Today is reportedly the day when William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago in 1564. There is no actual record of his birth date but he was baptized on April 26th and this makes people think that today was the likely day, which also happens to be the day he died in 1616.
To celebrate, the Globe Theater, the recreated home to so many of his plays, is taking a troupe on tour for the next two years in which they will perform Hamlet in every single country in the world. The artistic director of the theater discussed this project on NPR today.
Hamlet is undoubtedly Shakespeare’s most well-known play, with many universal themes running through it that practically anyone anywhere can relate to at some level, so it is a good choice. On the other hand it is also his longest play and likely will have to be performed with bits cut out, something that old Bill felt pressured to do in his own time.
Even Blackadder found it too long, especially Kenneth Branagh’s uncut 4-hour long version.
For more serious fare, here is a 1963 discussion about the play involving Peter O’Toole, Orson Welles, Ernest Milton, and Huw Weldon.