Happy Birthday, Will!


Will birthday

‘Fun-packed’ isn’t a phrase you often hear associated with ‘Hamlet’. However, I think the Globe theatre has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek (at least I hope so) because it’s advertising a special day on Sunday April 19th to celebrate Will’s birthday.

And in classic Shakespearian style they’re planning ‘to mark the mid-point of our two year Globe To Globe Hamlet tour’ with this year’s party ‘themed around the world’s most famous tragic prince.’ What are they going to do, I hear you ask? Stage duels? Open a herb garden? (‘Here rosemary…for £1.50!’) Almost. Here’s what they’re suggesting you come along and do.

‘Jump around on Elsinore bouncy castle, dig for skulls in the grave diggers’ ball pit, try your luck at our skull coconut shy or enjoy a spot of face painting or cake decorating.’

Thank God it’s not ‘Macbeth’ is all I can say.

As well as various funfair-type events like ‘Mocking Polonius’ and the ‘Get Thee To A Nunnery’ driving skill game there’ll be free movies;

‘The screenings include Laurence Oliver’s masterful 1948 adaptation, Zeffirelli’s Oedipal interpretation starring Mel Gibson, Glenn Close and Helena Bonham Carter, Kenneth Branagh’s seminal, star-studded and completely unabridged version and Disney’s award winning family reimagining, The Lion King.’

Did I miss something in that last bit? Was ‘Hakuna Matata’ lifted from a Hamlet speech? Actually I kind of liked Zeffirelli’s two-fisted fighting Hamlet. No namby-pamby indecision for Mel! It was certainly better that Kenneth Branagh reimagining Elsinore as Westfield.

Looks like I’ll be heading to the Globe then…see you there!

8 comments on “Happy Birthday, Will!”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Sounds like fun. I especially like “Mocking Polonius”, although his advice would likely lead to a safe life with a number of superficial friends.

  2. snowy says:

    What no “Stab the Rat” in the arris? Tsk!

    Not really trying are they, what about; “Nose Out the Recently Slaughtered Corpse” in the lobby, “Ophelia Dunking” in our custom pool, “Hawk or Handsaw” stick your head through this hole and find out which.

  3. Roger says:

    Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well, Kaurismaki’s Hamlet Goes Business, Michael Almereyda’s updating and Grigori Kozintsev’s 1964 veriosn should be in the films. Only the last is recognisably Hamletish without a hint.
    How many versions – acknowledged or not – are there? There’ve been versions of Macbeth and Othello as Westerns; has there been a Western Hamlet?

  4. snowy says:

    On his way back from the Civil War, Johnny Hamilton is visited in his sleep by the ghost of his father who lets him know that he has been murdered and who asks him to avenge him. Back in the family ranch, Johnny finds that not only has his father been killed but that Gertrude, his mother, has married her late husband’s brother Claude. The latter is now the owner of the ranch and of all the properties of the deceased. Polonius, a ruthless bandit, is supposed to have killed Johnny’s father. But couldn’t it be Claude…?

    Johnny Hamlet (1968) “Quella sporca storia nel west” Director: Enzo G. Castellari

    [Well you did ask!]

  5. admin says:

    How about oblique Hamlets? I always thought ‘Gormenghast’ was a riff on Hamlet, and of course there’s the brilliant ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead’, also made into a terrific film. The book ‘Hamlet’s Castle’ turns the play into a novel, but what’s the best Hamlet sketch?

  6. snowy says:

    There was a comedy play called “Voltemand and Cornelius are not very well indeed”, probably now very hard to find. The plot revolves around them discovering what Claudius is planning, and their attempts to avoid being dedded. You hear the action of the play in the background.

    The Hamlet thing has been ‘knocked about a bit’, it’s the stock image when depicting ‘act-ors, darling’. Mel Brooks had a go at it in ‘To Be, Or Not to Be’, There is something called ‘Hamlet 2’, [never seen it.]

    The most popularly known thing might be the Atkinson/Laurie sketch from a few years back, where ‘Shaky’ and his agent discuss the script.

  7. chazza says:

    An updated version set in a high rise apartment block – instead of a castle – called Tower Hamlets would not go amiss…

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Love Tower Hamlets.
    Wayne and Shuster did a sketch called The Fastest Soliloquy in the West ( season 27 Episode 1) and The Shakespearean Baseball Game is a mashup of Hamlet and Macbeth.

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