Creating an advertising image is one of the most creative, fun, and slightly nerve-racking tasks that we do in the Communications Dept. at Seattle Shakespeare Company. We usually try to get some thoughts from the director on how they’re going to stage the show, and then from there hopefully inspiration will strike. For the image for Antony and Cleopatra, we didn’t spend too much time coming up with ideas. We knew early on that Hans Altwies and Amy Thone were going to be in the show, so it only seemed natural to use them for the image. Our audience knew and would recognize them, and it would make the show feel very much homegrown (all 19 of the actors on stage live in the area).
We tossed around a couple ideas, got some feedback from director John Langs (as well as Amy), and landed on an idea: draw a map of Italy and Egypt on Hans’ back while Amy, as Cleopatra, smears the ink of the map while embracing him. It caught two of the main themes in the show: passion and political turmoil. Langs asked that we add more of Cleopatra into the mix by trying to show just her eye peeking above his shoulder. We didn’t promise anything, but we said we’d try.
Next came the nerve-racking part: could we make it happen in the time frame that we had. Remember, this was mid-August. The show wasn’t fully designed yet. Rehearsals wouldn’t start for another month and a half. Everyone was juggling busy schedules (work, rehearsals, family, teaching). After a flurry of emails and phone conversations we discovered there was a sliver of time on a Monday morning between 8:30 AM and 9:30 AM, where we could get everyone in the same place for a photo shoot. Here’s how it went: