THEATRE AND DRAMA DEPARTMENT WELCOMED NEIL MASSEY AS GUEST FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER FOR MACBETH
I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked. (V, iii, 34)
With those words the villainous Scottish King Macbeth prepares to leap into the bloody fray. With those who would seek his violent end surrounding him on all sides, Shakespeare’s power-hungry terror straps on his armor and sword. No production of Macbeth could possibly be complete without truly spectacular battle sequences. From the savage attack on Banquo to the climactic encounter where the calculating brute cries out, "Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him that first cries Hold, enough!" the play is pierced through with blades and steel. The Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama proudly welcomed guest fight director Neil Massey to campus, where he brought these clashes vividly to crimson life. Macbeth performed in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center on November 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, 2005.
Massey came to IU as one of the most sought-after creators of stage violence in the country. A Certified Teacher from the Society of American Fight Directors, he has crafted fight scenes for both the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Goodman Theatre Company in Chicago. Additionally, he has brought his skills as a fight director and instructor to colleges, universities, and training programs worldwide. Among other locations, he has taught at Louisiana Tech, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Virginia Tech, Marymount College in London, and Roosevelt University in Chicago. While at IU Massey taught a half-semester short course in stage combat, one class to graduate students and one to undergraduates.
Additionally, Massey is the owner of Rogue Steel, manufacturer of stage combat weapons. Rogue Steel serves theatres, schools, and individuals worldwide, primarily in North America and the United Kingdom. He is also an accomplished actor, having appeared on stage at the Goodman, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, First Frontier, and the Orlando Shakespeare Festival.
Massey was excited to confront the challenge of fight directing such a brutal show. He says, "Obviously, any Shakespeare show is going to be more challenging. There are so many [fights], and [they are] so integral to the story itself. In some ways that’s a challenge, but it’s also very exciting at the same time, because it makes my job more fun." Massey created a very specific fighting style for Macbeth: "It’s sort of medieval-style broadsword, broadsword and shield work. The style is in keeping with the director’s take on the play itself, it’s very dark and gritty, and very visceral. We wanted it to be ugly because of the world he’s created for the play."