Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Globe Theatre

Shakespeare is basically, awesome. I mean, aside from the clever innuendos, sharp wit, artful figurative language, and skilled craft, he was a darn good storyteller—stories so good we tell them still today. And whether they be in the traditional language or altered, the way that Romeo and Juliet or 10 Things I Hate About You were, these stories need a stage.

That is where the Globe Theatre comes in.


Now, let me set for you my stage, on the third day of my London visit. It was wet. You’re going to think I’m stupid—despite the inescapable reputation of London’s rain, the fact that I KNEW it is a rainy place, and could figure out it would probably be rainy… I only packed shorts and a light jacket. In my defense, when most of your travels have been limited to Colorado, Nebraska, and Spain, you tend to expect the same weather.

As my powers of forethought failed me on this particular occasion, I was therefore dealing with the cold. Fortunately, I’m not a wimp, so I didn’t make a big deal of it. If I’d been wearing pants, I would have actually enjoyed myself.

Of course, I say that now. Beyond the cold I was also dealing with my umbrella-less grandfather. Unlike me, he did not invest in zippered pockets, and thereby lost his umbrella on the bus the day before. He’s also a lung cancer survivor, and so while we are grateful that he is alive, his lungs do not get him anywhere fast anymore. Walking with Papa was a slow, cold business.

I managed.

There was line-standing, ticket-getting, more stairs than Papa expected, and a Shakespeare statue to fill our next few minutes before the tour started. After meeting Jeremy, our tour guide, there were even more stairs that would take us to an open-roofed theatre.


In retrospect I really wish I could have asked about using the elevator. Too late now.

Thankfully, the first place Jeremy led us was to our seats. Papa didn’t expect such an intensive walking tour, and since his life’s philosophy is, “I may never come this way again,” he tried to keep up with everyone else. (And he did. But I felt better when we sat. He will run himself into the ground with that philosophy.)

Then… Jeremy, well, he performed a history of the Globe, and how its replica came to be. He wasn’t an actor, of course, but an orator. He seemed to feel the pulse of the theatre’s lifeblood, and helped us hear its beating heart. After all, as he said, an auditorium has never been about what you see, but what you hear.

We heard that the Globe isn’t an exact replica, in architecture or action. They didn’t keep detailed blueprint records in Shakespeare’s time, and safety precautions are better than historical accuracy. They also take more liberties with performances, but it’s still a working theater, and still gleans groundlings and gentry alike.

My favorite part of the theatre is that it is ALIVE. Plays are still performed there between spring and fall, and there is now an indoor auditorium that can be used in winter. If memory serves, Shakespeare has been performed in over 40 languages—there was to be a performance in Mandarin later that afternoon. Casting is colorblind. They experiment. During the theatre’s off-season there are workshops for students; it’s another way to pass on the cultural torch.



But it wouldn’t be enough for there to be a Shakespeare monopoly. There are also new plays written specifically to be performed in the Globe. The cycle continues! It’s pretty sweet.

I hope I get to see a performance there one day. While there, I felt like I was in a hub of culture, fusing old and new, sharing stories we have loved for hundreds of years, and hopefully for hundreds of years more.

Plays, after all, are not meant to sit dusty on a shelf. They are meant to breathe!

And, even though Papa could not breathe, and made me contemplate his immediate and alarming death, we survived. I guess all’s well that ends well.


Have you ever visited the Globe? If so, what did you think? If not, what is your favorite Shakespeare play?

20 comments :

  1. This sounds amazing! I love Shakespeare, though I haven't read (or seen) all of his plays--of the ones I have read, my favorite is Twelfth Night. Going to the Globe Theater is probably one of my life goals. And it sounds like you had a fantastic time! Thanks for posting!

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    1. It was! I haven't read or seen more than two plays, max, but that's okay. Still, I may have to look into Twelfth Night, huh? I hope you get to go someday, and it's as awesome as you hope!

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  2. I have a confession to make... I've never been to the Globe. I mean, I've only been to London three or four times in my entire life, and somehow the Globe theatre has eluded me every. single. time. But now I basically have to go, so thank you for the encouragement!
    Also, your Grandad's life motto is pretty inspiring. I may adopt it now.
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Aw, that's too bad. Still, it's still there, and I hope that you do get to visit now! It's pretty awesome.

      And yeah, Papa's life motto... Well, it was pretty inspiring. Now it may kill him. And I think my dad's life motto as it relates to mountain climbing, "only go halfway" is where I'd rather stay. But still, glad he's encouraged you. :)

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  3. How exciting! I've never been to London (or out of the US, actually), but I really enjoyed reading about your trip to the Globe. It sounds like an amazing experience. It would be so cool to actually see a play performed there!

