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Reviewed by:
  • Hamlet, and: The Merry Wives of Windsor, and: Antony and Cleopatra
  • Todd M. Lidh
Hamlet Presented by the Utah Shakespearean Festival at the Adams Shakespearean Theatre and the Randall L. Jones Theatre, Cedar City, Utah. June 22�September 2, 2006. Directed by J.R. Sullivan. Set by Christopher Pickart. Costumes by Bill Black. Lighting by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz. Sound by Joe Payne. Compositions by Christine Frezza. Voice, speech and dialect by Philip Thompson. Dramaturgy by Michael Flachmann. Fights by Robin McFarquhar. Choreography by Kirsten Sham. With Brian Vaughn (Hamlet), Bill Christ (Claudius), Leslie Brott (Gertrude), John-Patrick Driscoll (Horatio), Kieran Connolly (Polonius), Emily Trask (Ophelia), and Ashley Smith (Laertes).
The Merry Wives of Windsor Presented by the Utah Shakespearean Festival at the Adams Shakespearean Theatre and the Randall L. Jones Theatre, Cedar City, Utah. June 22�September 2, 2006. Directed by Kate Buckley. Set by Christopher Pickart. Costumes by Janet Swenson. Lighting by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz. Sound by Joe Payne. Voice, speech and dialect by Philip Thompson. Dramaturgy by Michael Flachmann. Fights by Robin McFarquhar. Choreography by Kirsten Sham. With Leslie Brott (Mistress Ford), Victoria Adams-Zischke (Mistress Page), Kieran Connolly (Falstaff), A. Bryan Humphrey (Master Ford), Mark Light-Orr (Master Page), and Jacqueline Antaramian (Mistress Quickly).
Antony and Cleopatra Presented by the Utah Shakespearean Festival at the Adams Shakespearean Theatre and the Randall L. Jones Theatre, Cedar City, Utah. June 22�September 2, 2006. Directed by Nagle Jackson. Set by Christopher Pickart. Costumes by David Kay Mickelsen. Lighting by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz. Sound by Joe Payne. Compositions by Christine Frezza. Voice, speech and dialect by Philip Thompson. Dramaturgy by Michael Flachmann. Fights by Robin McFarquhar. With Bill Christ (Antony), Jacqueline Antaramian (Cleopatra), Michael Brusasco (Octavius), Dan Kremer (Enobarbus), Dan Frezza (Lepidus), Leslie Brott (Charmian), Afton Quast (Iras), and Corliss Preston (Octavia).

The Utah Shakespearean Festival's 2006 season showcased a tour de force production of Hamlet, starring Brian Vaughn and directed by Jim Sullivan; a Merry Wives of Windsor with delightful extra-textual moments; and an Antony and Cleopatra that was tragic for many reasons, most of them not related to the script itself. For audiences, this range of shows [End Page 126] offered powerful moments of pathos as well as enervated moments of tedium: a hit-or-miss season, but the hits more than made up for the misses.


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Figure 1.

George E. Kelley as Agrippa, Michael Reed as Maecenas, Corliss Preston as Octavia and Michael Brusasco as Octavius Caesar in the Utah Shakespearean Festival's 2006 production of Antony and Cleopatra. Photo by Karl Hugh.

Let me begin with the weakest of the three productions, Antony and Cleopatra. The show lumbered from scene to scene without building much of anything that could be mistaken for dramatic or tragic tension; it was largely uninteresting, unimaginative, and unoriginal. Typical of the production, Egypt was distinguished from Rome merely by a rolling platform thrust onto the stage and then withdrawn again just as plainly. Antony's Romans were costumed in earth-toned loungewear (one audience member thought "pajamas") while Octavius's Romans wore silver breastplates and brightly-colored amicti and tunica—colorful, certainly, but pedestrian costuming for Romans and an odd "traditional" counterpoint to the casual clothing of Antony's Romans.

While originality is not necessary for enjoyable Shakespearean theatre, one does want a lead actor to inhabit his role with passion and emotion. Bill Christ, despite an impressive resume, failed to articulate his Antony as anyone worth caring about, either as a leader or a lover. Frequently difficult to hear and understand, he was still more disappointing in his [End Page 127] flat, soporific characterization of the co-ruler of the Roman Empire. Had the surrounding cast been strong, such a deficiency might have been overcome; however, while Jacqueline Antaramian (Cleopatra), Michael Brusasco (Octavius), Leslie Brott (Charmian), Afton Quast (Iras), and others were acceptable, none were given the kind of direction that would have allowed them to do more than walk through their roles.

Certainly, the directing by Nagle Jackson lies at the heart of this uninspired production. Scenes between Antony and Cleopatra which should have crackled with energy—either...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 126-133
Launched on MUSE
2007-04-12
Open Access
No
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