The Tragedie of Antony, and Cleopatra Ankara, Turkey/ Provincetown, MA / Accra, Ghana

Actors from around the world began work on the uncut Folio text of Shakespeare’s play titled “The Tragedie of Antony, and Cleopatra”  in September 2016. The first printing of the play has no act divisions , but the text divides logically into two halves: there is a recap of the action in Act III, scene 3.

In the spring of 2017 the first half of  “The Tragedie of Antony, and Cleopatra”  was shown in Ankara, Turkey in Turkish and English thanks to Bilkent University.

In September 2017 the first half was shown entirely in English in Provincetown, Massachusetts for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival’s year of Shakespeare and Williams.

In May 2018 the second half of  “The Tragedie of Antony, and Cleopatra” was presented in English and Twi in a first draft at the Folk Theater of the National Theater of Ghana, thanks to Abbigroma, the National Drama Company of Ghana.

Artists involved come from Turkey, Ghana, South Africa, India, Denmark, the U.S., and India. The project is ongoing.

Accra, Ghana. Act V, scene 2
Cæsar. Bravest at the last, She levell’d at our purposes, and being Royall
Tooke her owne way.

Provincetown, Massachusetts. Act II, scene 5.  Everett Quinton as Cleopatra.
Cleopatra:  Is he married? I cannot hate thee worser then I do,
If thou againe say yes.

Ankara, Turkey.   Act I, scene 5.  Mardian, Iras and Charmian, Cleopatra.
Cleopatra: How goes it with my brave Marke Anthonie?
Ankara. Turkey. Act 2, scene 3  [Enter Cæsar, Octavia] South Africa’s Marcel Meyer as Cæsar, Turkey’s Ege Kesmeci as Octavia

Provincetown, MA. Act 2, scene 3  [Enter Cæsar, Octavia] South Africa’s Marcel Meyer as Cæsar, Turkey’s Ege Kesmeci as Octavia

Accra, Ghana. Character studies
Robertson Dean as Antony, prep photo at the Temple of Dendur in New York

Marcel Meyer as Cæsar, prep photo at the Temple of Augustus, Ankara, Turkey
Ghana’s Abena Takyi and Turkey’s Meltem Keskin, both as Cleopatra in Provincetown

 

 

DOÑA ROSITA LUBBOCK, TX & PROVINCETOWN, MA

Lorca’s play about the cruel beauty of passing time, written in 1935.
Set in 1900 Granada, Spain.

Doña Rosita rehearsing in Lubbock, Texas. Left to right: Esperanza Gonzales, Fernando Ramirez, Malāna Wilson, Anna Ruth Aaron-DeSpain.

Below: Malana Wilson rehearsing (Rosita)

Below: Lorca and his sister Isabella in 1914, when Federico was 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From a letter written when Lorca was 18:

Ahead I see many problems. many eyes which will imprison me, many difficulties in the battle between heart and head, and my emotional flowering wants to take possession of its sunlit garden and I make an effort to enjoy playing with the paper dolls and toys of my childhood, and sometimes I lie on my back on the floor and play comadricas with my baby sister (I adore her) . . . but the phantom that lives within us and which hates us pushes me forward. And we have to carry on because it’s our lot to grow old and die, but I don’t want to listen but, never­theless, with each day that passes I have another doubt and another sadness.

[comadricas is a game of imitating the neighbors’ gossip]

The aesthetic is announced in Act II:

AUNT. What did you drop?
HOUSEKEEPER. A thermometer case. Louis Quinze style.
AUNT. May I see it?
HOUSEKEEPER. For Rosita’s Saint’s day.
AUNT. It’s a precious thing.
HOUSEKEEPER,  In the middle of the velvet there’s a fountain made out of real shells. Over the fountain there is a wire arbor with green roses. The water in the basin is a group of blue sequins and the stream of water is the thermometer itself. The puddles around are painted in oil and upon them a nightingale drinks, all embroidered in golden thread. I wanted it to have a spring and wind up and sing, but that could not be.
AUNT. That could not be

1994 notebook page  below,  preparation for a production in Samara, Russia. The theater caught on fire and the production was canceled.

Above, Señor X (Fernando Ramirez), the Housekeeper (Anna Ruth Despain)

Doña Rosita background Lubbock, TX & Provincetown, MA

“Fascinated by the rituals of the Church, Federico soon began to imitate them in his own way….

One of his favorite games was ‘saying Mass’ …In the back yard of the house there was a low wall on which the child placed a statue of the Virgin and some roses cut from the garden. Servants. family, friends—they were all made to sit down in front of the wall while Federico, wrapped in an odd assortment of garments culled from the attic, would ‘say Mass’ with enormous conviction. Before he began he imposed a sole condition: that it was the obligation of the congregation to weep during the sermon .”

from Ian Gibson’s Federeco Garcia Lorca: A Life.

A letter from Garcia to Lorca to Adriano Del Valle y Rossi, May, 1918] [DK note: he was 20. This is how he dates the letter: “May today in
time and October above my head”]

…. in the depths of my being there is a powerful desire to be a little
child. very humble and very retiring. Ahead I see many problems. many
eyes which will imprison me, many difficulties in the battle between
heart and head, and my emotional flowering wants to take possession of
its sunlit garden and I make an effort to enjoy playing with the dolls
and toys of my childhood, and sometimes I lie on my back on the floor
and play comadricas with my baby sister (I adore her)*

[comadricas is a game of imitating the neighbors’ gossip] Below, Lorca at 16 with his sister Isabella

I was loved, happiness was not far away, and seemed to be almost touching me; I went on living in careless ease without trying to understand myself, not knowing what I expected or what I wanted from life, and time went on and on. . . . People passed by me with their love, bright days and warm nights flashed by, the nightingales sang, the hay smelt fragrant, and all this, sweet and overwhelming in remembrance, passed with me as with everyone rapidly, leaving no trace, was not prized, and vanished like mist. . . . Where is it all?  My father is dead, I have grown older; everything that delighted me, caressed me, gave me hope — the patter of the rain, the rolling of the thunder, thoughts of happiness, talk of love — all that has become nothing but a memory, and I see before me a flat desert distance; on the plain not one living soul, and out there on the horizon it is dark and terrible. . . .     [from “A Lady’s Story” by Chekhov]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hay solo tu Mirada para tanto vacio,
solo tu claridad pare no seguir siendo,
solo tu amor para cerrar la sombra                          

 [ Cien sonetos de amor (XC) by Pablo Neruda] [Ay! There is only your face to fill up the vacancy,
Only your clarity pressing back on the whole of my non-being,
Only your love, where the dark of the world closes in]

Three Tall Women Hong Kong 2014

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三個高女人 Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning meditation on aging and identity at the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. Performed in Cantonese.

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:

What do you think, sitting in the audience? Does a brash 26 year old know what life is? Does a self-possessed 52 year-old? Does a failing 92 year-old?

What do you feel, watching in the audience? Is life something to laugh about? To cry about? To cry about while laughing?

Is a son who runs away from home and comes back to be forgiven?
There are as many answers to these questions as there are people in the audience: sitting, watching, listening, thinking, feeling.

This Pulitzer award-winning modern classic, by renowned American playwright Edward Albee, lifts up three tall women – and their audience – on a journey of life and death. Following his distinctive The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, veteran director David Kaplan (大衞•卡柏倫) from the U.S. is invited to return to direct the current production.

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The photo below was taken in performance. The room rose and rotated: the floor became the wall, so that the audience  might consider the comatose body floating in consciousness.

 

To see more photographs from the production