Best Director Miami 2014 - Tarell Alvin McCraney
A lot of theater companies and movie producers do the whole "Shakespeare as you've never seen him before" thing, which usually involves staging the Bard's words inside a McDonald's, on the front lines of a Middle Eastern war, or in outer space. But Miami native Tarell Alvin McCraney's eccentric and visionary adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra never relied on such gimmicks. It employed the abstract sets and spartan style of his previous work at GableStage (like The Brothers Size and his ratatat Hamlet) to somehow evoke both 18th-century Haiti and ancient Rome/Alexandria, creating a cross-cultural hybrid that respected the original source material while enriching it with subtextual meaning. The props and live, balcony-perched band created Afro-Caribbean ambiance that drifted in and out of Shakespeare's fraught and complicated text, uttered by its spectacular cast with the mix of frothing passion and enviable, roll-off-the-tongue nonchalance that any modern Shakespeare interpretation could hope for. Yes, not every actor enunciated clearly enough for every line to be heard within the Colony Theatre's imperfect acoustics, but be honest: Unless you're a Shakespeare scholar, you wouldn't be able to decipher it all anyway. The grandiosity and chutzpah of this cinematic vision more than made up for any minutiae that might have slipped through the cracks.