Friday, July 11, 2008

Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech, that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible-Prof Henry Higgins.

Bernard Woolley: As they say, it's a custom more honoured in the breach than in the observance.
Jim Hacker: Oh really, Bernard, must you and Humphrey really always express yourself in this roundabout and pompous way? "More honoured in the breach than the observance"! Must you always distort and destroy the most beautiful language in the world - the language of Shakespeare?
Bernard Woolley: That is Shakespeare, Prime Minister.

William Shakespeare, like Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson is forced upon an unsuspecting and unappreciative youth. When I had to read Romeo and Juleit in high school it was quite simply baffling. Filled with words I had never heard, poems that weren't really poems, prose that didn't seem to be prose, and a teacher telling us How Wonderful Shakespeare was. Over the years I have gained a bit more of an appreciation for the The Bard's works.

I am rather fond of that whole little genre of Shakespeare plays rendered in alternate universes-Richard III was bloody amazing! And Romeo and Juliet as Mob families was a bit of fun as well.

But what about Shakespeare as old Will was meant it to be? Well, head over to Shakespeare's Globe Theater for a feel of the Good Old Days. For example Shakespeare's Globe Theater has the first Thatched Roof in London since the Great Fire. Lots of fresh sunlight for lighting. Some times all male casts are used, just as they were in Shakespeare's day.

There is the Globe Exhibition-which has been refurbished with most exhibits re-presented to improve your journey through the history of Shakespeare and the Globe. Find out about extravagant Elizabethan costumes, Renaissance instruments and how they were used, and the dramatic stories of the first Globe crossing the Thames, and the new Globe being reconstructed on Bankside.

This year the shows at Shakespeare's Globe Theater include the performance of his most searching tragedy, King Lear; his most wild and inventive comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; his most thrilling and savage satire, Timon of Athens, and his invention of a new form, the sit-com, in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

It's a very pretty building which brings back a bit of the good old days. While London is full of real old buildings, Shakespeare's Globe doesn't have it's going to fall over at any moment feel to it. This is another London Attraction that should be on everyone lists of things to see, well, if they like Shakespeare anyway.


Relax Max said...

There is a replica of the Globe in Stratford, Ontario (which town is also "Upon-Avon", albeit a very different Avon), just North of London - the London where my good blogging buddy Canucklehead resides. I didn't know him when back in high school we would travel as a group from rural eastern Michigan to Canada to see a play each year. Good, well-acted performances with fine and often famous actors. Top-quality Shakespeare may be enjoyed there.

In the movie "Renaissance Man", incidentally, the loser-troops are taken by Danny Devito to this same Canadian theatre to see Hamlet. As you may recall in the movie, if you saw it, the misfits are taught Hamlet, and memorize the "Band of Brothers" soliloquy/speech about St Crispin's Day . But I digress.

The Globe in Ontario is intended to be a replica of the original - theatre in the round - just like the old days. Except that it is fully covered from the elements.

I am not sure why I bring this up except that your post reminded me of those pleasant excursions to the grassy lawns and paddle boats on the Avon by the theatre. Thank you for that.

Relax Max said...

I should quickly add that I realize the St. Crispin's Day passage is from Henry V and not Hamlet, lest you and your readers think I am as ignorant as I appear to be on my own blogs. Sorry for the combining of the two things.

Descartes said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a well thought out comment about Canada.

I am reminded of some advice on how to answer essay questions: Say your essay topic is geography, you go home and learn all you can about China, then when the test is on Canada you say-Canada is a country which is nothing like China and then write you essay on China.

Glad I could help you relive those halcyon days-