Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Uhura and Chekov in Antony and Cleopatra?

Anthony and Cleopatra. Dir. Lawrence Carra. Perf. James Avery, Sharon Barr, Michael Billington, Timothy Dalton, Lynn Redgrave, John Carradine,  Walter Koenig, and Nichelle Nichols. 1983. DVD. Bard Productions / Century Home Video, 2012.

The claim "Shakespeare is ubiquitous in the Star Trek universe(s)" can be readily established by my "Shakespeare and Star Trek Complete collection (for which, q.v.). But what about actors from Star Trek who went on to play roles in Shakespeare productions? Yes, I mean besides William Shatner and his Julius Caesar rap (for which, q.v.).

Walter Koenig, who played Checkov, and Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, performed in a 1983 television production of Antony and Cleopatra. Here, I must apologize if the title of this post turns out to have been disingenuous. They didn't play the title characters; those roles were left to Timothy Dalton and Lynn Redgrave. Nichols played Charmian, and Koenig was Pompey.

Here's Act I, scene ii, which gives us Charmian at her most playful—though Nichols does give some depth to the character:

I've let the scene run to Cleopatra's entrance so that you can get a glimpse of her and also so that you can see the effect of the interesting "Hush, here comes Antony" . . . "Not he, the queen" (I.ii.79) exchange.

The other scene is Act II, scene i. Despite a small miscue (he jumps on one of his lines too early), Koenig does a fair job with the part and the lines:

The one critique I have is that he seems to be doing Pompey with a slight Russian accent. I suppose old habits die hard.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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