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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Friday, September 10, 2010

Knockout Performances!

Flatwater Deals Memorable Performances

Jeff Korbelik, Lincoln Journal Star, September 10, 2010

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presented its version of a Lifetime movie Thursday evening in the Swan Theatre.

Complete with intrigue, gossip, bloodshed and more, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra mesmerized the opening night audience, who sat through a misty rain in the outdoor theater to enjoy the production.

The Bob Hall-directed play featured knockout performances from Melissa Lewis Nuss and Vincent Learned as the title characters.

Nuss, a veteran on the theater scene, rarely disappoints. She excelled here in portraying the vivacious, sexy queen of Egypt or as my fiancée called her, “the drama queen of Egypt.”

Nuss has a knack for turning ordinary lines into those worth remembering.

When a slave brings her good and bad news about Antony, she intones “I do not like ‘but yet’ . . . ” which drew chuckles from the audience.

As did her jealousy of a horse when she said with a sly smirk, “O happy horse to bear the weight of Antony . . . ”

Learned, too, shined in what he has called his most difficult part to date. Sometimes a bit stoic on stage, he was not here.

He was quite at ease playing the Herculean-like Antony, conveying the fierceness and tenderness of the character when necessary.

Hall’s production also included fine performances from the supporting cast.

Scott Herr, known for his work in musical theater, pulled out all the stops in portraying the insolent baddie Octavius Caesar.

I didn’t even recognize Dustin Witte as the spooky soothsayer, complete with a shaved, tattooed head for the role. It was quite a departure from some of the lighter fare we’ve seen him do in the past.

Most impressive was Nathan Weiss, who enjoyed one of the play’s best scenes when, as Antony’s right-hand man, he told the story of his friend’s meeting with Cleopatra. It was extremely moving.

As was the entire production. The company produced a memorable staging of the Bard’s tragic love story. The only things missing were the TV cameras.

Flatwater Shakespeare presents Antony and Cleopatra tonight through Sunday, 7:30 p.m. at the Swan Theatre at Wyuka, 3600 "O" Street in Lincoln. The run continues Thursdays through Sundays, September 16-19 and 23-26. Call 473-2897 for tickets.


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