it all so well!  She was really brilliant in the role, intense and passionate and you could tell she was just loving every minute!  Again Iíll say how thrilling it was to be able to see her in this role, live and up close! 

The last scenes were dramatic and so sad, of course.  A very touching goodbye scene where Marc Antony dies in Cleopatra's arms followed by Kate sitting with her attendants by her side, distraught over the death of Marc Antony, she says a very dramatic goodbye to her ladies, gives them quite a lingering farewell kiss, reaches down into a basket, picks up the asp (not real by the way) and puts it to her breast.  She gasps and dies, with her attendants following suit.  You really felt the affection Cleopatra had for them and they for her.  Very gripping and well done!

While I was there I had the chance to meet up with some other Kate fans from the UK and Germany, which was great fun!  Kate did not come out after the show this night or the night prior as the cast had directorís notes and such.  So, I apologize about the lack of photos.  Luckily, I am going back on closing night so hopefully I'll get to meet Kate and the cast and get some pictures out.  I know there are quite a few Kate fans going and I look forward to everyone's reports and pictures!!

Please forgive this being rather lengthy, but I've been asked to give lots of details so I figured better more than less.  I hope I did it justice!

What an amazing show, I really loved it!  Congratulations to Kate and a heartfelt thanks to Connie for sharing all the pictures and updates with us!!

Antony & Cleopatra Information Page