THE FAMOUS Shakespeare’s Globe theatre embarked on a world tour in spring (marking the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth in April), visiting 205 countries worldwide. The show made its 27th stop at Bratislava’s Slovak National Theatre (SND) on June 24.
The legendary theatre for which the English playwright and poet wrote his works, performed Hamlet at the SND as part of its Globe to Globe tour. The venue was packed and tickets had sold out well in advance. The play, done in authentic Shakespearian English, was presented with Slovak subtitles.
“2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death,” Alena Rebrová, head of the British Council, which supported the production, told The Slovak Spectator. “And 2014 is the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.”
She added that Shakespeare’s work contains the first written use of 1,700 words in the English language, like hot-blooded, swagger, remorseless, majestic and critic, to name a few; while it is also in the curricula in more than 50 percent of the world’s schools. “Of course, all this gives us a reason to celebrate,” Rebrová added.
“The British Council’s anniversary programme includes supporting the Globe Theatre’s epic voyage to bring its production of Hamlet to every nation on Earth over the next two years,” she continued. “Slovakia was country number 23 [and the 27th stop] on their list. I am very pleased that we were able to present a world-class performance to the sold out SND audiences. You could feel how it resonated with the spectators today as it would have in the past, with its insight into human motivations: love, friendship, rivalry, ambition and power.”
The Globe’s Hamlet, directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckurst, was performed on a spare stage set, with costumes by Jonathan Fensom and music by Bill Barclay. Hamlet was played by Naeem Hayat in Bratislava, and though he may not be the embodiment of a blond, melancholic Nordic prince, he and the rest of the cast nevertheless immersed the audience in the universal story of love and hate, conspiracy and revenge.
The famous tragedy was played as a kind of ‘meta-theatre’. Though the story was set in the Danish royal court, it was performed with the actors as ordinary people converging in a public space and retelling the story of Hamlet by acting it out. Some of the tragic scenes were interspersed with pub songs sung in a jovial atmosphere, which instilled the play with a raucous atmosphere, perhaps not unlike the London in which it was first performed.
28. Jul 2014 at 0:00 | Zuzana Vilikovská