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Hamlet, Globe to Globe: Two Years, 190,000 Miles, 197 Countries, One Play Kindle Edition
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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2017
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
“A compulsively readable, intensely personal chronicle of performances in places as various as Djibouti and Gdansk, Taipei and Bogotá . . . [A] wildly ambitious project.”—The New York Times Book Review
“You might think of Dromgoole’s new book, Hamlet Globe to Globe, as the Shakespearean equivalent of Bourdain’s TV series, Parts Unknown. Both offer us irresistible samples of what Dromgoole calls ‘good eating and gargantuan drinking’ with off-kilter characters in out-of-our-way places . . . [Dromgoole’s] aesthetic principle, or unprincipled aesthetic, makes him a natural tour guide for global Shakespeare . . . A comic epic.” —Washington Post
“In this thoughtful and often eloquent account of that world-busting tour, Dromgoole reminds us that Hamlet is intensely political as well as deeply psychological, a study of power and a disturber of the status quo . . . Dromgoole, an excellent dramaturge, draws the curtains aside to reveal the play’s lore and history.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Irresistable . . . Dromgoole . . . delves into the play’s history, grapples with its themes, and offers a passionate case for its enduring relevance.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Funny, moving, insightful, and sometimes subversive . . . As well as a loving testament to the enduring ability of Shakespeare’s play to connect in myriad ways across countries and cultures, Hamlet: Globe to Globe also succeeds as a deeply felt tribute to travel and the touring life . . . A testament to the value of all such ambitious collaborative ventures.”—Pop Matters
“[Dromgoole’s] book is a joy to read, not just because he is so passionate about his subject, but also because that passion manifests itself so eloquently. There are passages in the book that I stopped to read over a second time because they contained such splendid bursts of language.”—Clyde Fitch Report
“An amazing journey . . . For all lovers of theatre, Shakespeare, and those interested in how other cultures interpret an icon of Western literature . . . A must-read.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] thoroughly enjoyable and charming story . . . Besides detailing the two-year tour itself, it’s a story of the play, its themes and language, famous past players, and how it has been performed and received over the years . . . Sly, witty, and delightful—a glorious Shakespearean romp.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“With candor, humor, and erudition, English theater director Dromgoole tells [an] incredible story . . . Dromgoole is wise and witty; thoughtful, self-assured, even cocky . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly
“In Dromgoole’s breakneck journey from a retractable-roof theater in Poland to a crammed cream-and-gold palace in Peru to a sweltering, bat-infested auditorium in Cambodia, the narrative covers an astonishing swath of world-girdling geography . . . No chronicle ever gave more compelling meaning to Shakespeare’s conviction that ‘all the world’s a stage.’”—Booklist
“Dromgoole’s passion for the play and its power to transcend borders and inform our understanding of human foibles shine through as he pays tribute to the heroic efforts of the players who were in it for the long haul.”—Traveller Magazine
“An enthralling account.”—Bookseller (UK)
“[A] richly entertaining book . . . Dromgoole is trading in a kind of intellectual lock-in . . . in which he tells us good stories while feeding uus constantly with his deep love for and knowledge of Hamlet . . . His love of language is contagious . . . There is no one more sparklingly opinionated on theatre than Dromgoole . . . Dazzles.”—Times (UK)
“A delightfully idiosyncratic account of the Globe’s vagabond mission to perform Hamlet in every country in the world . . . The joy of the book is Dromgoole’s gusto.”—The Telegraph
“There’s a real sense of the camaraderie and sheer fun of assembling a company and, quite literally, putting the show on wherever they can . . . The universal themes explored in the play take on a new and thrilling resonance, as the actors learn as much from their audiences as vice versa. By the end of the book, Dromgoole has, indeed, ‘held the mirror up to nature,’ and the stories he has discovered are truly compelling and sometimes vital ones.”—The Observer (UK)
“An absorbing account . . . [Dromgoole] clearly knows Hamlet inside-out, and relishes the power and beauty of its language . . . Well-written and thought-provoking . . . Recommended.”—Irish Independent
“The most compelling part of this story (recounted in gripping detail in this book) isn’t the hardships, but the way the play itself travels. You’d be forgiven for thinking a wordy 16th-century play about a Danish prince may not speak to a desert-dwelling Sudanese village, or that the plight of Ophelia wouldn’t move a contemporary Costa Rican. But it did, proving, as Dromgoole had hoped, that this powerful tragedy not only has the ability to transcend time but to cross borders as well.”—National Geographic Traveller (UK)
“If there were ever any doubt that Hamlet is the greatest of all Shakespeare plays—even perhaps the greatest play ever written—then Dominic Dromgoole’s newest book puts any discussion to rest . . . A grand undertaking . . . Along the way we’re privy to a host of amusing stories and biographical anecdotes, and Dromgoole’s wit and English sarcasm turn his narrative into a fun read. What makes it truly worthwhile, however, is his inclusion in each chapter of a meditation on Hamlet itself.”—Weekly Standard
“The tireless Dromgoole goes on a journey that would kill most of us, and connects our greatest poet to every corner of the human experience. Utterly extraordinary.”—Emma Thompson
“This is an amazing story about a bold and eye-popping journey. I loved it. Dominic Dromgoole writes about Shakespeare and touring the globe the way he ran the Globe—with passion, insight, relish and irresistible humour.”—Nicholas Hytner, former Artistic Director of London’s National Theatre
“Dominic Dromgoole’s recounting of the Globe Theatre’s exhausting global tour of Hamlet is exhilarating. The playing company’s intrepid journey around the world—performing Hamlet’s own troubled journey—succeeds in making the familiar unfamiliar and enables in turn a deeply illuminating journey into the play itself.”—Professor James Shapiro, author of 1599 and 1606
“This deeply humane, consistently enthralling account of a theatrical odyssey encompasses travelogue and litera
About the Author
- File size : 3618 KB
- Publication date : April 26, 2017
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 401 pages
- Publisher : Grove Press (April 26, 2017)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- ASIN : B01MY00CNB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #809,338 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Instead of recounting the countries, venues and performances with mere anecdotal accounts, the author has wisely guided his reader back to the play itself and uses the bard's own words as a template on which to describe the company's experiences. He does this in beautiful language and skillfully manages to illustrate cultural, social, religious, political and historical parallels. The sense of timelessness has never seemed so clear or so artfully drawn.
