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Will and Me


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About the Author

A passionate Shakespearean since practically birth, Dominic Dromgoole is Artistic Director at the Globe Theatre.


What are the life lessons we can glean from Shakespeare's characters? According to Dromgoole, the artistic director of London's Globe Theatre, Shakespeare is better than religion for "interpreting the world." Unfortunately, Dromgoole, in spite of his background, isn't able to pull off the conceit. The first half of the book follows his childhood, then chronicles life in a touring company. En route, Dromgoole extracts monologues from Shakespeare's plays to underscore his point; in essence: forget the Bible, just read the bard of Avon. When not extolling the educative virtue of Shakespeare's characters, Dromgoole pays court to distinguished performers, such as Peter O'Toole and Judi Dench. He reserves special attention for Michael Bryant, who plays the smaller Shakespearean roles, proving there are no small roles in Shakespeare's plays. A purist, Dromgoole rails against directors' concepts that stand between the play and the audience. And while his affection and high regard for Shakespeare is obvious, he's too chatty for the academic reader and too self-involved for the general public. Chapter heads are both enigmatic and narcissistic. While an actor will garner insights into how to interpret legendary characters, the book has too much Dromgoole and not enough Will. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

This passionate memoir by the artistic director of the Globe Theatre serves to introduce readers to Shakespeare and offers new insights into the plays and characters. Dromgoole ties his personal history to Shakespeare's work, illustrating how his own life and the contemporary world have been enriched, explained, and illuminated by the plays and poems. Through such topics as love, death, family, friendship, and war, readers come to know both Dromgoole and Shakespeare. Dromgoole posits that Shakespeare is "hard wired" into the British psyche in part from World War II: e.g., after losing their theater during the Blitz, the Old Vic company produced "nation-defining performances" with greats like Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. Writing that "no one could ban Shakespeare," Dromgoole illustrates how the plays could work covertly in politically repressive countries to provoke thought for new solutions. This is a marvelous text in which Shakespeare (and Dromgoole) spring to life in unexpected and delightful ways. Recommended for theater, academic, and large public library collections.-Susan L. Peters, Univ. of Texas, Galveston Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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