Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Antony & Cleopatra: Mini-Review

Warning--spoilers ahead for anyone completely unfamiliar with the story of Cleopatra.

It hardly seems like the done thing to do a "mini" review of Shakespeare. Especially having an English major pedigree. But honest-to-goodness, I just don't have a lot to say. Dear old Will took events that should have covered years (travel from Rome to Egypt and back again) and crunches the action down so it seems that only days have passed. We've got celebrity star-crossed lovers in Cleo and Tony and even though they're older than Romeo & Juliet they get to suffer the same fate.  Lots of passion. Lots of politics. Lots of Cleo being haughty and vain and jealous of Tony's first and (especially) second wife. She won't calm down until her messenger assures her that Octavia (wife #2) is short, homely and suffers from continual bad hair days. Antony winds up in battle because politics. Antony alternately adores Cleo, then suspects she has betrayed him and then, when he thinks she's dead, tries to kill himself because he loved her. But wait! She isn't dead and he manages to get himself to her in time to die in her arms. Cleo is captured and kills herself with an asp (I don't count that as a spoiler...pretty much everybody knows that). Lots of other people kill themselves and some die of broken hearts for one reason or another. Octavius (one of the players in that politics thing going on) gets to be the Roman Emperor. The end. 

I've pretty much decided that at my time of life I'd rather go see a play than read it. I've read several plays over the last few years for various challenges and I just don't enjoy reading drama the way I used to. I'm pretty sure I would like this one a whole lot better staged. We'll give it ★★ because it's Shakespeare and important and I'm quite sure it has a lot more to say than what I was hearing on this reading.


fredamans said...

I'm not big on reading plays either. Great review!
Congratulations on getting past the 100 mark!

Anonymous said...

I am very happy to read a play if the odds of ever seeing a staged production seem low, but in this case it's not really a problem, so fair enough Bev!