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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Wanamaker's Globe
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 532.  Tuesday, 7 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 Sep 93 13:24:00 BST
Subject: Re: Wanamaker's Globe
Comment:        SHK 4.0524 Re: Wanamaker's Globe
 
I'm often bemused by what passes for critical thought when the issue of
Shakespeare is raised. Bill Godshalk seems to think that so long as you make
a noise then this will be adequate compensation for ignorance.  I read
Terence Hawkes' contribution to this debate and can see nothing in it to
which I would wish to take exception.  All this has nothing whatever to do
with whether Shakespeare the man was a conservative or not.  It has to do
with the ways in which a body of texts attributed to him are used as icons in
our (i.e. British) culture.  There is an irony- lost, obviously on Godshalk-
in the fact that an American should wish to rebuild the Globe AND that his
efforts should be rewarded with a particular kind of royal honour.  On this
side of the Atlantic, where politics is not an optional add-on, some of us
find this matter interesting. There are, of course, further complications,
some of which I outlined in a chapter I contributed to Graham Holderness's
collection The Shakespeare Myth.  There is much more of an offensive nature
in the papers of the Friends of The Globe which I was shown by a former
member of the committee. Hawkes's pointing to the larger cultural issues
involved serves merely to underline the complexities of this case.
 
Michael Mullin's comments, however, are rather more disturbing. The Globe
Newsletters CLAIM universal support for the project, but I find that
difficult to believe.  Peggy Ashcroft may well have lay down in the dirt to
prevent bulldozing of the site; if she did then she may not have got the
location exactly right, and she can count herself very lucky that I wasn't
driving the bulldozer.  As for Mullin's punch-and-judy analysis of my
"narrow" and "parochial" politics, all I can say is that I guess from a
distance of 3500 miles it might look like that.
 
But what surprises me is that the non-political Mullin is really interested
in making Southwark's streets safe for tourists! "The Cut and the Southwark
area around Waterloo station have long been an eyesore- beset by an
underclass of beggars and homeless alcoholics panhandling (sic) for drink or
drugs".  Now I realize that it must be very incovenient for those of us
engaged in serious scholarly pursuits to be reminded of certain harsh
realities.  Anyone who suggests that you clean the streets by erecting
replicas of Globe theatres seems to me to be suffering from a narrowness of
vision that I could not contemplate in the wildest nightmare. I leave Michael
Mullin with this "fact"; that there is more of a need for affordable housing
in Southwark than there is for a theatre which, in its original guise, had
the good sense to regard itself as impermanent.  I don't know what "labour
cant" he refers to which allegedly kept "Maggie the Great in office".  Maybe
he's been following too uncritically the fulminating missives of Tory Central
Office.
 
As things stand, the best candidates for cleaning the streets of Southwark
were the roadsweepers who were so unceremoniously deprived of their depot by
the proselytizing zeal of Sam Wanamaker CBE and a bunch of actors driving
Porsches.
 
Cheers Michael!  See you in Stratford.
 
John Drakakis
 

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