This lovely work is not without flaws (caution: after reading this, you may find yourself using the Hamlet yardstick to measure most everything), yet as with you-know-who, we don't really mind. After all who among us doesn't have a flaw or two? This objection is primarily with an editor allowing so many prepositional phrases to stand alone as sentences and the occasional incomplete sentence: "To keep true to the modesty of nature." "Nowhere to turn." "Or for this country to contain without some offering up of lamentations and spilling of tears." "Which didn't reduce the hysteria of the room." "Or that a national identity was organized around a broken bit of china." "An exemplary life."
That being said, concern over those lapses did not stop me from buying three more copies as gifts for even nit-pickier friends.
Unfortunately, almost any summary I can provide of the book will impose on it an order that isn't there in the original. It isn't organized chronologically, or geographically, or by character or even by the plot of the play. Instead, there's an introductory chapter in which he discussed the plan, a final chapter in which he discusses their return, and 16 chapters in between with rough thematic subjects ("war", "friendship", etc.). Within these, he wanders significantly.
The book mostly fails as a travelogue, not least because Dromgoole was not present himself for most of the travels, It also fails as a rumination on Shakespeare, as Dromgoole's insights are too thin and too diluted by other content to justify a 400 page book. He reads a lot (or expects us to read a lot) into random observations or events on the road even ending a chapter with the portentous announcement that a sandstorm had ended and rain begun at a refugee camp where they were performing, just as Hamlet died.
The book feels like a homework assignment; Dromgoole knew he had to finish a book but he didn't have a coherent vision for it and he didn't have an editor strong enough to impose order (or perhaps he lacked the time to rewrite it sufficiently, who knows?). The Hamlet tour seems to me a fine idea, but I can't recommend the book.
Top reviews from other countries
Right from the start, this plan encountered problems. Visas proved difficult (and expensive), and at any one time each member of the company would have one passport with them with the ‘Mission Control’ team back at the Globe held second (or even third) versions with which to chase up outstanding visas and other documentation for future destinations. There were, of course, considerable difficulties with regard to some countries. The inclusion in their itinerary of North Korea drew considerable negative media attention, though other destinations (Syria for example) would also prove problematical
Domgoole did not spend the whole two years travelling with the ‘Hamlet’ company himself. After all, he still had a full programme of performances at The Globe itself to oversee. He did fly out frequently to catch up with them, and to help with the promotion of the programme, and was, consequently, present at many inspired and inspiring performances, and witnessed bizarre stagings and receptions.
At the most basic level, this book recounts their experiences. It does, however, offer the reader so much more as well. Dromgoole dissects the play and offers intriguing analyses of the character of Hamlet himself, while also flagging up Shakespeare’s mastery, not just with language but with the mystique of stagecraft. There have been many critical analyses of ‘Hamlet” – exegesis of what is possibly Shakespeare’s most challenging play has become an industry of its own. Dromgoole, however, steals a march on many of them because of his own theatrical background, and in particular, his long association with The Globe. Who has a better insight into the theatricality of the play?
He does not stop there, however. As the company makes its way around the world, Dromgoole presents a brief history of women taking on the role of ‘Hamlet’, which provides fascinating background to his account of the company’s performance in Saudi Arabia which was billed as the first occasion in which men and women would act together in a production in that country. Similarly, his description of the performance in Pnomh Penh is accompanied by a potted history of the damage wrought across the country by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Indeed, each chapter proves similarly informative, with intriguing insights bringing the progress of the worldwide tour to life.