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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: New Globe Theatre II
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0627.  Monday, 3 June 1997.

[1]     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 08:48:05 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

[2]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 00:32:36 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0625 New Globe Theatre

[3]     From:   Patrick Gillespie <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Jun 1997 19:45:36 -0400
        Subj:   New Globe Theatre & a Commoner's Response

[4]     From:   Ron Ward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 14:03:46 +1200 (NZST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

[5]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Jun 1997 09:42:57 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

[6]     From:   John McWilliams <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Jun 1997 12:33:08  +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 08:48:05 +1100
Subject: 8.0625  New Globe Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

Bob Stubbs asks what is the point of trying to replicate Elizabethan
acting conditions in the New Globe.  I, for one, have to agree with him
and I am sure we will now enter a period of debate which will mirror the
protracted debate about whether or not we should try to stop the Sphinx
eroding into the sands of the dessert.

The idea of erecting the "New" Globe is laudable, as is the concept of
producing plays on the stage in daylight.  But as for trying to
replicate the full theatre context of the original productions; surely
this is indulgence.  As Bob Stubbs suggests, surely we should be using
the theatre to help us unpack the language in its  original context.
This may help us in appropriating the plays for further "subsequent
performances".  Leave the Elizabethan costumes and the social accuracy
in the museum where is rightly belongs.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 00:32:36 +0100
Subject: 8.0625 New Globe Theatre
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0625 New Globe Theatre

I agree with Bob Stubbs.

The point is that The New Globe isn't an "exact replica".  Shakespeare's
theatre didn't have fire exits, for one thing.  Also the site is not
that of the original Globe.

Is it anything other than a piece of nostalgia?

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Gillespie <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Jun 1997 19:45:36 -0400
Subject:        New Globe Theatre & a Commoner's Response

Bob Stubbs asked:

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.

You ask this with a chip on your shoulder? What exactly are you
criticizing as the "seemingly endless quest"? It seems you're attacking
a school of thought rather than any performance at the new globe. If a
new globe is going to be built where the old one was, then why not build
a replica? And if one's going to build a replica, then why not try to
replicate costume and speech? Isn't the point to give the *average*
person a glimpse of what it *might* have been like - perhaps the closest
any performance can hope for? It goes without saying that the theater of
Shakespeare's day can't be reproduced. They know it. You know it. I know
it.  So, (and not antagonistically) I wonder... what are you *really*
objecting to?

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?

Again, your question (heavily loaded) phrases its own answer. Who would
want a "Disneyesque Theme Park type event" over the obviously nobler
attempt at understanding the "many layers" (except Disney)? It's clear
you think the New Globe is a "Disneyesque Theme Park type event". Why?
Have you seen the production or is your criticism of the performance
more platonic - hypothetical? Is it really Disneyesque? Are you implying
that any "reproduction" can't, by its very nature, attempt an
understanding of the "many layers"? Do you think this is unavoidable
when one engages in the "seemingly endless quest for replication and
quasi authenticity"? Why? Are you proposing that the New Globe's
approach might not offer its own insights?

I wonder what you think of the original instrument movement in music? Do
you think it's a bad thing or do you think it's different from what the
New Globe is attempting? Might this not represent the same "endless
quest for quasi authenticity"?

Your thoughts?
Patrick Gillespie

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Ward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Jun 1997 14:03:46 +1200 (NZST)
Subject: 8.0625  New Globe Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

Bob Stubbs query on authenticity (re the Globe) is one which has split
the Music world for many years. My answer as to what the point is of
historically informed performance is this:

The issue is not what the individual prefers, nor what works best in a
modern age. Both those arguments are subjective anyway. The value in
performing plays as close as possible to the Authors intention, is that
another range of interpretations is produced. For example, the use of
modern singing and dancing in S productions may work well, but We can
not judge S's genius by what other people do to his plays. We restore
old buildings with some taste if we follow the original architectural
concept. How can we judge the success of changes to the original staging
if we never see a reasonable facsimile of the original presented. We are
just judging one adaptation with another.

Of course we can not achieve an exact reconstruction, but that does not
mean we learn nothing by going as far as we can. The play does not just
reside in the language, so separately analysing its parts has to be
matched against an holistic approach, as this may well reveal something
that analysis will not.  Hope this helps.

Ron Ward

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Jun 1997 09:42:57 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 8.0625  New Globe Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

Although I share Bob Stubbs' concerns about 'authenticity' at the Globe,
I think they deserve some time to make some mistakes.  I saw last year's
prologue production of Two Gentlemen (modern dress), and was at the
first preview night of Henry V ('authentic Elizabethan'), and there's no
doubt in my mind which was the more interesting and successful
production - Two Gentlemen.

It's unfair to say too much about a production that's still in preview,
but it seemed clear to me that the Henry V cast were fairly
uncomfortable in their costumes (authentic Elizabethan underwear - no
Calvin Kleins, as the programme boasted), particularly Mark Rylance in
what looked a precarious, oversize helmet.  Winter's Tale, which I
haven't seen yet, is in modern dress.  With any luck they'll learn that
'authentic' costumes just don't work very well, and give them up.

I keep hearing rumours about 'authentic' accents, so perhaps they are
true, but nothing was in evidence at Henry V.  I don't think it will
happen - even if we could decide what an 'authentic' Elizabethan London
accent was like (and which register of which class accent are we going
to use?), and train actors to use it, the end result would be laughable.

The main thing about the Globe is that it's a great place to see plays.
It's fascinating to see actors trying to cope with the space, and to
hear what happens to the language.  There is a deal of pretentious
luvvie waffle coming out of the place (see Mark Rylance's comments in
the H5 programme), but both productions so far have made me think.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John McWilliams <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Jun 1997 12:33:08  +0000
Subject: 8.0625  New Globe Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0625  New Globe Theatre

Dear Bob Stubbs,

Yes, I think you're right, the idea of exact authenticity does seem a
little pointless. But we've got to do something to keep the American
tourists spending their money. And most expensive editions of
Shakespeare's plays do have extensive discussions of how Shakespeare's
company would have performed the play. Is The New Globe just an
extension of this important area of scholarship or is the meticulous
scholarly study of such things just another part of the very slick
packaging of Shakespeare that is essential to the Shakespeare industry?

John McWilliams
 

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