After weeks of anticipation which saw fans crash box office website, Afritickets, and local celebrities take to social media to channel their inner Hamlet by reciting lines from the play and uploading videos using the hashtag #hamletinlagos, the SOLD OUT Shakespeare’s Globe to Globe production was staged at the Agip Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos on the 4th of March 2015 to a rapturous standing ovation.
The day started with a press conference held at “The Love Garden” of the MUSON Centre with local and international press keen to get a glimpse of Nigeria’s very own, Ladi Emeruwa who in the shared role of Hamlet, later thrilled fans alongside an impressive international cast and crew of seventeen.
Nigeria’s very own Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, welcomed the international Globe Theatre and especially the country’s star Hamlet, saying in an email “l extend an unabashedly nepotistic welcome to “he that place the prince”- OUR OWN SON! – as we say in these parts – on loan to your company until we have completed the restoration of our own Globe Theatre if only we could find it’s location.”
The tour continued on Thursday 5th March 2015, with an abridged performance at the St. Saviours School, Ikoyi, Emeruwa’s alma mater.
The Hamlet Globe to Globe tour opened at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, on 23 April 2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. This unprecedented theatrical adventure is scheduled to tour every single country on earth over 2 years.
Directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director, Dominic Dromgoole, the first African performance was at Algeria’s National Theatre. Hamlet Globe to Globe has since performed at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, the beautiful St Louis Cathedral in Carthage, Tunisia, at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa, as a free outdoor performance in Sudan and now in Lagos.
After the performance, a guest commented that Ladi was “a damn good fencer”; while another said “it was a great performance, all the characters around Hamlet responded accordingly, from hurt, confusion and intimidation to violence, suicide and self-preservation. This Hamlet was brilliant”.
The cast and crew have travelled by boat, sleeper trains, jeeps, tall ships, buses and aeroplanes, across 7 continents to perform over 2 dozen parts on a stripped-down booth stage. The company of twelve actors and four stage managers used a completely portable set to stage a Hamlet that celebrates all the exuberance and invention of Shakespeare’s language in a brisk two hours and forty minutes.After the Nigeria, the company will continue their tour on to the Republic of Benin.
This event was supported by British Council, The Wheatbaker Hotel, Muson Centre, The St. Saviours School, Ikoyi and media partners; Thisday, Bella Naija, Smooth FM, Cool FM, Ebonylife TV, Channels TV, The Guardian, Ndani TV & Levitate.