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Will & Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life

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"Dominic Dromgoole is a fitting witness to the passage of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from curiosity to respected showcase."-The New York Times

"A passionate, often very funny account."-The Economist

"A superbly written, infectiously high-spirited narrative. It is a bumptious, opinionated memoir crammed with fascinating anecdotes, finely tuned phrases, and genuine shafts of insight. A book hard to put down."-Terry Eagleton

William Shakespeare ...

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Overview


"Dominic Dromgoole is a fitting witness to the passage of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from curiosity to respected showcase."-The New York Times

"A passionate, often very funny account."-The Economist

"A superbly written, infectiously high-spirited narrative. It is a bumptious, opinionated memoir crammed with fascinating anecdotes, finely tuned phrases, and genuine shafts of insight. A book hard to put down."-Terry Eagleton

William Shakespeare has always been part of Dominic Dromgoole's life. Here he recounts the story of his life through Shakespeare, and in turn shows us what Shakespeare can tell us about the world. In this freewheeling and passionate exploration of Shakespeare the artist, the man, the playwright, and the genius, Dromgoole explores why it is that he can enter our lives with such force and teach us so much about living.

Using his own encounters as a guide, Dromgoole shows how Shakespeare's words on war, love, death, drunkenness, family, friendship, and everything else reveal us to ourselves. This is the true nature of Shakespeare, a godhead of comic, sexual, sublime humanism, whose plays and characters have become a universal gateway to an understanding of the world.

A passionate Shakespearean practically since birth, Dominic Dromgoole is the new artistic director for the Globe Theatre, the playhouse Shakespeare made famous. He is a columnist for the Guardian and a regular contributor to The Sunday Times. His first book, The Full Room, was one of the most controversial and successful theater books in England of the last few years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
Library Journal

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

Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648460
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

A passionate Shakespearean practically since birth, Dominic Dromgoole is the new Artistic Director for the Globe Theatre, the playhouse Shakespeare made famous. He is a columnist for the Guardian and a regular contributor to the Sunday Times. His first book, The Full Room, was one of the most controversial and successful theatre books in England of the last few years.
Read More Show Less

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