The Man Behind the Legends

Antony and Cleopatra director Joseph Discher answers questions about his past work and Orlando Shakes' production of "Antony and Cleopatra."


Joseph Discher

Antony and Cleopatra director Joseph Discher answers questions about his past work and Orlando Shakes‘ current production:

OST: Tell us a little bit about your past work in theatre?

JD: I’ve been directing for twenty-five years, primarily Shakespeare and classical theater, though recently I have been working on new plays. I also love working on American classics for the stage. Past favorite productions include Amadeus, Henry IV Part One, To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Twelfth Night, and a new play Butler, by Richard Strand which I directed off-Broadway last summer.

OST: Is this your first time directing an Antony and Cleopatra production?

JD: Yes, this is my first time directing Antony and Cleopatra, although I helped cast and produce a production back in 2000. Since then I have been very interested in directing it, and I’m very excited to be directing it at theater of such high quality as Orlando Shakes.

OST: Can you tell us your vision for this production?

JD: My approach to any Shakespeare play is to tell the story in a clear, compelling way, using the text as our guide. With Antony and Cleopatra, the design team and I wanted to provide a visually dynamic landscape and clothing that evoke ancient Egypt and Rome, transport the audience to another time and place. Thematically, I wanted to highlight the passion between the two title characters, and the themes of struggle between desire and duty that run throughout the play. This production of the play also focuses the action and the story with a trim cutting, a smaller cast that doubles and triples in roles, and rapid changes of scene with dynamic lighting design and music that keep the excitement thrumming.

OST: What special details/attributes can you tell us about the production?

JD: I think the audience will find that this is a production that embraces Shakespeare’s intention for the passion, action, tragedy, and humor to be in equal measure. The play is classified as a tragedy, but there are many scenes and moments that are full of joy and very funny.

OST: What is your favorite scene in Antony and Cleopatra?

JD: There are simply too many great scenes in this play to pick a favorite.

Click here for tickets and more information on Orlando Shakes’ production of Antony and Cleopatra. 

Jacqueline Aubrey, Orlando Shakes Marketing Intern