A Noise Within Presents Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra

Feb 10, 2012
A Noise Within

A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre company, showcases the considerable capabilities of its new state-of-the-art Pasadena venue with a towering production of Shakespeare's ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, directed by ANW Producing Artistic Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, with original music by composer Laura Karpman, opening Saturday, March 3 and closing Sunday, May 13, 2012 (previews begin Saturday, February 25). This seminal tragedy is based on larger-than-life figures caught up in an empire-shattering dance of lust, love, politics and war. A "Pay What You Can" date, which allows patrons to purchase tickets for what they can afford, is Thursday, March 1.

Long on the ANW wish list, Antony and Cleopatra was an early choice for A Noise Within's inaugural Pasadena season in the company's permanent new home, according to Elliott and Rodriguez-Elliott. Both history play and sweeping love story, the play is undeniably one of the most challenging works in the Shakespeare canon to bring to the stage. "Until now, we just didn't have the physical capability to give this play, with its many battle scenes and great surround, the grandness it deserves," they note. "The depth of our new theatre has opened up tremendous artistic possibilities."

About the play itself, Rodriguez-Elliott says, "Its appeal is the fascinating relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, who love each other deeply but in a way that is not sustainable. They have a larger than life love affair, which is destructive, exhilarating and, at times, widely satisfying, while they are running countries in turmoil. Because of their flaws, we can identify with the lovers and see a part of ourselves in them."

The cast includes Geoff Elliott (Mark Anthony), Jeanie Hackett (Cleopatra), Max Rosnak (Octavius Caesar), Bill Hunt (Lepidus/Rustic), Christian Rummel (Pompey/Scarus), Ken Merckx (Demetrius/Dercetus), Greg North (Agrippa), Robertson Dean (Enobarbus), Raphael Goldstein (Eros), Nick Crandall (Soothsayer/Thidius), Nathan Turner (Philo/Schoolmaster), Angela Gulnar (Octavia), Steve Weingartner (Menas/Dolabella), Thad Shafer (Proculeius), Jill Hill (Charmian), Diana Gonzalez-Morett (Iras), Amin El Gamal (Mardian), Chris Karbo (Diomedes), Dane Biren (Abused Mess/Seleucus) and Philip Rodriguez (Varrius). Tom Buderwitz is the set designer, and Angela Calin is the costume designer.

To enhance the theatre-going experience, A Noise Within offers comprehensive study guides for every production. Each includes a synopsis, director's notes, general theatre lore, links to other resources and detailed information about the playwright, characters, setting, period, costumes, scenic design, music and more. The Study Guides are available on-line at http://www.anoisewithin.org/education_studyguides.html.

A Noise Within (ANW) is the only year-round classical repertory company in Southern California and one of only a handful in the entire country dedicated solely to producing classical dramatic literature in the repertory tradition of rotating productions with a resident company of professional artists. Led by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, A Noise Within has been hailed by critics as a "premiere classical theatre company," and an "outstanding ensemble" whose "vibrantly theatrical" "brilliant productions" are "freshly imagined," "exceptional," "invigorating," "riveting," "brilliantly atmospheric," "inspired," and "masterfully crafted."

With substantially more space than its previous Glendale venue, A Noise Within's new theatre meets demand for tickets by allowing annual audience capacity to increase from 25,000 to 50,000 people, and the company's highly regarded education program will be able to double to 20,000 the number of students served each year. Together, this allows A Noise Within to expand its role as a leader in the presentation and preservation of classical theatre.

The venue is located in the former Stuart Pharmaceutical building, a historic, mid-century modern masterpiece designed by celebrated architect Edward Durell Stone, known for landmark buildings around the country including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Radio City Music Hall in New York. Constructed in the mid-1950s, the Stuart Pharmaceutical building was listed on the National Register in 1998 and features a striking landscape garden designed by Thomas Church. The completely new three-story theatre - which retains the building's original fa├žade -- features support facilities, offices, rehearsal space, a classroom, considerable storage for costumes, props and scenery and large restrooms. There is plentiful, convenient, free parking in the adjacent Gold Line's Sierra Madre Villa Metro parking structure.