David Blixt has got so many Shakespearean irons in the fire that I don't even know how to start summarizing him, so I'll just let his press bio do it: Author and actor, director and playwright, David Blixt's work is consistently described as "intricate," "taut," and "breathtaking." As an actor, he is devoted to Shakespeare. As a writer of Historical Fiction, his Shakespeare-related novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS'D series, including THE MASTER OF VERONA, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, and FORTUNE'S FOOL) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY'S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, "Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It's well worth it."
Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as "actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order."
I clearly didn’t need Lady Montague for the final scene – her husband just told us she’s dead. I flipped back to find her last scene. She’s listed as entering in Act Three, Scene Four, when Mercutio and Tybalt both buy it – but she’s strangely quiet in that scene. Lord Capulet, too, but at least people talk to him. No one addresses Romeo’s mom, even when her son is banished. In fact, looking at it harder, Lady Montague hasn’t been heard from since Act One, Scene One, in which she uttered a mere two lines!
So this was my quandary – do I cut Montague’s lines at the end of the show? Why not? Here we are, the play is basically over. We’ve just watched the two romantic leads die pitiably, and young, kind, noble Paris croak it as well. Why do we care if some woman we barely remember is dead?
But it continued to bother me. There had to be a reason she was dead.
Of course, in Shakespeare’s day, there was a very good reason. The actor who played Lady Montague was probably needed in another role - the exigencies of the stage. Even realizing this, though, I couldn’t let go of the line. My wife is dead tonight. The rules of dramatic structure nagged at me. A death like that is supposed to be symbolic. But of what? Clueless, I shrugged and finished the cuts. I left the line in, hoping my actors could figure it out.
In the event, they didn’t have to. I was going about my business later that week when it hit me – the Feud! The thing that gets closure at the end of the show is the feud. Montague and Capulet bury the hatchet. They’re even going to build statues to honor their dead kids.What do you think of that idea? David's told me that he'll be around, so leave some comments and see if you can't get some discussion going! If you like this sort of interaction with the author we can do it with more excerpts from his other works as well. Maybe next time some Macbeth?
Could Lady Montague’s death be symbolic of the end of the feud? The only way that could work would be – If she were the cause of the feud. I remember stopping dead in my tracks as the idea took form – a love triangle a generation earlier, between the parents! Romeo’s mother, engaged to a young Capulet, runs off with a young Montague instead. That’s certainly cause for a feud, especially if young Capulet and Montague were friends. Best friends, childhood friends, torn apart by their love for a woman. A feud, born of love, dies with love.
For more information on these and all of David's other works, please visit his Amazon author page.