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William Shakespeare

Ralph Fiennes, Sophie Okonedo spar in 'Antony and Cleopatra'

"Antony and Cleopatra," currently running at London's National Theatre, has tragic romance, two top-flight actors and a live snake. No wonder it's a hit.

Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes play the lovers sundered by war and empire in William Shakespeare's tragedy, which is being broadcast live to movie theaters in Britain and internationally on Thursday as part of the NT Live series.

Okonedo and Fiennes won acting trophies at last month's Evening Standard Theatre Awards for the roles, immortalized onscreen by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and memorably played onstage in the 1980s by Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench.

Fiennes says one reason the play...