The Last Days of Cleopatra takes the audience through a family’s painful emotional journey as their mother’s life comes to an end. With each family member (the father, son and daughter) struggling in their own way and finding fault with each other’s actions, it seems like resolution is out of the question.
This unique and compelling dark comedy comes to us from playwright and actress, Laoisa Sexton, and features a cast all hailing from Ireland. There is no shortage of talent here as Sexton (playing the sister, Natalie), Michael Mellamphy (playing the brother, Jackey), and Kenneth Ryan (playing the father, Harry) come together to illustrate the dynamic of this family. Interestingly, the interaction between the three is minimal as the spotlight focuses on one family member at a time, with each revealing their innermost thoughts and emotions while at the same time relaying their feelings about one another. The acting is powerful and captivating, as each character more than holds their own -- a true talent requiring intense focus -- while maintaining a connection with the audience. Comedic moments are plentiful and provide relief amid the tension.
While we learn about the tragedy that has impacted this family, one saving grace presents itself -- and that is dance, a favorite activity of their mother’s. At a time when words and calls for forgiveness can only go so far, and clear answers are unavailable, this form of expression is all they have left.
I highly recommend The Last Days of Cleopatra to anyone looking for something off the beaten path. Although some scenes felt a bit long at times, the impact and life lessons will be remembered long after you leave the theater. Catch it before the summer ends!
Performances of The Last Days of Cleopatra continue through September 7 at Urban Stages. For more information, go to www.thelastdaysofcleopatra.com.
Through September 7 at Urban Stages.