image001 (3)One of literature’s greatest epic love stories and struggle for world domination is distilled into a brisk, eighty-minute thrill ride of passion, power plays, deception, and death. Skyline StageWorks announces its inaugural production, the world premiere of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra: UNDONE opening Sept 5th at the Side Project space. Shakespeare’s original script has been dissembled and rebuilt into a stand-alone version to allow a more intimate psychological exploration of the twin protagonists. Selected highlights of the play’s poetry encapsulate the humor, humanity, and allure of these quasi-mythological characters.

Skyline StageWorks is a new Chicago theatre company devoted to connecting exceptional artists with classic stories in intimate productions. Directed by John Arthur Lewis, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra 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. Opening night will be Tuesday, September 9 th at 7 p.m., and additional press night will be Friday, September 12th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased after July 15th at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.

Widely acknowledged as one of Shakespeare’s subtlest and greatest plays, Antony and Cleopatra has had a limited production history due to the panoramic scope of the play and large number of characters. In this reconstruction, 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. “We wanted to get at the essence of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra,” states co-writer Shawna Tucker. “Plus, the play has been said to contain more first-rate poetry than any other play in the canon, and we think it should be made more familiar to audiences.”

James Sparling and Shawna Tucker will play the title characters in this adaptation of public duty and private passion. Completing the cast is Bill Gordon (Player), and Drew Mierjeweski (Octavius), with John Arthur Lewisdirecting. The design and creative team includes Kaitlyn Grissom (set), Christian Gero (sound), Nathan Rohrer(costume), Drew Mierjeweski (combat), Elizabeth Sutherland (lighting) and Alexa Berkowitz (stage manager).

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 Labreading series presented by Working Title Playwrights in December 2010, and received a public staged reading in Decatur, Georgia.