The 51st floor penthouse suite at 515 S. Flower St., the site of Heidi Duckler’s latest dance-theater piece, “Cleopatra, CEO,” is a scenic design come true for the Los Angeles choreographer.
At “Cleopatra’s” premiere over the weekend, audiences were guided through dance-theater scenes spread across 30,000 square feet of marble, burnished wood, beige carpeting, exquisite cabinetry and executive boardrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and one with a fireplace.
What more could a site-specific artist want than these rambling hallways and power chambers — once the opulent headquarters for oil corporation Atlantic Richfield — as settings for seduction, legislative mischief, war and suicide?
For the most part, Duckler unleashed her imagination for a poetic riff on events from Cleopatra's life and mythology. Johanna Sapakie, a charismatic Cleopatra, climbed atop the furniture and upon the shoulders of her servants while yards and yards of fabric unfurled across the chamber. Greek attendants, with clipboards attached to their paddles, “rowed” their stationary boats (two stone secretary cubicles). The battle between Greeks and Romans for control of the ancient world was a mad dash through a hallway, while viewers pressed against the walls.