Saturday, January 13, 2007
Will The Real Globe Please Stand Up?
An interesting NYTimes article about Shakespeare's Globe theater, the academic debate surrounding what it looked like and the many Globes built or concevied around the world today. My favorite is surely the mobile one mounted on a tractor trailer and dubbed the GlobeTrotter. Perhaps the most successful is in London near the original site of the Globe just near the National. It's open-air and thatched, with a huge space for Groundlings (where people stand) and tiered seats in a semi-circle facing the stage. I have more fondness for that space (and its original artistic director Mark Rylance) than any other theater in the world. For 5 pounds (less than $10), you can arrive modestly early and be standing right in front of the raised stage. You get an intimate byplay with the actors, an appropriate back-and-forth between the cast and the audience (with occasional booing and hissing) that would be impossible or maddening almost anywhere else, and with minimal sets and props, everyone is forced happily to rely on their imagination. Forget the scholarship, this alone helps you feel what it might have been like to see a play centuries ago.