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Hamlet hits Lagos theatres


ONE of the classics from William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wednesday reminded the Lagos audience of the playwright’s brilliant expressions when it was performed before a large audience at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre at Onikan, Lagos.

   The play, brought to Nigeria by Hamlet Globe to Globe as part of the global tour of the company, encompasses political intrigue, sexual obsession, philosophical reflection and violent actions, and has been performed in almost 80 countries across the Americas, Europe and Africa to over 70,000 people. 

   On April 23, 2014, the company tour opened at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, to mark the 451st anniversary of Williams Shakespeare’s birth. This unprecedented theatrical adventure is scheduled to tour all the countries on earth in the next two years.

   It will end on April 23, 2016, which marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Besides the two shows of a matinee and an evening performance Wednesday, the show will continue Thursday at the St Saviour’s School, Ikoyi, Lagos.

   The production is supported by the British Council, The Guardian Newspaper, MUSON Centre, The Wheatbaker Hotel and other media organisations.  

   Directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director, Dominic Dromgoole, the UK theatre production is presenting Nigerian actor, Ladi Emeruwa, in the shared role of Hamlet, together with a 17-man international cast and crew.

  Following rave performances at The Globe, the UN, the oldest theatre in Central America and other notable theatres, Hamlet arrived in Africa in January 2015 and had its first African performance at Algeria’s National Theatre. 

   The tour has since performed at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, St Louis Cathedral in Carthage, Tunisia, at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa and as a free outdoor performance in Sudan, making its way through East Africa, from Somaliland to Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.

   The cast and crew have travelled across seven continents to perform over two dozen parts on a stripped-down booth stage. The actors and four stage managers have used a completely portable set to stage the play, which celebrates the exuberance and inventions of Shakespeare’s language in a brisk two hours and 40 minutes.

   It has attracted rave reviews internationally, including from The New York Times, which described it as “a production that prizes efficiency, clarity, accessibility and above all, energy.”

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