Dress Like an Egyptian

28 Apr

Last night I saw a production of Antony & Cleopatra.  Costumes for this play always entertain me.  The show is clearly set at a certain time in history, and it can’t really be taken out of it.  Therefore designing the costumes is both limiting and boundless- has to look Egyptian-esque, but why not add some modern sex appeal?  It’s amazing how much my opinion about each production I see of Antony & Cleopatra is based on their costumes.  And without fail, the costumes always look like they belong to the decade they were made.

For instance:

Jane Cowl as Cleopatra, Lyceum Theatre 1924

Judi Dench as Cleopatra, Royal National Theatre, London 1987

Greg Wood and Lauren Lovett as Antony and Cleopatra, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival 2009

Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman as Cleopatra and Antony, Royal National Theatre, London 1998

Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh as Antony and Cleopatra, Ziegfeld Theatre, New York 1951

Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter as Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon 2006

The films use a slightly different script, but the costumes are at a whole new (rich) level.

Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra, Cleopatra, Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, 1934

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, Directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, 1963

For an idea of what Cleopatra actually wore, check out The Cleopatra Costume on Stage and in Film.

One Response to “Dress Like an Egyptian”

  1. JoBiv April 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    That site is da coolest! Love this post, Louise.

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