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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Bankside Globe
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0921  Wednesday, 30 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 09:23:25 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 9.0912  Re: Bankside Globe

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 15:03:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0912  Re: Bankside Globe

[3]     From:   Drew Whitehead <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Sep 1998 09:04:42 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: Globe Season

[4]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 22:35:43 EDT
        Subj:   Groundlings, real and otherwise was Re: SHK 9.0908  Re: Bankside
Globe


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 09:23:25 -0700
Subject: Re: Bankside Globe -Reply
Comment:        SHK 9.0912  Re: Bankside Globe -Reply

I have been following the audience behavior at the Globe messages with
interest.  As usual, I have more questions than answers, but let's begin
with a story.

Eight years ago next month I attended a Hamlet conference in Berkeley.
The Globe came up, not surprisingly since Sam Waterston was there.  As
an experiment, the audience was encouraged to react while John Vickery
acted a speech from Hamlet.  Vickery, still the best received Hamlet in
Bay Area history, was encouraged to play to the crowd.

I didn't much care for the result.  Vickery was alright, but the
audience, as Sam said, overplayed its part.  It was unnatural.
Spontaneous, maybe, since we didn't know what Mr. Vickery would read and
our reactions were not written and cued, but the audience jumped on any
excuse to react.

OK, given that an audience has a tendency to do that if encouraged, what
do you do?  If you do not encourage a reaction, a lifetime of polite
theater going will tend to make auditors of us all.  Perhaps we need a
nudge to move us to behave like an Elizabethan audience?

Or not?  The reaction is self-conscious and not a natural reaction, so
it is not a trustworthy parallel for the reactions of the Tudor
audience.  Does that invalidate the experiment?

One solution is to not encourage a reaction, see if there is one, let it
develop over time.  But 400 years later, with some in the audience
possessing knowledge that the Elizabethan auditors reacted, are the
results a trustworthy parallel?

Given crowd dynamics, it is possible that the Elizabethan audience
overplayed its part as well.  If one member got a pretty good laugh, it
may have encouraged others to try.  If we had a time machine, would Sam
go back and accuse Tudor audiences of overplaying their parts?
(Successful hecklers in modern comedy shows may parallel that dynamic.)

I don't know the answers, but the questions suggest that some of the
comments on this subject may be a bit simplistic.  They may also have
been right.  It depends on the answers.

Mike Jensen

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 15:03:54 -0400
Subject: 9.0912  Re: Bankside Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0912  Re: Bankside Globe

William Williams asks for

> specific examples of the Globe management
> actively encouraging, demanding, hyping, etc.
> the audience's involvement in the performance?

Try Marianne MacDonald, 'Globe director looks forward to the bear pit',
The Independent, 2 August 1995.  As I recall, the title was an accurate
reflection of Rylance's comments in the interview-more or less `come and
pelt us'.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Drew Whitehead <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Sep 1998 09:04:42 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject:        Re: Globe Season

I have a friend who will be in the UK Nov-Jan, and she is very keen on
seeing a performance at the New Globe.  Can anyone inform me as to what
plays will be being performed during this period?

Drew Whitehead

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 22:35:43 EDT
Subject: and otherwise was Re: SHK 9.0908  Re:
Comment:        Groundlings, real and otherwise was Re: SHK 9.0908  Re:
Bankside Globe

Dear Prof Simone

I too thought about the 'speak the speech' references to the groundlings
when I was at the Globe. I'm not a scholar in this area, but would be
very interested in whether the uproar, gibes, provocations, etc of the
"general" varied considerably from play to play or were the ruder sort
always there and always inclined to join in the "action"? I would
imagine they were, but even they were capable of being moved, and deeply
so, by S's eloquence and poignancy into something approaching silence.

I somehow free associate to the tribune's angry remonstrances to the
crowd at the beginning of Julius Caesar in this connection-referring to
them as "blocks"  "worse than stones" or somesuch, chiding them for
their shallowness short memory re Pompey etc  similar stuff in
Coriolanus indeed very fulcrum of the play is C's fury at the
"groundlings"

Anyone with further thoughts on the subject?  hr greenberg md
 

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