“Antony and Cleopatra” by William Shakespeare: a love story written on a battlefield

“Antony and Cleopatra” by William Shakespeare is to be discovered at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris.

“Antony and Cleopatra”

Of william Shakespeare

Translation: Irene Bonnaud

Duration: 3.45 (2h, break 0.25, 1.25)

Staging: Celie Pauthe

With: Guillaume Costanza, Maud Gripon, Dea Liane, Lalou Wysocka, Régis Lux, Glenn Marausse, Eugène Marcuse, Mounir Margoum, Mahshad Mokhberi, Mélodie Richard, Adrien Serre, Lounès Tazaïrt, Assane Timbo, Bénédicte Vilain


Odeon Theater of Europe – Berthier Ateliers

1 rue André Suares

75017 PARIS

01 44 85 40 40


Until June 3, Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Sunday at 3pm.

Our recommendation: EXCELLENT


Antony and Cleopatra tell a story of mad love between the two lovers formed by the Roman general and the Egyptian queen and, through their story, the turning point in history when East and West could become one.

Two relationships with the world face each other:

– Antoine and Cleopatra, whose alliance is made of profit, erotic passion and flamboyant narcissism.

– Octave, future Emperor Augustus, who wants to bring order, moderation and stability to a united world


Célie Plauthe had already staged Bérénice at the Berthier workshops by bringing her Racine vision of an East and a West that merged into the same world, where borders would be abolished and would merge into the same original, inseparable hybridity.

On the same theme, it is based on a new translation by Irène Bonnaud, on which she has collaborated. The text, which is resolutely topical, gives us an accessible, even well-known work, which emphasizes its sensuality and modernity. To Shakespeare’s original text, Célie Plauthe adds poems by Constantin Cavafys and excerpts from the opera about Antoine and Cleopatra composed by the great Mohamed Abdel Wahab, which places the Arabic language at the heart of the play.

There is undeniably an effecttroop “in the distribution and the links that unite the characters (the actor who plays Aenobarbus returns, after his death, in Dolabella, for whom he could be a ghost), and the actors (Dea Liane alternately plays the roles of Cleopatra and his servant Charmian) The thirteen actors interpret the play’s thirty roles: “it is in this play about distribution and duplication of roles that lies the work’s deep finesse, its inherent corality, and I would even say its evil,” explains Célie Plauthe.

Love and politics respond to and complement each other without ever excluding each other. Their romantic relationships and geopolitical and warlike issues are intertwined: These two stories are an integral part of each other. They are expressed in the same exaggeration, a kind of twilight of the gods, which marks the end of an era and the emergence of a new world, which is largely still ours.


3 hours 45, it is sometimes a bit long (but never boring), especially since the second part is less rhythmic, centered around the torments and the death of the two loved ones.


Antoine et Cléopâtre has rarely been performed in France, except by Stuart Seide in 2015, or Tiago Rodrigues in 2017.The latter had concentrated the story around the two lovers to make it a very choreographed courtship, behind whichpolitical and warlike dimensions were being erased.

Yet the actium maritime victory (September 2, 31 BC), when Octave defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet, marked the death of the republic and the beginning of the pax romana: power was centralized and the provinces of the East, Egypt at the helm, go under the direct administration of Rome.



“I dreamed there was an emperor, Antoine.

Oh another sleep like this I can see

Another man like him! »


Cleopatra: Her face was like heaven and locked inside it,

A sun, a moon, in their course, illuminated

This little O, the earth “

Dolabella: Most sovereign being …


Her legs stretched across the sea; his arm raised

Was the top of the world. Her voice was reminiscent of harmony

Sky spheres if he talked to friends;

But when he wanted to scare and shake the globe,

It sounded like the thunder of thunder. As for his kindness,

She knew no winter; it was an eternal autumn

whose fruits grew as they ripened. His pleasures

Like the dolphins that show off their backs in jumping,

Above the element where they live. Among his servants

Wandering kings, princes; islands, kingdoms,

It seemed as if silver coins were falling from his pocket.

Dolabella: Cleopatra …


Do you believe there was or could be a man

Like the one I dreamed of? »


William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is one of the giants of universal literature. Playwright, troupe, actor, poet, he is credited with 38 plays, in about twenty-three years of feverish activity, not including his sonnets and his lyrical or narrative poems.

In the 19th century, his plays were divided into three periods: the first, mainly characterized by comedies, light and happy; the other, a dark period of tragedy, and which would correspond to a deep personal disorder; the third, romantic play that reaffirms order and light at the end of conflicts and disasters. Antony and Cleopatra rank among historical tragedies. It was first built in 1606 or 1608 and published in 1623.

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