Earlier today, US President Barack Obama was treated to a special performance of scenes from Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, praising the actors as “wonderful”. While touring the theater, Obama spent several minutes checking out the structure and asking questions about the seating and the performances. “That was wonderful. I don’t want it to stop”, Obama said of the tale of the melancholy prince before shaking hands with the actors.
Visitors, performers, literature buffs and notable people, including Prince Charles, gathered in the central English market town to pay tribute to one of the world’s most prominent playwrights.
More than 10,000 people have attended a parade to celebrate Shakespeare’s legacy on the 400th anniversary of his death. Since 2014, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has taken a production of “Hamlet” to 197 countries including Afghanistan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia – where they were one of the first troupes allowed to let men and women perform together.
According to a 2008 interview he gave to Rolling Stone, the other two works were Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, said it was “an honour” to host the president, whose campaign slogan he said inspired their tour.
The celebration of Shakespeare’s life and legacy in London will conclude in a performance of Hamlet at the Globe Theatre on Saturday.
On Friday, Obama dined with Queen Elizabeth II before meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron as he tours England this weekend.
Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford, has been the center of events for those who wanted to honor him. From The Royal Shakespeare Company show with the Duchess of Cornwall, was heard to speak from the wings, asking: “Might I have a word…”
Geraldine Collinge, director of events and exhibitions at the RSC, said this year’s traditional parade will be special, with an enormous amount of planning and preparation poured in to making the day a success.
She added: “All the things that he talked about in his plays so well are still things that still concern us in our lives today”. The Bard of Avon is believed to have spelt his name in more than 80 different ways – “Willm Shaksp”, “William Shakespe”, “Wm Shakspe”, “William Shakspere”, “Willm Shakspere”, and “William Shakspeare.’ There is no record of Shakespeare writing his name as ‘William Shakespeare”, so we probably don’t spell his name correctly.