Principal Casting Announced for World Premiere of SHAKESPEARE'S ANTONY & CLEOPATRA: UNDONE

June 16
6:46 PM 2014

The title roles of the ancient world's best-remembered celebrity couples will be played by James Sparling and Shawna Tucker in the world premiere Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra: UNDONE, a four-character adaptation of Shakespeare's classic masterpiece. Presented by Skyline StageWorks, the dissembled and rebuilt version will allow a more complete psychological exploration of the twin protagonists. By giving the politics less stage time, there will be a tighter focus on the humor, humanity, and allure of the characters. Skyline StageWorks is a new Chicago theatre company devoted to connecting exceptional artists with classic stories in intimate, immediate, and bold stagings. The production will be directed by John Arthur Lewis and will run from Sept 5th to Oct 5th, 2014 at the Side Project, 1439 W. Jarvis, with performances taking place Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets will go on sale July 15th at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Widely acknowledged as one of Shakespeare's subtlest and greatest plays, Antony and Cleopatra has had a limited production history due to the scope of the play and number of characters. In this brisk, eighty-minute version, the sublime erotic poetry of the original, and the intimate playing area will foster a more palpable sensuality and closer connection between audience and characters than a production in a larger space."It's like a gourmet cupcake," says playwright Tucker, "the sensational taste of the multi-layered wedding cake, but just enough to satisfy."

Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra: UNDONE was developed in Atlanta by Patricia Henritze and Tucker as part of the "Shakespeare for Small Stages Project," aimed to design productions of the classics for theaters with the passion, but not the budget for the more sprawling plays. This adaptation won a place in the Ethel Woolson Lab reading series presented by Working Title Playwrights in December 2010, and received a public staged reading in Decatur, Georgia.

James Sparling (Antony) is a British actor and director who has studied and performed in London and Chicago. Recent Chicago stage appearances include Paradise Lost with The Agency, Dinner with Friends at Rebekah Theatre Project, and Rossom's Universal Robots for Strangeloop. In England, he has appeared in Hamlet, Not About Heroes, and Macbeth. James has also directed productions in London, Durham, Frankfurt and Chicago including Othello, The Gin Game, Catch 22 and Cabaret.

Shawna Tucker (Cleopatra) appeared in The Side Project's Elsewhere, and Black Fox's The Nerd. Other recent Chicago stage work includes Raven's Tales of the Twinkling Twilight, Otherworld Theatre's Fahrenheit 45, City Lit Theater's Macbeth, Dashiell Hamlet, and Thin Man. She has also appeared with Promethean, Cold Basement Dramatics, 20%, New Millennium, Commedia Beauregard, and less recently, St. Nicholas, Actor's Repertory Company, and Wisdom Bridge. In the interim, she has lived and worked in Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Washington D.C. area. Her adaptations have been produced at theaters in St. Louis MO, Atlanta GA, and Jonesboro GA.

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