This year Masque Theatre will be taking their audiences back to the ancient worlds of Egypt and Rome, as great armies clash, rivals vie for power, and lovers are torn apart in Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra.
It will be staged at Abington Park Museum Courtyard, Northampton between Thursday July 27 and Saturday August 5 except for Sunday July 30.
The play gives us Cleopatra (Bernie Wood), the clever Queen of Egypt; Octavius Caesar (Ed Toone), the empire builder who made Rome the mightiest power in the world; and Mark Antony (Matt Fell), the great general torn between them.
Is Antony neglecting his duties as one third of the triumvirate that rules the Roman Empire, luxuriating with Cleopatra in sensual abandonment, or is he ready to drop her if duty calls? Is Cleopatra putting Egypt first by staying loyal to Antony, the great general of past campaigns, or would her country be better protected b alliance with Octavius Caesar, the coming man?
Can Octavius trust his old mentor to do the right thing by Rome, or must he divide and conquer? Can the wily and beautiful queen seduce him like she did his adopted father?
Antony & Cleopatra revolves around this political love triangle, with their supporters torn between following their hearts or their heads, being loyal to their leaders or looking after their own interests.
It’s one of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories, with humour, drama, tension and tragedy in ample measure, performed in the open air courtyard of Abington Park Museum.
Unusually for a Shakespeare production, director John Myhill has a cast with equal numbers of women and men following his decision to open male roles to the many talented women in the group, who have risen to the challenge.
If Shakespeare’s original audiences could accept men in women’s roles, even playing Cleopatra, then John is sure
modern audiences can accept cross-dressing the other way.
There will be no performance on Sunday July 30 but there will be performances every evening apart from this one starting at 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £10 each, with concessions at £9, and children under 16 at £6 per ticket, with a family ticket available for
two adults and two children at £28. Tickets are only available on the door from 7pm each night as performances are subject to the weather.