To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
World Shakespeare Festival 2012 Symbol - Picture Courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Website
The World Shakespeare Festival 2012 began on 23 April, Shakespeare's birthday. It's a major event bringing together artists from all round the world, starring in nearly 70 productions, and appearing at venues across the United Kingdom. In London Shakespeare's Globe, on Bankside, which is home to Globe to Globe, an ambitious project welcoming theatrical companies from around the world in a staging of all 37 plays. This in turn is part of the London 2012 Festival, itself a culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.
The Globe by Night
I visited the Globe last week to see an Italian language version of Julius Caesar or Giulio Cesare. From the chatter around me before the play started, as well as during the interval and at the play's end, there were many Italians occupying the wooden benches.
Obviously it was not difficult for them to understand the dialogue, but for those of us who aren't polyglots, there is a helpful display board that summarises each scene. In spite of the language barrier, having to concentrate on the actors' bodies and faces, and only being able to pick out a few words here and there, concentrates the spectator on the action on stage. You learn to read body language and movement rather than listen to the spoken word, which can be difficult for those not used to Shakespeare's language. We have also been promised that different nations will bring their own experiences to the plays. For example the three Henry VI plays (about the Wars of the Roses) will be presented by three different companies from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia to illustrate war in the Balkans.
A Scene from Giulio Cesare - Picture Courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Website
Globe to Globe is a further example of how Shakespeare's words and plays remain alive, open to interpretation, and still speak to all nations nearly 500 years after his death.
Inside the Globe Before the Start of Giulio Cesare in the Drizzle
I love London and Shakespeare. Last time I was in England, I visited Stratford Upon Avon on my way from Oxford to York. It was amazing. I went on a Shakespeare House tour - I think I did the three houses. I would love to experience this festival.