    As for favorite Shakespeare, I've only ever completed one of his plays (Hamlet), which I liked. I have a collection of all of his plays, so I'm hoping to read more in the future. :)

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    1. Well, you still have time! It was totally cool, and I would highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance!

      I have only completed two, but they were good. I haven't read Hamlet, but I'm sure I should! I hope you enjoy the rest of the plays you get to read. :)

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  4. *Whispers* I'm... not... really... afanofShakespeare.

    But visiting the Globe sounds amazing!

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    1. *whispers* That's okay. Preference-based admissions are necessary.

      But it was awesome!

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  5. I have to say that I dislike (ok, strongly hate) Shakespeare (I've never met a Shakespearian character that I loved or even mildly liked (we're studying Macbeth right now and oooh, I swear I could kill every character in that play (but thankfully Shakespeare does it for me))).

    BUT I would so see Shakespeare if I could see it in the Globe. It looks amazing! It sounds like you had a great time.

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    1. Have you read Othello? Because I adored Iago, among several other characters. I'm sorry you don't like the characters. :/

      XD I hope you would enjoy it! :D

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    2. I haven't read the whole thing, but I've seen a shortened down play of it and I wasn't overly thrilled. Shakespeare does have an incredible talent with words, metaphors and imagery (like seriously, his imagery blows me away) but I figured that if I didn't like his characters then it just wasn't for me. *shrugs*

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    3. *shrugs* Well, perhaps that is the case. I'm sorry Shakespeare isn't your thing!

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  6. You got to visit The Globe? Cue major Sakespeare fan envy over here. If I ever get the chance to go to London, that is definitely one of the places I want to go visit. Can you imagine watching a Shakespeare play in there? Well, you probably could now you've been there. I bet seeing a play in the Globe would be an amazing experience.

    Favourite play? Aw, that's a hard question to answer. I've read and watched most of his plays. I think, if I really must narrow it down, that it's between Hamlet and King Henry V. Some of the productions are simply awesome to watch, and the plays themselves arewl so rich.

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    1. *rubs it in your face* Just kidding. :) I have to imagine it would be amazing! I hope we both get to go sometime, just because *awesomeness* and all that good stuff.

      Wow, that's a lot of reading! I haven't read very many, but I appreciate those I have seen very much. It's amazing what Shakespeare can do with words, no? Thanks for commenting, Imogen!

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  7. The Globe sounds fascinating! I'd love to travel back in time and see one of Shakespeare's plays (although not as a groundling). I heard that on the roof was a flagpost with different flag colours representig what kind of plays are put on? What a historically rich place. :)

    Personally, I love Macbeth for its length and pacing, but Hamlet and The Tempest are close by. What about you?

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    1. It was! I... think I am content to not be a groundling. I kinda like living in an age where people do different things... say, bathing. Anyway, I don't know about the flag, but I do think it's a fascinating historical site.

      I like Othello, but I haven't read many of his plays. I need to get on it!

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  8. SHAKESPEARE. The Globe Theatre is very high on my list of places to visit, so thank you for sharing about it! (Also, I'm glad your grandfather didn't suffer any medical emergencies while you were over there--that's a relief.)

    Shakespeare is my favorite playwright, and I don't know if I could tell you which play is my favorite because I haven't read more than half of them, unfortunately. And I've only ever seen The Tempest performed live, so I haven't experienced stage performances nearly as much as I'd like. But I think it's a toss-up between Julius Caesar, King Lear (because the fool, obviously), and Much Ado About Nothing. And I'm going to stop before I list ten more favorites. I know people find his old style language confusing, especially because some of the words he used back then have completely opposite meanings now, but I wanted to be a philologist when I was younger, so I spent so much time studying Latin and French and Shakespearian English that I really enjoy the way he wrote. Like, he had such a huge working vocabulary. And he's like, "weeeelll, they don't have a word for this thing or that other thing, so I'll just have to make up some new words." So he's pretty much my hero.

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    1. YES! I hope you get to go someday, and thank you. I think my greatest pleasure on that trip was getting home with all parties still alive. Whew.

      I haven't seen many either, although I've found myself more impressed with what I have seen as I got older. I really want to see King Lear because of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, but they all sound so interesting. I think he can be confusing sometimes, but I've found that it helps to either have a translation or listen—because when you're listening, even if you don't always understand you still get it, you know? I also like that he makes up words because I make up words too. <3 He was pretty awesome, eh? :) Thanks for commenting, Liz!

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  9. Hi Heather, I am delighted you enjoyed your visit, and thank you for the mention. I hope that you can return for a performance some day.

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    1. Thanks for the awesome tour! I hope I get to return someday too. Thank you for stopping by!

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