Thursday, February 15, 2007

Antony and Cleopatra

I went to see the excellent RSC production of Antony & Cleopatra at the Novello theatre on Tuesday with Patrick Stewart playing a fine Antony. What makes it a good rather than a great play? The high comic element with the witty Enobarbus, the mood swings of Cleopatra (which must have been all the more amusing in Shakespeare's time with a man playing the part) and the farcical parts of the soothsayer and the asp (or "the worm" as it's called) carrier all mitigate the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers. Antony and Cleo are quite happy to betray each other for political ends with a cynicism which is missing in the teenagers Romeo and Juliet. One possible lesson from the play is that singularity of purpose, in this case of Octavian, is superior to split motives, those of Antony who still wants political power but who is also in thrall to Cleopatra. Nevertheless the play contains some brilliant lines including "Age shall not wither her, nor custom stale her infinite varieties" and the scene of Cleopatra's dismay when she hears that Antony has married Octavian's sister behind her back is brilliant.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have moved up to be the Number 1 in the list on Google when the term 'Winchester Whisperer' is typed in!!

This must mean that the number of other sites/blogs linking through to you is the highest of any sites with 'Winchester Whisperer' in them.

So your plan for world domination is starting to come together. Not long before the Digital Telegraph are quaking in their virtual boots or knocking on your virtual door with a virtual brown envelope !!

10:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, what an exciting life you lead, and you do move in the most rarified circles. Oh, hang on. Sorry, I didn't realise there wasn't a full stop after 'Patrick Stewart'. Bringing a bit of 'low culture' balance back to the equation, this does remind me of travelling to school on the bus in the countryside many moons ago. It was always listening to Radio 1. FAB!

The particular song it reminds me of is 'Bang! Bang!' by that amazing Scotsman B.A. Robertson.

'Tony and Cleo struck out for a freeo down Egypt's way.
But Caesar had squeezed her in Rome on his quilt for a day, well hey hey..'.

I must admit I was a quite a naive and innocent schoolboy, and I had no idea what a 'freeo' was, and thought they were singing 'trio' [something musical] or a 'threeo' [possibly racy, but still nothing that would have got them 'banned from the Beeb' in a Frankie style].

Although I notice that some 'lyric finders' on the internet think they struck out for 'the freedom'. Hmm.
Not quite as exciting. But it does make me think of some other great 'misheard lyrics'.

For example I always thought that 'Chumbawumba' were singing 'I got no time..[for what]' instead of 'I get knocked down, but I get up again..'

And rather bizarrely I thought the 'Stones' weren't singing 'Start me up..' but 'Well it's obvious..!'.

Hmm.. although I think sometimes these are done deliberately by the artist, like John Lennon in the song 'Daytripper'. Whatever Paul may be singing, John is certainly not describing the lady concerned as a 'big' teaser...

So my hearing has never been perfect, but it just means I have had time to adjust to saying the 'old codger' phrase - 'Can we go somewhere quieter ?..I can't hear myself think !' to which the reply is invariably, 'Yes, of course you can have another drink, same again?'

11:14 am  
Blogger Whispering Walls said...

At least the switch to Google's finally worked - there were problems yesterday

2:18 pm  
Blogger kinglear said...

Yes it was very well done. But as you say, singularity of purpose (means principle) as opposed to vacilation & lies( means NuLabour and Bliar) will win the day.

10:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now rather disappointed to hear that apparently Antony and Cleopatra weren't quite as attractive as the historians [well, okay, the film makers] would have us believe.

Though whether any girl looks her best when hammered onto a coin, is one best left to ponder..

11:01 pm  

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