by William Shakespeare
Translation by: Dragi Mihajlovski
Directed and adapted by: John Blondell
Dramaturgue: Biljana Krajchevska
Assistant director: Jovan Ristoski
Scenography by: Valentin Svetozarev
Costume design by: Blagoj Micevski
Choreography: Risima Risimkin
Original score: Miodrag Nekjak
Lighting by: Ilija Dimovski
Stage manager: Mitko Ivanovski
Prompter: Zorka Gjakovska
Premiere: 22nd July 2015
Antony (Roman triumvir): Petar Gorko
Octavius Caesar (Roman triumvir): Marjan Gjorgievski
Lepidus (Roman triumvir), Soothsayer, Eros (friend of Atony): Borche Gjakovski
Domitius Enobarbus (friend of Antony): Viktorija Stepanovska
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt: Valentina Gramosli
Octavia – Caesar’s sister, Messenger, Soldier, Diomedes (attendant on Cleopatra), Clown: Elena Moshe
Charmian – maid of honor of Cleopatra: Sonja Mihajlovska
Iras – maid of honor of Cleopatra, Messenger, Thidias (friend of Caesar), Soldier, Alexas and Mardian (eunuchs): Petar Spirkovski
Shakespeare’s great historical tragedy was written in 1606 – the final play of an astounding quartet of tragedies, preceded by Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Many (me included) would consider Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare’s most difficult play, and his sublime artistic achievement. It stretches the limits of the stage to their breaking point, presents a sweep of action and situation unparalleled in Shakespeare and most drama, and depicts characters that are incredibly complex, richly nuanced, and constantly contradictory. Antony and Cleopatra shows the intoxicating affects of Power and Desire, and chronicles the seismic shifts that occurred in much of the civilized world in the waning years of the final millennium BCE. It is also Shakespeare’s highest achievement in terms of verbal poetry. As English scholar G. Wilson Knight says, “in such poetry, we are less aware of any surface than of a turbulent power, a heave and swell, from deeps beyond verbal definition; and as, the thing progresses, a gathering of power, a ninth wave of passion, an increase in tempo and intensity.” This production seeks to harness the play’s turbulent power and create waves of passion that grow and swell and break over an audience. I am deeply honored to direct the first production of this play in the Macedonian language, in a rich new translation by the incomparable Dragi Mihajlovski, and thrilled to collaborate with the tremendous artists of the Bitola National Theatre.
John Blondell, director
Significant people, crucial thoughts, crucial acts, crucial emotions.
A world of passion and fate.
A world where lives and countries are commonly and easily lost, positions changed, wives, husbands and lovers left, friends betrayed and reign desired. Yes, after a while, all of that will be trivialized, will be worn off or the one will dissolve into the other. But at the bottom of the heart that feeling still remains: what’s that that’s really true? Did love have the power of change?
John Blondell’s Antony and Cleopatra is a performance of transformations. One tempting aesthetic concept: the first part of the play is comedy, while the second part transforms into a tragedy.
It captures the play’s cinematic rhythm as one scene dissolves the next, and also its dreamlike quality, with characters becoming someone different – a different character, as they gradually approach their own devastation.
The resulting stage pictures (choreography, costumes, scenography and music) have a strong dramatic force.
Reading Shakespeare, directing Shakespeare, playing and watching is a philosophy of life.
Biljana Krajchevska, dramaturge