Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blog 650!!!! Timothy Dalton Week: Antony and Cleopatra

I bid you all greetings and welcome to the return of Timothy Dalton Week. First off I would like to apologize for my lack of a write-up yesterday. My computer was infected with a Trojan (virus, not an ancient warrior nor a condom) and it took 5 hours for me to figure out what the bloody, bloody hell was wrong with it. By that time, I didn't even want to look at my screen much less view a film and give a comprehensive review on it. Today however is another day and we shall tackle a play adaptation, with the notion of a live play performance of an ancient love story that deals with honor, duty, love and betrayal. This is Antony and Cleopatra.

Your beard doth tickle.

Penned by William Shakespeare, this particular play has no such thing as a bit part in it. It is all encompassing and filled with drama, tragedy and good cheer. Our gentleman Timothy Dalton has the role of Marc Antony and an odd choice is Lynn Redgrave (The Bad Seed, My Two Loves, Chicken Soup, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, My Kingdom and Me, Eloise) to portray the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra. This is a live performance taped in 1983 from The Royal Shakespeare Company this body of work challenges the whole cast but especially Dalton and Redgrave going from ranging emotions to the complexity of the dilemma they are both in. With the love of General Marc Antony to Queen Cleopatra, as he ignores his duties to Rome smitten by her beauty, charm and wit, she is promised to Octavius Caesar (Anthony Geary of General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, UHF and Fish Tank) the Empire is in dire straights with the Triumvir losing face with the Senate, Antony is called back to Rome to raise awareness that all is in hand and the united leaders have the Empire fully under control.

Is this Shakespeare or a Pinter play? Tempo, dammit!!!

Meanwhile, Sextus Pompey (Walter Koeing of Star Trek, Moontrap, Star Trek: Generations and Babylon 5) plots and schemes to rid himself of the triumvir and proclaim himself emperor while Antony must wed Octavious' sister Octavia (Sharon Barr of Bad Georgia Road, The Dirtiest Show in Town, Nuts, Dark Holiday and Trauma) as a sign of good faith to Octavious and make their households closer together.

Antony speaks with a local soothsayer (John Carradine of Stagecoach, The Unearthly, Kung Fu, The House of Seven Corpses, The Shootist, Shock Waves and Nocturna) who foresees a terrible fate where Antony would go against Caesar... you know by staring out goat liver and entrails. Got me on that one, it just sounds messy and probably smells worse.

With plot and counter-plot running course, each main character are at their wit's end which could ultimately lead to the downfall of the Roman Empire and the Egyptian Dynasty in total war.

Okay a few observations at this time. Historians have LONG since established given Egypt resides in Africa could we possibly get a leading lady of say a skin color a few shades darker than white??? HMMM???!!! Moving on, character actor Earl Boen (The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island, Black & White, The West Wing and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty) blew me away as Lepidus caught between the middle of two power hungry men as he watches the triumvir collapse and is helpless to stop it.

Also, Walter Koeing is a far better actor than the Star Trek show or films would exhibit. I saw some of this as Bestor in Babylon 5 but as Pompey he blows you out of the water. Dalton's presence in this play is not merely heard but felt. This is one of those meat and potato roles that comes once in a lifetime and I felt he nailed it. I thought he captured the essence of Marc Antony and did this historic figure justice.

If you are unable to see the live play in your town and neighboring one, I would recommend this as an excellent example of one of the more complex plays by the immortal bard.

We demand surrender of all nuclear wessels at once!