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The Globe

Worked at the library and then scampered off to see the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe. Last time I was here, I got to see a play, but didn't get to do the tour or see their exhibition. The guide was definitely worth the money. And of course, the play was splendid. When you see the context of the plays, when you see them done in the lighting, in the staging, in the costumes, it really makes so much of Bill's plays come alive.

One of the things I was most struck by, was something the guide said about the lighting. That since the plays were done at 2 in the afternoon, there is full daylight on both the actors and the audience. There is never a pretense that you are supposed to suspend disbelief, as there is in a darkened theater. The actors look at people in the audience directly and speak to them. Which makes the soliloquies "work." They are not internal monologue, but a very real explanation offered to the people sitting just a few feet away.

Another thing that struck me was the guide pointing out that one never is "fooled" by the boys wearing girl's clothes. The players all "read" as men to the audience. So when Viola (a male actor dressed as a woman) decides to disguise herself as a man— it's a man pretending to be a woman who is dressed as a man. Everybody gets that. It's really funny. Conversely, when Kate and Petruchio are hitting each other, that doesn't "read" as — a man striking a woman. The audience still reads it as, a man striking another man (who is dressed as a woman.) And that makes all the difference. At that point, the whole thing becomes really ironic. The guide said that the closest we can come to that experience is to stage The Taming of the Shrew with an all female cast. Then our modern eyes and sensibilities can "read" it as play, rather than violence against women. Such a great deal to chew on. Several more of the guide's tidbits are below in my picture captions.

Pretty Pics:

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version and enter a slideshow of the larger versions.

The Queue
The Queue
I'm about in the middle of the queue this morning to get into the library. Manuscript Room users are mostly the ones in the line.
Piano
Piano
St. Pancras Station has pianos every 20 or 30 yards. The sign says, "This is for you." People just stop and play tunes for a bit while they wait for their trains. Today this man was playing ragtime.
Southwark Tavern
Southwark Tavern
Southwark has always been just over London Bridge from London the town. Because the old walled city used to shut its gates at night, most travelers ended up at Inns in Southwark the evening they arrived. It still has a lot of old taverns and inns. (Bonus points if you remember that Chaucer's Pilgrims set out from the Tabbard Inn in Southwark.)
The Shard
The Shard
The pointy thing is called the shard. A team of women tried to climb it yesterday to protest Arctic drilling, but they didn't make it to the top.
The Site of the Original Globe
The Site of the Original Globe
Sigh. This is the apartment complex that sits on top of the site of the old Globe Theater (Shakespeare's home turf.) They can't tear down the buildings because in 1820 when they were built, they used concrete in them—that being the first time concrete was used since the Romans left.
Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge
On the Thames
On the Thames
On the Southwark side of the river. (See St. Paul's in the background?)
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Pottery finds
Mastiff Heads
Mastiff Heads
The bear baiting yards were close to the old Globe, likely that's why there are giant mastiff heads on the site of the old Globe.
Frost Fair
Frost Fair
And during the little ice-age, the Thames froze solid enough to have a horse fair on the river surface. (Not sure why there was a diorama of it, but there it is.)
Elizabethan Children's Shoes
Elizabethan Children's Shoes
Elizabethan Bottle
Elizabethan Bottle
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The New Hall
The New Hall
A diorama of the new hall they are going to build at the site of the globe. It will replicate a noble-person's hall that the players might have played at. It will seat 300 people and the performances will be done entirely by candlelight.
Shrine to Janet Arnold
Shrine to Janet Arnold
They revere Janet as the clothing goddess.




Queen Elizabeth Costume
Queen Elizabeth Costume
Cleopatra Costume
Cleopatra Costume
Cleo's Shoes
Cleo's Shoes
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Sword Fighting Lessons
Sword Fighting Lessons
Apparently a stage fighting workshop was going on at the Globe.
Tudor beams
Tudor beams
Notice the beam on the left is three stories tall. Most of these main beams are English Oak, but countries around the world donated an oak tree to be used to build the Globe, to support the reconstruction.
Plaster
Plaster
The plaster is lime and goat hair (among other ingredients). It is a little flexible and hangs together as the wood swells and shrinks with the changing seasons. The beams are all pegged, not nailed.
Victorian Ideas Prevailed
Victorian Ideas Prevailed
So this is what we "think" a tudor building should look like, so they've made it "look" right to us. In reality, the beams would have been covered over with plaster to prevent them from being fire hazards. The Victorians are the ones who removed the outer plaster (or stopped reapplying it) to Tudor building, hence why they now have their beams showing.
A quick look up
A quick look up
The tour guide was "staff" but not a professional guide. He seemed to be someone who also worked in various capacities. He had marvelous bits of trivia.
Erin and Elizabeth
Erin and Elizabeth
Cindy and Shelly
Cindy and Shelly
The Globe
The Globe
Our seats were arguably the worst in the place, and yet, we could still hear and enjoy the play, despite the awkward angle. No one in the audience is more than 50 feet from the actors on the stage. Very clever design.
My view of the stage
My view of the stage
The guide said the pigeons occasionally like to join the show. One flew down and sat on a large hat of a widown crying in Henry IV. The poor actress could not understand why the audience was laughing. In Hamlet, a pigeon accidentally fell into the trap door that was being used as Yorik's grave. Hamlet, without missing a beat, came up with the pigeon in his hands saying, "Poor Yorik, I knew him well." The bird then flew off.
Balconies
Balconies
We saw Midsummer's Night Dream which only used them for the musicians, but these are the balconies.