Shakespeare's Globe have announced plans to take Shakespeare's most famous play - Hamlet - to every country in the world, embarking on a monster tour to celebrate two very special anniversaries.
Shakespeare's Hamlet, a play thought to have been originally penned in 1603, is going on tour as part of production company Shakespeare's Globe celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth and 400 years since his death on April 23rd. The Globe's artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole announced the news, calling the plans "a thrill." According to BBC News, the theatre company will spend two years on world tour, performing in each of the 196 countries beginning and ending on the same day two years apart.
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Travelling by planes, trains, boats and buses the cast of eight will bring the shortened two and a half hour performance to a wide range of different stages, including beach, woodland, and traditional wooden stage. "We already know this production works in all sorts of venue - whether it's a charismatic national theatre with glistening chandeliers or a simple market square. Or just in a field. It's a slightly mad extension of our Globe to Globe project last year, when we had 37 Shakespeare plays in 37 different languages staged in London by companies from around the world. The contacts made last year are already proving crucial to deciding some of the places we'll visit."
Against concerns that such a large tour may be a commitment too large for many actors, Dromgoole explained what a prestigious experience it will be: "People are knocking on the door already. What a thing to tell your grandchildren about one day. In many ways it's an actors dream." The plans are certainly an unconventional way of bringing Shakespeare to a global audience, but it sounds like the actors will have a fantastic and enriching, yet tiring, experience with plenty of variation. "We're hoping to do the Caribbean mainly by boat," says Dromgoole "I can't deny it'll be tempting to slow the pace a bit. And the Pacific Islands will entail a lot of plane hopping I think a year in it'll be fascinating to see what barnacles have stuck to the production as it travels. It won't feel the same in Tuvalu as it did at Elsinore in Denmark."
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Regardless of location, each performance of Hamlet will be performed in English, even the archaic phrases of Shakespeare's writing, meaning audiences who speak limited or no English will rely on the actor's skills to deduce the happenings related to the Danish Prince. Dromgoole explained this aspect wasn't a worry either and spoke of the excitement of bringing one of the world's most famous plays to new audiences who've never encountered Shakespeare's work before: "There's something extraordinary about putting drama before an audience abroad which has limited English. It X-rays the play. It's like you flash a light and suddenly you see what the bone-structure is like within. We'll benefit from this tour at least as much as our audiences."