Theater: Putting the Earth on Wheels


by William Shakespeare

During a pitching, drunken revel aboard Pompey's ship, an infantry officer watches the rulers of the ancient world reeling around the deck and yearns that the earth were "on wheels." That is very nearly what Director Peter Brook has achieved in his whirling, boisterous version of Shakespeare's long, intractable tragedy, which opened last week in Stratford-upon-Avon. The play is not very often produced: exclusive of intermission, it runs 3% hours and with 42 scenes is as sprawling as a map of the Roman Empire.

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