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Summer Festival - Caesar and Cleopatra

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 at 7:30pm

American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse
10 S Market St
Staunton, VA 24401

Caesar and Cleopatra

By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Eric Tucker

He who has never hoped can never despair.

A wily old general mentors a fiery young queen in the finer points of state-craft.

Before the Play

-Egyptian King Ptolemy XII Auletes of Egypt is exiled due to his silence over the Roman annexation of Cyprus (which had been Egyptian territory). His daughter Berenice takes the throne.
-Romans, including Mark Antony,go to Egypt to help restore Ptolemy XII Auletes to the throne. Berenice and her supporters are executed.
-Ptolemy XII Auletes dies; Cleopatra and her brother-husband Ptolemy XIII are named his co-heirs and begin to rule.
-Tensions arise between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII; Cleopatra flees to Syria to raise an army.
-Cleopatra returns to Egypt.

During the Play

-Arriving in Egypt, Julius Caesar speaks to a statue of a Sphinx in the desert. When it begins to speak back, he discovers a young woman sleeping between its paws. The girl quickly reveals herself to be Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
-Not realizing who she is speaking to, Cleopatra confesses her fear of the Romans. Caesar tells her that she must be brave.
-Caesar escorts Cleopatra back to her palace. Despite her fear, she attempts to be regal. The arrival of the Roman troops reveal to Cleopatra whose company she has been keeping.
-In Alexandria, the young king Ptolemy Dionysus attempts to assert his right to the throne.
-Caesar arrives to collect Egypt’s tribute from Ptolemy. Caesar is inflexible in the face of negotiation, but offers to settle the succession dispute between Ptolemy and Cleopatra.
-As tensions rise, Caesar and the Roman army preemptively take over the palace. A siege is imminent.
-Cleopatra reminisces about Mark Antony, who came to Egypt to help restore her father to the throne.  Caesar reveals that it was he who sent Antony to Egypt and promises to send him back.
-Battle breaks out. In its midst, the library of Alexandria is set ablaze. Cleopatra dresses Caesar for battle, and Caesar departs to seize the island of Pharos.
-A surprise visitor, a daring escape, a long siege, political machinations, and more ensue.

After the Play

-William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, part of ASC’s 2019 Summer: Festival Season.
-William Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, part of ASC’s 2019 Summer: Festival Season.

Contains some adult content. ASC welcomes children age 7+

Runs approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes

Additional Dates:

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