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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: August ::
Re: New Globe; Groundlings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0813.  Monday, 4 August 1997.

[1]     From:   Ron Ward <
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        Date:   Sunday, 3 Aug 1997 10:49:35 +1200 (NZST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0808  Re: New Globe

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <
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        Date:   Sunday, 03 Aug 97 14:03:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: New Globe

[3]     From:   Virginia M. Byrne <
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        Date:   Sunday, 3 Aug 1997 16:07:23 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0808 Re: New Globe

[4]     From:   Tom Simone <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Aug 1997 15:08:23 +0100
        Subj:   Standing for performances, Globe and elsewhere

[5]     From:   G. L. Horton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 03 Aug 1997 19:36:01
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0811  Re: Groundlings


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Ward <
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Date:           Sunday, 3 Aug 1997 10:49:35 +1200 (NZST)
Subject: 8.0808  Re: New Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0808  Re: New Globe

I have been fascinated by the comments from those who attended the Globe
performances. It seemed to me that the mobile and transient audience
provides possible explanations for two things that have puzzled me for
some time.

1. Why did S insert so many almost stand alone scenes and one liners in
his plays?

2. How did the audiences acquire a taste for long plays of the
sophisticated sought, presented by what could only be described as an
intellectual elite.

This is not something we do well these days. Video and audio tapes allow
broken experience of the play. Presumably in S's day you could watch two
acts on one day and the rest of the play on another. You paid two
admissions, which helped with the financial side.

Is there anything in this? Would be pleased to hear from anyone about
the effective use of the hangings on stage as these were the subject of
a nation wide endeavour in New Zealand.

Regards Ron Ward

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carl Fortunato <
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Date:           Sunday, 03 Aug 97 14:03:00 -0400
Subject:        Re: New Globe

 >My recent experience at the New Globe was very positive.  I stood in
the
 >yard a couple of weeks ago for an afternoon performance of "The
Winter's
 >Tale" and, though I thought the production was stunningly misguided in
 >many respects, I enjoyed the experience immensely.  There were many
 >standers who couldn't stand still for the full three hours, but the
 >shifting and moving didn't distract me particularly.

I find it surprising that they chose "The Winter's Tale" for the second
performance in the Globe, since, unless I am mistaken, it was originally
staged at the Blackfriar's instead of the Globe.  I suspect that the
Globe is not very conducive to Shakespeare's romances.  They weren't
written for it, and heck, the place burnt down while attempting to
perform one there.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia M. Byrne <
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Date:           Sunday, 3 Aug 1997 16:07:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0808 Re: New Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0808 Re: New Globe

Having seen both productions at The New Globe ... I was enchanted with
H5 AND Rylance. I was as a groundling ready to do anything he wanted to
'get' the French and was also delighted with the audiences hissing the
French characters and the actor's response to the hissing. Interesting
choice to have Rylance speak the prologue and the drumming was magical;
on the other hand, tell me about the choices in Winter's Tale  -- rubber
tires, barbed wire etc. I thought the directing was terrible
poor...static..explanation..opera director..stand em there and let em
sing school of directing.. I was in the gallery for that one and
actually moved to the ground in order to be able to see the
statue...hated the production..thought the concept totally misguided.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Simone <
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Date:           Saturday, 2 Aug 1997 15:08:23 +0100
Subject:        Standing for performances, Globe and elsewhere

I have recently come back from England where I conducted a course on
Shakespeare in performance and attended three performances at the Globe,
two of H5 and one of WT.  we also saw LEAR  at the National, WIVES, ADO,
HAMLET, and CYMBELINE in Stratford.

A response could go on for many pages, but I offer just a few elliptical
comments.

As for standing:  three hours with an intermission or two is not much.
I have known, and have been among standees at the Proms Wagner RING at
Covent Garden in 1982, which totaled about 15 hours [granted that's a
rather boastful extreme].

Standing is a different experience for most playgoers.  As I understand
it, there are about 1,000 numbered bench seats and 500 standing places
in the yard at the Globe.  Standing places during the day are 5 pounds
sterling or about $8.

Part of the interest of the reconstructed Globe is the whole shift in
environment for play going.  We found day performances more fun than
evening one.  And a number of my students preferred the openness of
standing to the benches.  In addition to its historical aspirations, the
Globe and its current productions are an experiment in a different
theatrical dynamic. Clearly the audience is a more responsive and
involved group at the Globe than in most modern technical theaters/

As I understand it, actors and directors were taken aback at first when
preview audiences began spontaneously cheering the English and booing
the French in H5.

There is much to be reflected on here in terms of the acting space, the
relation to the audience, and aspects of the plays that may be
illuminated by an approximation of Elizabethan staging.

I would urge readers of the list to keep an open mind on these matters.

As for the productions, I found the H% quite engaging, if a little short
on stature for Rylance's Henry.  The WT had some excellent aspects,
particularly in Hermione and, I thought, Leontes.  However, I found act
4 distinctly overladen with curious production values so that the comic
dimensions of the play and youth were far too muted.

One parallel comment on the RSC CYMBELINE.  I found it quite
enthralling-with a strong Imogen, Edward Petherbridge as a magical
Cymbeline, and some wonderful production effects.  by the why, Cloten
was played by Guy Henry who was also a very funny Dr. Caius in WIVES.

Also worth note were an unorthodox but strongly acted HAMLTT with Alex
Jennings in remarkable form.

Also, the nearly impossible to see LEAR with Ian Holm at the National
was very strongly cast, although I found Robert Stephens' performances
for his last appearances in Stratford and London to be more fully
tragic.

Anyway, a truly thought provoking season in London and Stratford this
year.

Best,
Tom Simone
University of Vermont

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           G. L. Horton <
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Date:           Sunday, 03 Aug 1997 19:36:01
Subject: 8.0811  Re: Groundlings;
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0811  Re: Groundlings;

>Is it true that they make people stand for 3 hours?  How much does one
>pay for this privilege?

5 pounds, or about $8.  I would GLADLY stand to see a play this
inexpensively: almost any decently-acted play, almost any where.
 

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