The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0625. Monday, 2 June 1997.
Date: Monday, 2 Jun 97 12:29:35 GMT
Subject: New Globe Theatre
All's Well That Ends Well?
Within the last week, a project first envisaged by Sam Wanamaker in 1949
was finally brought to fruition. An exact replica of the Globe Theatre
has been completed at Southwark, London. The opening performance was
Henry V and it is claimed that the costumes and props are the most
accurate since Globe II was forcibly closed in 1642. The dyes used in
costume production for the all male cast, indigo, weld, madder and onion
skin extract treated with urine and saffron, were all specially made.
Even the underwear worn by the actors was Elizabethan style linen to
enable them to appreciate the effect this had on movement. Real oak was
used for corset boning and real needle lace for collars and cuffs. The
armour has been made of steel and original Elizabethian techniques used
to hand produce shoes. The new theatre hopes to reintroduce *true*
period accents with the use of *proto-cockney* and strong regional
London accents. It is hoped to introduce Elizabethian and early Stuart
audience norms of heckling and informality by serving snacks and
performing some plays without intervals.
My questions are these:
Am I alone in wondering what exactly is the point in this seemingly
endless quest for replication and quasi authenticity?
The theatre of Shakespeare's day cannot be reproduced.
Is it not more important to unpack and understand the many layers of
meaning in Shakespeare's works than to produce what may be seen as a
Disneyesque Theme Park type event?
What do others think?