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‘They fight’

It would be an interesting exercise to check how many times this stage direction is to be found in Shakespeare’s plays. It certainly occurs five times in ROMEO AND JULIET, providing much thought and imagination for a fight arranger/director.

The first time I saw the play was in 1961 when the Old Vic Company brought to Cardiff the then celebrated production directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The fights were in the capable hands of William Hobbs and I particularly remember the quite stunning visual impact of the first brawl between the Montagues and the Capulets with a great deal of  violent movement and swashbuckling swordplay.

I suspect that Rupert Goold’s  new  production at The Courtyard is going to provide audiences with fights that are going to be equally exciting and memorable. On this occasion they are being staged by Terry King , whose work needs no introduction to regular RSC audiences. Last week when a colleague and I were taking a large school group on a theatre tour we were all privileged to be able to watch from the gallery the last five minutes of a rehearsal for that first brawl and to watch Terry King and the ensemble in action. Stunning is not the word. How about  -WOW !?

 Roll on the preview. What is  the line ?

“Draw, if you be men ”

 (They fight ) – in this production they certainly do !

  by Tony Boyd-Williams, RSC Friends Theatre Tour Guide

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