Friday, 29 August 2014

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: 'Globe'-trotting Hamlet company savours the cultural exchange and challenges

CURTAIN CALL: Cast members following a performance of the Globe's travelling production.

"They love the island vibe," enthuses Dave McEvoy, referring to the close-knit cast and crew of the Globe Theatre's touring production of Hamlet, which has touched down in Jamaica for the latest stop on its 205-nation tour. "We visited the Bob Marley Museum yesterday. We had dinner at the British Embassy, and now we're looking forward to the show tonight."

McEvoy is the show's production manager, the man tasked with the responsibility of handling the nuts-and-bolts details of the play, which has so far taken them to 38 countries. As we all know by now, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, the Globe decided to embark on a Hamlet tour with a difference, taking the show to every recognized state on the planet. A gargantuan undertaking to be sure that is not without its major challenges.

"So far it's been very exciting for us. The crew enjoys hopping from one continent to the next, but it's very challenging at the same time with regards to the technical parts of the production," McEvoy tells TALLAWAH. Ironically, we're standing by the stage watching as the stage manager, Becky, and her team carry out last-minute set changes before curtain. "Because of the diversity of the different venues we visit, we have been doing a lot of adjusting which can take hours. But the Little Theatre is perfect. The stage is just the right size."

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole, who didn't make the trip to Jamaica, the Globe cast manages to put a modern spin on the classic tale of vengeance and honour without compromising an ounce of the Bard's vision. As McEvoy tells it, the Globe Theatre wanted their version to appeal to audiences of all types who might just come away with a newfound appreciation for the timeless story. "Our main objective is to connect with a broad spectrum of people," he says. "I think in some ways, it's a relatable story for everyone."

After Jamaica are stops in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The second leg of the tour, TALLAWAH learned, started in July, taking the 10-member contingent across North and Central America and Cuba. "It's not an easy mission," McEvoy concedes, laughing, "but it's a great experience for the actors." Thirty-eight down, 167 to go.

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