A New York Times Notable Book: “A loving testament to the enduring ability of Shakespeare’s play to connect in myriad ways across countries and cultures” (Pop Matters).
For the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, the Globe Theatre undertook an unparalleled journey: to take Hamlet to every country on the planet, to share this beloved play with the entire world. The tour was the brainchild of Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the Globe, and in Hamlet: Globe to Globe, Dromgoole takes readers along with him.
From performing in sweltering deserts, ice-cold cathedrals, and heaving marketplaces, and despite food poisoning in Mexico, the threat of ambush in Somaliland, an Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and political upheaval in Ukraine, the Globe’s players pushed on. Dromgoole shows us the world through the prism of Shakespeare—what the Danish prince means to the people of Sudan, the effect of Ophelia on the citizens of Costa Rica, and how a sixteenth-century play can touch the lives of Syrian refugees. And thanks to this incredible undertaking, Dromgoole uses the world to glean new insight into this masterpiece, exploring the play’s history, its meaning, and its pleasures.
“The Shakespearean equivalent of Bourdain’s TV series, Parts Unknown. . . . [Dromgoole’s] aesthetic principle, or unprincipled aesthetic, makes him a natural tour guide for global Shakespeare . . . A comic epic.” —The Washington Post
With candor, humor, and erudition, English theater director Dromgoole (Will and Me) tells the incredible story of how, from 2014 to 2016, London's Globe Theatre company performed Hamlet all over the world, in nearly 200 countries. The basic point of both the book and tour is that Shakespeare's masterwork is universal and timeless. Readers get an informal history of the play's origins, the state of the theater in Shakespeare's time, and the ways the play has been produced between then and now. Dromgoole, executive director of the Globe from 2005 to 2016, draws on his vast knowledge of Shakespeare to explain in great detail what the play communicates and how the audience in each country relates to that. He is humble about the larger ramifications of the Globe Theatre's remarkable feat, but justifiably proud of what his actors and stage crew accomplished. Dromgoole is wise and witty; thoughtful, self-assured, even cocky; and, at times, verbose and esoteric. But he is never dull. His mission was to bring Hamlet to the world to show that Hamlet is the world, and he succeeded admirably. A wide readership, not just Shakespeare buffs and scholars, can enjoy this book.