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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh heat up the Stratford stage in Gary Griffin’s Antony and Cleopatra


July 31, 2014… With a string of hit musicals to his credit at Stratford, including 42nd Street, Camelot, Evita and West Side Story, director Gary Griffin returns to the classics in his fifth Festival season with Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

Starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh, the tragic drama begins previews on Sunday, August 3, at Stratford’s Tom Patterson Theatre. The production officially opens on Thursday, August 14.
 
Photo: Don Dixon; Digital Artist Krista Dodson
Antony and Cleopatra has always fascinated me – in part because it’s a challenging play to categorize,” says Mr. Griffin, who is also Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. “It’s so many things: it’s history and it’s comedy and it’s tragedy and it’s romantic.

“I’m drawn to plays about the controllable and the uncontrollable. Antony and Cleopatra explores that dichotomy. It’s about duality and the struggle to embrace it. It’s about struggling with your whole self when the world is demanding that you be just one part of yourself. We’ve tried to approach the play in a spirit of humility and simplicity, allowing us to recognize ourselves as we newly discover this great story.”

Produced only four other times in the Festival’s history, the play follows the relationship of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, and Mark Antony, who, having defeated Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar, is now one of three rulers of the Roman Republic.
Criticized for neglecting his political and military responsibilities – and his wife – as he dallies in Alexandria with Cleopatra, Antony returns to Rome to help crush an incipient rebellion. Once there, his wife having died, he agrees to a political marriage, enraging Cleopatra. But Antony cannot long endure his separation from the bewitching Egyptian queen: when war breaks out, he abandons his new wife and returns to Egypt, a decision that has the most tragic consequences.

The production features Ben Carlson as Octavius Casear and Tom McCamus as Enobarbus.

Within this season’s theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge, Antony and Cleopatra explores the kind of obsessive desire that causes even mature people to lose their judgement.
“In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare explores love and sex among those who some might say are old enough to know better,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “The play contains some of the most beautiful poetry about desire and loyalty. Its characters are icons for the ages. As Enobarbus says of Cleopatra, one might say of this great play: age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.”

Artistic credits for this production include Designer Charlotte Dean, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

Antony and Cleopatra Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including concerts, debates, talks, comedy and interactive presentations, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2014 playbill and its theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Themes related to Antony and Cleopatra will be explored through several Forum events, including: Shakespeare’s History, an exploration of King Lear, King John and Antony and Cleopatra and how their interpretations reveal Shakespeare’s mind; and “Love is merely a madness,” in which Antoni Cimolino and special guests lead a discussion on how romantic love informs many of the plays this season.

Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Foundation. Support for the 2014 Forum is generously provided by Nandita & Julian Wise. Selected Forum events supported by Bell Let’s Talk. Support for Peer Into the Playbill is provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

Antony and Cleopatra runs until September 28. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca.

Production support for Antony and Cleopatra is generously provided by M.E.H. Foundation.

Support for the 2014 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing twice daily until September 21, and once daily from September 23 to October 12. The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, with Tuesday, Friday and Saturday departures until September 28. Both routes run on performance days only.

The Stratford Direct Presenting Sponsor is OLG. Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The 2014 season runs from April 21 to October 12, featuring King Lear; Crazy for You; two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Man of La Mancha; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Hay Fever; King John; Mother Courage and Her Children; Antony and Cleopatra; Christina, The Girl King; and more than 200 events in The Forum.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Mecenas………………………………...       Sean Arbuckle
Eros……………………………………..       Daniel Briere
Octavius Caesar………………………...       Ben Carlson
Cleopatra Attendant……………………       Ijeoma Emesowum
Man from Sicyon……………………….       Ryan Field
Octavia Attendant……………………...       Deidre Gillard-Rowlings
Octavia………………………………….       Carmen Grant
Lepidus………………………………….      Randy Hughson
Agrippa………………………………….      Peter Hutt
Diomedes………………………………..      Andrew Lawrie
Towrus…………………………………..      Jamie Mac
Dolabella, Thidias……………………….      Anthony Malarky
Enobarbus……………………………….      Tom McCamus
Cleopatra………………………………..       Yanna McIntosh
Iras………………………………………      Jennifer Mogbock
Varrius…………………………………..      André Morin
Scarrus…………………………………..      Karack Osborn
Cleopatra Attendant…………………….      Sarena Parmar
Ventidius……………..…………………      Andrew Robinson
Menas, Camidius……………………….       Brad Rudy
Soothsayer………………………………      Stephen Russell
Alexas, Proculeius………………………       E.B. Smith
Pompey, Clown………………………....      Brian Tree
Charmian………………………………..       Sophia Walker
Mark Antony……………………………      Geraint Wyn Davies
Mardian…………………………………       Antoine Yared

Artistic Credits

Director………………………………….      Gary Griffin
Designer…………………………………      Charlotte Dean
Lighting Designer……………………….      Michael Walton
Sound Designer………………………….     Peter McBoyle
Fight Director……………………………     John Stead
Producer…………………………………      David Auster
Casting Director…………………………      Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director………………     Jason Miller
Associate Fight Director…………………     Geoff Scovell
Assistant Director………………………..     Rona Waddington
Assistant Costume Designer……………..     Kimberly Catton
Assistant Lighting Designer……………..     George Quan
Fight Captain…………………………….     Daniel Briere
Stage Manager…………………………...     Ann Stuart
Assistant Stage Managers………………..     Katherine Arcus, Bona Duncan, Jessica Stinson
Production Assistant…………………….      Ian Michael Costello
Production Stage Managers……………...     Margaret Palmer, Janine Ralph
Technical Director……………………….      Sean Hirtle

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Stratford Festival 55 Queen Street PO Box 520 Stratford ON | N5A 6V2
Box Office: Toll Free 1.800.567.1600 Local 519.273.1600
stratfordfestival.ca

2014 Season | April 21 to October 12
King Lear | Crazy for You | A Midsummer Night’s Dream | The Beaux’ Stratagem
Man of La Mancha | Alice Through the Looking-Glass | Hay Fever | King John
Mother Courage and Her Children | Antony and Cleopatra | Christina, The Girl King
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a chamber play

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