The joy of Shakespeare is that whether you are a Bard Tragic or just a dabbler, you are guaranteed to find at least one or two quotes that feel so tasty and nice to speak and hear that you want to find the odd opportunity to trot them out.
There was even a song called “Brush up Your Shakespeare” written in “Kiss Me Kate” dealing with the universal delight that this genius can spark. (For years my daughters giggled and wondered, when we were sailing, at my exhortations directed at the heavens to “Blow mighty Jupiter!” and “Blow winds and crack your cheeks!”; delivered, of course, at the top of my voice. You only need “Blow wind” for Google to direct you to King Lear Act III Scene ll.)
The delight in reading this book is that Dominic Dromgoole, a British theatre director who has been the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Globe Theatre since 2006, obviously shares the same fun seemingly from the same relaxed unpretentious perspective as the rest of us plebs! Indeed he spends some time disparaging a traditional approach that sets “Will” on any pedestal or assumes that his work is only for the enlightened.
At the same time he speaks of one golden hour from his adolescence as Peter O’Toole launched into Hamlet’s “Speak the speech I pray you”, Shakespeare’s advice to actors everywhere. “He shared Shakespeare with us”, (young Dominc’s family), “like a great soulful fruit cake”.
Dromgoole shares much of his life with us in funny, pithy often dramatic chapters. He is a great story teller and where imagery abounds, humour and pathos entertain. He gives us insights into an actor/ director/producer’s life that reminds thespians and will intrigue the rest. It’s irreverent, bawdy, and well paced but also often intimate and personal.
He also explores Shakespeare’s possible motives in his humanist world where the concerns of family and everyday life strangely echo today.
It’s a great read that you will want to revisit.
WILL AND ME: HOW SHAKESPEARE TOOK OVER MY LIFE is available on Amazon.