Lillian Gish Will Play Nurse in “Romeo” – By Sam Zolotow (The New York Times – 1965)

LILLIAN GISH JOINS FESTIVAL TROUPE;

Will Play Nurse in ‘Romeo’ at Stratford, Conn.

By Sam Zolotow

The New York Times – Jan. 27, 1965

Lillian Gish will portray the nurse in “Romeo and Juliet” at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Conn. It will be the first bill of the student series on March 8 and will usher in the regular season on June 19. Allen Fletcher, the group’s artistic director, will stage the play.

Lillian Gish as The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet 1965
Lillian Gish as The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet 1965

Miss Gish, who says she weighs 115 pounds and is 5 feet 6 inches tall, acknowledged she would make a petite nurse.

“I’ll persuade them without using any padding” she said, “that I’m large and vigorous. Size and weight have nothing to do with a good interpretation.”

Juliet (Maria Tucci) and The Nurse (Lillian Gish) in Romeo and Juliet - 1965
Juliet (Maria Tucci) and The Nurse (Lillian Gish) in Romeo and Juliet – 1965

The nurse will be Miss Gish’s only role at the festival and the first time she has acted there. Her only other Shakespearean role was Ophelia to John Gielgud’s Hamlet on Broadway in 1936.

Lillian Gish as Ophelia in Hamlet 1936
Lillian Gish as Ophelia and John Gielgud in Hamlet 1936

Terence Seammell has been selected for the part of Romeo and Maria Tucci as Juliet. Mr. Seammell is a third-season member of the troupe.

Miss Tucci, who is 22 years old, will make her debut at the festival. She has acted on Broadway in “The Deputy” and “The Milk Train doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”.

Lillian Gish and Terence Seammell in Romeo and Juliet 1965
Lillian Gish and Terence Seammell in Romeo and Juliet 1965

“There were plans to do “Romeo and Juliet” with Dick Barthelmess in Italy using the original locations, but, following our announcement, letters from the exhibitors begged reconsideration saying Mr. Shakespeare emptied their theaters. By the time I finally succeeded in appearing in this play at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, I was playing the Nurse.” (Dorothy and Lillian Gish – By Lillian Gish)

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