"The set, the costumes, and the actor's possessions, all had to go into 12 trunks that could be then loaded onto airplanes, buses, trains, onto land rovers. It had to be a tour that they carried around with them."
"It became a logistical problem as well as an aesthetic one," Fensom said.
"On the costume and prop side, you were aware that very little maintenance could happen," he said. "It wasn't as if every day they could wash everything. We had to create an aesthetic that would look as good coming out of a trunk after traveling for hundreds of miles as if it'd been pressed, and all prepared, and washed."
Despite the challenges, Fensom said he was nonetheless moved by the personal stories of those involved, even though he himself was only able to occasionally take part in the tour.
"What has moved me," he said, "is hearing the stories about where it's played, and hearing the stories from the actors."
He pointed to one instance – a refugee camps in Calais, France, "where you've got groups of people who have absolutely nothing, but would come together and have a communal experience of wanting to watch a play and be entertained."
According to its website, Globe to Globe Hamlet has to-date traveled 197 countries over the course of its two-year tour – often in regions of poverty and conflict.
Among the regions they visited include five refugee camps – including those in Calais and Jordan – where they performed Hamlet to Syrian, Yemeni, and Central African Republic refugees. They held a performance in Kiev's Maidan Square on the eve of Ukraine's presidential elections. The troupe also held free performances for local school children in eight poorer countries, including Burma, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.
Naeem Hayat, one of the two actors who has played Hamlet on the tour, recounted to CNA a particularly memorable experience a scene in which his character hides behind a curtain, acting like a child.
"There was maybe a five-year-old child in the front row who, when I jumped out of the curtain, burst out laughing, louder than anyone, any of the grownups had laughed in the whole show," he recalled. "He laughed louder than anybody, and he just wouldn't stop laughing."
"And then what happened was the rest of the audience started laughing at the little kid laughing at Hamlet. And, somewhere in that was a really beautiful bit of innocent play," he said. "As an actor, you constantly try and strive to keep that sense of childishness, because, that's when theater's really alive: when it's playful, and childish."
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