He Speaks at Random IV


Even after all of the excitement of the birthday last week, Shakespeare continues to be in the news… Thanks to my pa for bringing some of the following random factoids to my attention.

  1. A man recently morris-danced from London to Norwich*, to commemorate Will Kemp, who often played fools in Shakespeare’s plays, and (according to the article) danced the route himself when he was turned down for a role in Hamlet**. The dance will officially finish on Tuesday at St John Maddermarket church – if anyone is in the area, please bring me word again! It may be mad but is still an impressive athletic feat – 100-odd miles of dancing in 9 days is more than I would care to try.
  2. In Rio, Hamlet is being used to treat mental illness, although it should be noted that it is a therapy not without it’s detractors and (while I myself find reciting the odd section of poetry quite relaxing) I am certainly not recommending it.
  3. Emma Rice of the Kneehigh Theatre Company has been announced as new Artistic Director of the Globe – I haven’t seen any of their productions but have seen and heard mostly good things. It may be an interesting transition of style, since many of Kneehigh’s recent works have been adapted from films, while with Shakespeare the words are more fixed but there are fewer (no) visual reference points – I look forward to going to some shows after she takes over in April 2016.

* Anywhere else this might seem odd, but see previous post about Norfolk

** He definitely parted company from the Chamberlain’s Men under something of a cloud in 1599 – though originally intended to be one of the part-owners of The Globe, he had no share when it opened, and the line in Hamlet “And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them” is suggested to be a jibe in Kemp’s direction.


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