The artistic director of London’s Globe Theatre offers an insightful and intimate account of his lifelong devotion to the Bard.
Well aware of the vast corpus of Shakespearean scholarship, Dromgoole explains that his humble half-inch addition centers on how he’s “stumbled, shambled and occasionally glided through a life with Shakespeare as a guide.” It wouldn’t be a stretch to read this memoir’s rather chummy title as a gentle thumbing of the nose at the more formal, reserved and esoteric studies that dominate the Bard studies landscape. Dromgoole recounts with great warmth and fondness how his parents impressed the value of drama and poetry upon him at an early age, engendering a love for blank verse and the subtle complexities of human character manifested throughout the Complete Works. “From the very first moment I read Shakespeare,” he writes, “I knew I was peeping into the private souls of others.” Tackling favorite passages in short vignettes often hovering around some more or less significant life event, Dromgoole persuasively affirms Shakespeare’s ethereal humanity (“His specialty is the non-heroes, the confused, the human, the scrappy and the messy”) and reveals his own affinity for that behind-the-scenes directorial world between text and stage. While many scholars seek to hide the personal underpinnings of critical insights, Dromgoole trumpets his to great effect, recounting with humor and humility various turns of fate that led to his present understanding of both Shakespeare and himself. This charming memoir also sheds light on the meaning of theatre and offers useful advice for actors and directors alike.
A don’t-miss for Shakespeare lovers.