LONDON, UK –
The culmination of 15 years of hard work to master the acting skills required to bring Shakespeare to life, paid off this week as the doppelgänger of American comedian Zach Galifianakis was awarded the title role in the new Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet.
The doppelgänger, 27-year-old Martin Wylie of Northumberland, England, bested several of the country’s most accomplished Shakespearean actors to secure the much-coveted role.
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“I’m looking forward to the production,” said Mr. Wylie. “It means a lot to me to bring a complex character like Hamlet to life for an audience who appreciates the nuances of existence, and is willing to consider perhaps the biggest question for us all – what does it mean to be alive?”
The production, which will be mounted in the Gielgud Theater of London’s West End, will run for at least a year and a half, judging by early ticket sales.
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“Hamlet is the quintessential role for an actor looking to showcase their talents,” said London theater critic Ralph Niederbalm. “It is a true test both in terms of focus, elocution, and stamina. I am very much looking forward to seeing Mr. Wylie tackle the role, as I believe he will be more than up to the task.”
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Advance reviews for the show have been very positive, with many critics praising Hamlet’s intensity. Of special interest is the production’s staging in a replica of the Globe Theater, which was built using newly discovered plans from the Imperial College Central Library.
“Last winter, as we were transferring some of the bard’s folios to a new wing of the library,” recounted librarian Benton Abubakr, “an envelope fell out of one of the sleeves containing precise architectural sketches of the old theater – right down to the types of nails used to secure the floorboards. It was truly amazing.”
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As Mr. Wylie prepared for his role, Mr. Galifianakis, who so far is unaware of his doppelgänger’s presence on this planet, was reportedly taking some time off before beginning work on a new comedy this fall.
His publicist said he was going on an extended vacation that included a stay in Europe where he plans to take in several museums, enjoy the excellent food and wine, and see a few shows in London’s West End.
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