SHAKESPEARE TO BE PERFORMED IN VATICAN FOR FIRST TIME

FYI-1: This morning, the C9, the Council of 9 Cardinals who are advisors to the Pope, met for the 14th time with the Holy Father Francis. The council is scheduled to meet for three days.

FYI-2: Many of you have written me and some have even phoned, to ask why VIS, Vatican Information Service, is no longer part of the news.va website. I do know that an avalanche of protests and questions about the defunct daily news service, so very necessary to so very many people, have also come in to the Vatican.

To access the press office bulletin in English:

  1. Go to www.vatican.va
  2. In the upper right hand corner, select ENGLISH.
  3. Click on DAILY BULLETIN OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
  4. In the top right hand corner of the Bulletin, you will see IT / EN / ES. If you then click on ‘EN’ this will take you to a summary of the Bollettino in English – the same as the VIS we all know.

FYI-3: By the way, when you go to http://w2.vatican.va the first thing you will see is a picture with Pope Francis and a family and the words AMORIS LAETITIA. Click on the image to access the entire Apostolic Exhortation.

SHAKESPEARE TO BE PERFORMED IN VATICAN FOR FIRST TIME

(Vatican Radio) For two years, a production of Hamlet has been travelling the world to mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. The tour is a project of the Globe theatre in London, and is called, appropriately enough, Globe to Globe.

So far Hamlet has been performed in over 170 countries, to more than 100,000 people and travelled over 180,000 miles. (http://globetoglobe.shakespearesglobe.com/)

And this Wednesday, it is scheduled to be performed in the world’s smallest country: The Vatican.(Hamlet rehearsal, photo news.va)

HAMLET rehearsal

The performance has been arranged by the British Embassy to the Holy See with the cooperation of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“They approached the Holy See about the possibility of finding a venue, and the possibility of putting on Hamlet,” said Bishop Paul Tighe, adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. “There was immediately a very warm response to the initiative.”

This is the first time Shakespeare has been performed in the Vatican, and the performance will take place in the extraterritorial Palazzo della Cancelleria, which houses the Holy See’s main judicial offices.

Bishop Tighe said the performance recognizes the significance Shakespeare has for world culture.

“I think it is fair to say that Shakespeare is one of the classics,” he told Vatican Radio.

“He is one of the people who has helped to form global culture” – Bishop Tighe said. – “His work is recognized as something that raises the real questions about what does it mean to be human, about the potential of human beings to achieve greatness, at the same time the tragedy of when human life goes badly.”

Even when his work is not overtly religious, Shakespeare helps draw viewers and readers to consider the questions that can lead to spiritual matters.

“He opens up extraordinary universal themes, and I think in opening up those themes, even for people who mightn’t be explicitly religious, or mightn’t even  be open to religious ideas, they are inevitably obliged to confront larger questions about the meaning and purpose of life,” Bishop Tighe said.

“I think I would say it’s not so much what he gives to religious culture, as he asks the right questions and provokes and stimulates the right sort of questions, that then allow people to go that little bit deeper, which is where probably we can begin to talk about religion and views of transcendence,” he continued.

Moreover, Bishop Tighe said William Shakespeare was formed by the culture in which he lived, and this is reflected in his work.

“I think he was profoundly Christian,” he said. “His worldview was shaped by his Christian beliefs.”

(FYI-4: As background, here is an article by UK Ambassador Nigel Baker for L’Osservatore Romano on Shakespeare at the Vatican: http://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/news/almost-diplomatic-incident

The Hamlet performance on April 13 is open to invited guests only. There is a press conference for media the afternoon of the play. Follow Shakespeare at the Vatican on twitter, via @UKinHolySee @WorldHamlet; hashtag  #GlobeToVatican)

 

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