The Theater: Platonic Exercise

CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA

by GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Caesar and Cleopatra is afflicted by the mummy's curse. Despite two or three of the best scenes in the Shavian canon, the play itself may be unworkable: lines by Shaw but construction by Rube Goldberg. Offstage there are battles, mob scenes and the endless clumping of Roman legions. Onstage there are only words; even in this finger exercise for Pygmalion Shaw seemed to be heading toward what he later called playwriting as a "platonic exercise."

An imaginative production might have rescued the good and masked the bad in this 80-year-old drama. Director Ellis Rabb reverses that...

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