RSC takes tender look at Shakespeare’s greatest love story
Associate director of the National Theatre Ben Power has created a version of Romeo and Juliet called A Tender Thing which starts a three-week run in the Swan Theatre, Stratford this week.
Using Shakespeare's text as a starting point, Power’s adaptation tells the story of two older lovers, no less in love than Shakespeare’s younger counterparts, who are thrown into a situation which tests their love to the ultimate.
Power appeared on a Creative Conversations panel at the RSC and recounted how A Tender Thing came into being.
A few years ago, an actor in his 60s told RSC artistic director Michael Boyd that he finally felt ready to play Romeo. Boyd was fascinated so he set the challenge to transpose Romeo and Juliet to a more appropriate setting for an older generation.
Ben Power is a writer and dramaturg. From 2006-2010 he was associate director of Headlong. He recently wrote the screenplays for Richard II and Henry V for the BBC, which were broadcast in the summer as part of Shakespeare Unlocked.
The RSC premiered A Tender Thing at Northern Stage in Newcastle in 2009.
In the latest version, Helena Kaut-Howson directs Richard McCabe and Kathryn Hunter in the roles of Romeo and Juliet.
McCabe is an RSC associate artist and returns to the company after his 2009 performance as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.
His other recent theatre credits include Bingo with Patrick Stewart at the Young Vic and the role of Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister in the West End.
Olivier Award-winner Kathryn Hunter’s recent work for the RSC includes King Lear and The Grain Store as part of the 2009-2011 ensemble.
Director Helena Kaut-Howson and Kathryn Hunter have collaborated for a long time on productions including Richard III at the Globe and King Lear at the Young Vic.
A Tender Thing runs in the Swan from Thursday (27 September) until Saturday, 20 October.