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How Shakespeare Is Bringing Together U.S., U.K. Talent At GableStage

George Schiavone

When Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” goes up at Miami’s GableStage in January, audiences will be watching the work of three great theater companies instead of just one.

They'll also see a ravishing Haitian ruler defending her homeland against French colonizers, not an Egyptian queen squaring off against her Roman conquerors.

The production, directed by Miami-native Tarell Alvin McCraney is an international collaboration between GableStage, New York City’s Public Theater and England’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

McCraney, who was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship(commonly referred to as a "genius grant”), has set the play in the late 18th Century against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French.

Joseph Adler, GableStage's producing artistic director, describes the project as a transformative event for local theater. “We think it’s a huge step forward in helping the evolution of South Florida as a major cultural destination.”

Credit Claudia H. Munoz

The production will play in Stratford-upon-Avon at the RSC’s Swan Theater for three weeks in November, before traveling to the United States.

For the South Florida run, GableStage chose Miami Beach’s 400-seat Colony Theater over its own 150-seat, year-round space at the Biltmore Hotel. Thousands of local schoolchildren will get to see the show for free during the day.

The show then moves on to a limited run at The Public’s Anspacher Theater in New York City.

The play was cast in both the United States and the United Kingdom and features five actors from each country. An exchange program between the American actors’ union and its U.K. counterpart enables the British actors to work in the U.S. and vice versa.

The adaptation of “Antony and Cleopatra” isn’t the first time McCraney has radically re-imagined a Shakespeare play for South Florida audiences. In January, GableStage produced McCraney’s scaled-down version of “Hamlet,” which ran 90 minutes without an intermission.

Dates For “Antony and Cleopatra”

The Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon

November 7 - 30, 2013

GableStage at The Colony Theater in Miami Beach

January 11 - February 9, 2014

(Special student performances begin January 9th.)

The Public at the Anspacher Theater in New York

February 18 - March 23, 2014

Christine DiMattei is WLRN's Morning Edition anchor and also reports on Arts & Culture.
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