Who is more powerful than the Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, or the mighty Roman general Mark Antony? Queens and generals are great, but it was more fun to chat with Jasmin Haddad, the director of New Match Collective’s second Shakespeare play this year ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA playing through July 21st at The Space at Theatre Arts School of San Diego in Liberty Station.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA is explores the tragedy between the Queen of Egypt and a Roman General and Triumvir and the volatile dynamic that comes with mixing power, romance, and politics. Jasmin has performed in productions around San Diego, but now she’s on the other side of the stage as Director.
Your background studying Neuroscience and theatre is an intriguing one, how did that come about and how has that helped you in tackling directing?
I’m a first generation Palestinian immigrant whose parents were very clear that the medical field was the only acceptable path so I started out in Neuroscience. However I’ve always performed, directed and been a part of theatre knowing that was my true path and passion. So I decided to study both unbeknownst to my family members and dedicate an entire life to it. It has ended up being a blessing because in my Neuroscience background I got the opportunity to really explore psychology in a way that has benefited me as an artist and a leader. I believe my education was well rounded in such a way that it has prepped me for being in this role and others throughout the company.
What about this play was it that made it the right choice for the second show for New Match Collective?
This play is particularly exciting for this moment in history. It is a play about petty politics, power trips and people doing whatever it takes to win. We felt that this story needed to be told here and now which is also what we felt about our last production which was JULIUS CEASER. That play is also a beautiful companion piece for ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Antony as it provides some historical context, similar characters, and themes. We want to continue to provide pertinent theatre that brings audiences coming back!
Culture clashes, power, honor, politics, and emotion – this is not a play for the meek. How are you and your cast approaching this show with such larger than life characters and emotional arcs?
The best approach for the cast and ourselves is communication. Every cast and production member has a personal connection with the plays themes so discussing our lives experiences has really helped bring these characters to life. That being said the emotionally taxing moments in the play are also followed by moments of laughter and joy. Keeping that balance was key in being able to have an effective rehearsal.
What are your favorite moments in the play?
My favorite moment of the play is captured in two sentences: “what should we do Enobarbus ?” “Think and die”
What do you hope the audience walks away from the show thinking/saying?
I hope the audience walks away saying how relevant this play is to the current political moment but also how funny and genuine these characters are. This play is not done very often because I feel that it’s hard to find the joy, and the humor before the devastation. However, I think we did that and I hope audience members get as much laughter as they do tragedy in our version.
For ticket, show time information on ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, and general information on the New Match Collective theatre company you can find them at any of the following: