The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced an international collaboration today between Miami's GableStage and the Royal Shakespeare Company to present Tarell Alvin McCraney's radical new staging of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. Directed and edited by McCraney, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford-upon-Avon home in November 2013 before coming to the United States to play at Miami's GableStage at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in January 2014 followed by The Public Theater in late January 2014.
McCraney is an artistic associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company and as part of his RSC residency in 2010 he was asked to create a radical new edit of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. He responded to the challenge by stripping down the text, reordering the scene structure and relocating the play. A Miami native, McCraney premiered his critically acclaimed plays The Brothers Size and The Brother/Sister Plays at The Public Theater in 2007 and 2009.
The cast for this new production of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will be a mix of actors from the UK and the U.S., and will be set in the late 1700s against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French, bringing to light vivid historical parallels with the story of Antony and Cleopatra. Casting will take place in London, New York and Miami for the show. (The actors will be appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity).
"Taking this equal parts tragedy equal parts history and setting it in the budding racial politics of the New World, a history ripe with pirating and battles over loyalty, we heighten the forbidden and passionate love affair between the conqueror, Antony, and colonized, Cleopatra," said Tarell Alvin McCraney.
"This is a thrilling partnership of theaters, who have come together to support one of America's most exciting young artists as he takes on one of Shakespeare's most powerful plays," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "We know we will be working with Tarell for many years to come and we hope to continue to collaborate with our British colleagues in the RSC deep into the future; and we are delighted to welcome GableStage and Miami into our artistic lives. This is a partnership created for all the right reasons, and we expect wonderful results."
"I am delighted that we are able to continue our collaborations with some of the most exciting theatre makers in the U.S. and follow the U.S. openings of Julius Caesar and Matilda The Musical in spring 2013 with this new co-production of Tarell's Antony and Cleopatra with GableStage and The Public Theater," said RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. "Tarell was an inspirational writer in residence with us and I'm so pleased that we are able to work with him and such great American theatre companies on a new project, presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University, who've recently become our presenting partner in the U.S. I hope audiences on both sides of the Atlantic will enjoy this radical relook at a familiar story."
"GableStage is genuinely thrilled to be involved in a collaboration with two of the leading presenters of Shakespeare's plays in the world. With Miami's own Tarell Alvin McCraney at the helm, providing an innovative and exciting edit of Antony and Cleopatra, we believe this project will be a transformative event for South Florida Theatre," said Joseph Adler, GableStage Producing Artistic Director. "We are especially pleased that, in addition to performances for our subscribers and single-ticket buyers, we will be doing 10 special morning performances, enabling almost 20,000 Miami-Dade County Public School students to see this production free of charge."