‘Antony and Cleopatra’ reign at Hofstra
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“An extraordinary woman who ruled Egypt for 21 years, Cleopatra had as her lovers two of the greatest and most famous men in the ancient world, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She was also the first Ptolemy – the ruling family for more than 300 years in Egypt and direct descendants of Alexander the Great – who spoke the Egyptian language, actively participated in Egyptian religious rituals, and was a major supplier of food, perfume, and military support to the Roman Empire. History, art and literature have all shown that it is impossible to ignore this woman who stood toe to toe with the greatest men of her time. She and Antony commit suicide within 12 days of each other, which affected the course of history. It’s that kind of historical moment that Shakespeare is dramatizing,” Dr. Kolb said.
Hofstra’s production is performed in authentic period costume in Elizabethan style, which means staged on a neutral space with extensive drapery. Dynamic lighting sets the tone for the various locales depicted within the play. Both costumes and set design are guided by Hofstra students, who devoted significant time and effort to ensuring that it all is historically accurate. “Cleopatra was a woman of vanity and wears many different costumes,” Dr. Kolb said. “Our costume designer, senior Samantha Newby, did a tremendous amount of research to make sure that everything was accurately represented.”
For all the students involved, the Shakespeare Festival is an opportunity to translate what they are learning in the classroom into a full-fledged theatrical experience. Merrick’s James Crichton, one of the many young actors eager to make his mark in show business, appears in this production as Philo and several messengers. The senior Theatre Arts major is in his third year performing in the festival.