All the world´s a stage for Shakespeare´s 450th birthday

LONDON: William Shakespeare´s plays are to be performed in mid-air as Britain celebrates the 450th anniversary of his birth this week, while a tour of “Hamlet” aims to reach every country on Earth.

Shakespeare, the English language´s greatest playwright, was baptised on April 26, 1564, and his birthday is traditionally observed on April 23.

The anniversary is being marked with attempts to bring the legendary bard to fresh audiences and capitalise on one of Britain´s best cultural exports.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company comic troupe was to attempt to set a world record on Wednesday by performing a one-hour version of his complete works at 37,000 feet (11,300 metres).

They were to perform on an easyJet flight from London to Verona in Italy — where some of Shakespeare´s plays were set.

Back on the ground, the Royal Shakespeare Company was to launch a fireworks display from the roof of their theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare´s home town, to mark his birthday after Wednesday night´s performance of “Henry IV, Part 1”.Shakespeare´s Globe, the re-creation of his wooden theatre on the banks of the River Thames in London, is launching a two-year tour of “Hamlet” that will take in around 200 countries.

Naeem Hayat is one of two actors who will play the title role, reciting the tragedy´s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, one of the most famous passages in the English language.

“´Hamlet´ as a story is such a beautiful, human story full of discovery and humanity, people will be able to relate to it regardless of where we are and what language they speak,” the Londoner told AFP.

The tour begins Wednesday at The Globe, and will finish with a performance at Elsinore Castle in Denmark — where the tale of deferred revenge is set.

In between, it will play in national theatres, on the beach in Nauru and the Bahamas; in Greek and Roman amphitheatres; on a roundabout in Romania, and will inaugurate Poland´s Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre.

It will also play in a Lithuanian royal palace; in the main square in Marrakesh; in Norway´s Tromso, north of the Arctic Circle; and at a theatre built into the rainforests of St Lucia.- More recognised than queen –

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