The reviewer above is delighted at the simplicity of Robert Atkins’s 1945 production of Antony and Cleopatra. Here, he is relieved to note, are none of the extravagant scene changes that, during the previous century, had broken the smooth transition from one fictional location to another that the play suggests. But this is not the only thing that pleases. The reviewer is also happy not to be distracted by any ‘struggling with ropes’. A struggle, however, is something that the text itself appears to require. As Cleopatra remarks herself, a smooth transition from ground to monument, one that would permit the smooth delivery of a good speech, would be possible were she a goddess. But the queen and her attendants — and the young men that would have played them in Shakespeare’s theatre — are only foolish, wishing humans; to dispense with the struggle with ropes here would seem to necessitate dispensing with the speech.
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