Globe to Glove a hard, rewarding trek
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Still in the early stages of a two-year trek that will take them around the world, the cast and production staff of the Globe to Globe Hamlet tour are looking forward to the challenge.
The team of trained actors visited Jamaica to perform at the Little Theatre in St Andrew last Tuesday. Cast members Ladi Emeruwa and Jennifer Leong were excited to be in Kingston for the production, but they did admit that being part of the two-year tour is a challenge.
"There are some weeks that are tougher than others, but on a whole, it is quite easy to balance. Sometimes we travel to three countries in a week. We get a rest day, so we get time to relax and get back on our feet," said Emeruwa, who plays Hamlet in the Shakespearean play.
Leong, who plays Ophelia, added: "Our first performance was in Easter. Though we have been doing it for some time, this is only the beginning of it."
Technical Manager Dave McAvoy also admitted to the difficult task the crew has on its hands.
"It is very tough sometimes. We do nine weeks of touring, then we have a couple weeks off and then we go again. It is pretty gruelling, but it is great fun. I wouldn't miss it for the world," he told The Sunday Gleaner, adding that they also get a day off weekly.
Despite the intensity of the tour, McAvoy says it has been going well so far.
"It's had its challenges, but that is very exciting for me because that is what makes it so fun; we are in such different kinds of venues. Kingston's Little Theatre is perfect for us. We fit in very nicely here. We have a very little set because we have to be travelling around and drag everything around ourselves. We are dragging these things on to planes, boats, trains, so we have to keep it nice and compact," he said.
"But the beauty of what we are doing here is we are not offering special effects; we are offering a great story and it is up to the cast to drive that story through. It is a beautiful, universal story and relevant to everyone. Shakespeare is not for the elite, it is for everyone," McAvoy said.
Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play tells the story of Prince Hamlet who seeks revenge against his uncle Claudius. Claudius killed his brother and Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, seized the throne, and married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude.
McAvoy was true to his word, as the set was very simple. There were several old wooden trunks onstage, with a cream-coloured cloth as the backdrop, while large pieces of wood were used to help support the set design. There was no grand costuming, but the actors' garments were appropriate for the time the play was set in.
It was also noticeable that some of the actors would sit in the background playing instruments and then simply remove an article of clothing and jump right into their role.
The only issue some persons in the packed theatre may have had was trying to hear the old English as the actors spoke without the assistance of microphones. Nonetheless, the audience seemed engaged by the well-trained actors telling the story of Hamlet.
While Leong and Emeruwa did not perform last Tuesday, they lauded the Little Theatre.
"It is beautiful, such a lovely intimate space," Emeruwa said.
Describing it as a lovely theatre, Leong admitted that she was a bit envious of her fellow actors who were getting a chance to perform in the Little Theatre.
"I just love how you feel like you can reach everyone. Even though someone could be seated at the back, you still feel like you can reach everyone," she said.