Monday, April 23, 2012

Globe to Globe festival's Hamlet.

The Hamlet portion of the Globe to Globe festival at Shakespeare's Globe is from Lithuania. Andrius Mamontovas, one of the country's great rock stars was asked to play Hamlet in 1996 and although he lacked any prior knowledge of the play or its playwright he saw it as an excellent way of smuggling in messages and music which were banned under Soviet control, the play itself having been banned by Stalin before his death.

 He's been playing the part ever since.  In the video embedded with this article, the BBC art correspondent David Sillito meets Mamontovas on his home turf and in an entertaining walk and talk along a local street, Mamontovas describes what the play means to him, the conversation interspersed with moments from the closet scene with his Hamlet attempting to shoo the ghost of his father away with a spade.

But the play is resonant throughout that part of the world, it seems.  As Tom Bird, festival director explains, "the most famous footballer in Armenia is Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his middle name is Hamlet. And no, Hamlet isn't Armenian for Hamish; it's Hamlet, the Dane. It's incredible it's seeped in to everything."

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