No flies on the RSC

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The Independent Culture
William Golding's Lord of the Flies is not a natural contender for stage adaptation. The hair-raising account of the savage disintegration of a pack of shipwrecked boys calls for a desert island, a sinister, brooding atmosphere and a cast of over 30 boys. Nonetheless, the RSC has taken up the gauntlet. The adaptation has been done by Nigel Williams; it now falls to Elijah Moshinsky to achieve the rest.

Moshinsky, a director familiar to West End and opera audiences, relishes his challenge. He is working with 33 schoolboys aged between 11 and 15, none of whom have stage-school training. "We wanted to avoid the cute at all costs," he says. "They have none of the hang-ups of trained actors. Also they can identify with the story, they have a very direct line to it.

"I was worried that the story might take them over," he confesses. "But in fact, they find it difficult to be vicious enough. I asked them if they could think of a song they all knew that could become a savage chant. They came up with 'Kumbaya'."

The rehearsal period has also been a learning process for Moshinsky. "When I started, I thought the book was all about boys turning savage; now I realise it's all about politics," he says. "What drives the play - and the novel - isn't the turn to savagery, it is the move towards fascism, when they begin to reject democracy."

The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon (01789 295623) 31 Jul-7 Sept