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1st February 2011

Does revenge justify murder?

The spirit of a murdered king; the wrath of a vengeful son. The year is 1601, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.
ID Fight Choreographer Ronin Traynor has been rehearsing the fights with the cast for Icarus Theatre's production of Hamlet, which has undertaken its second leg of an 8 month national tour.

"Hamlet" is Shakespeare's most iconic and challenging play, and arguably the world's greatest dramatic work. It tells the tale of young Prince Hamlet and his realisation that his father's death, the King of Denmark, was not a natural one. Consumed with grief, Prince Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father's death with devastating consequences for his family and the Kingdom. As with many of Shakespeare's plays, the dramatic climax is played out within a fight scene and perhaps the world's most famous sporting duel; that between Hamlet and Laertes.

In this production Ronin, along with director Max Lewendel, opted for the traditional period weapons for the contest; and also Laertes' weapons of choice "Rapier & Dagger". The rules of the duel dictate that victory will go to the first combatant to score three hits against their opponent. Unbeknown to Hamlet, Laertes only needs to "gall him slightly" with his poisoned rapier and "it may be death".

Ronin’s objective when devising the choreography was to create a story arc through the fight, which would allow the other characters and audience to see Hamlet's journey from underdog to that of an equal and finally superior to Laertes as he scores the first successful hit. However in good Shakespearean tradition, the protagonists don't shake hands and make up - death and destruction follow, leaving the stage littered with bodies for the closing speeches.

Hamlet's spring tour commences the 1st February and runs until May 2011.

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