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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Re: Request for Opinions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1482  Tuesday, 22 July 2003

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:58:25 +0000
        Subj:   A little duel box

[2]     From:   Phyllis Gorfain <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:37:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions

[3]     From:   Virginia Byrne <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:47:09 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:58:25 +0000
Subject:        A little duel box

R A Cantrell (14.1472) says,

>[...]The atmosphere at the Globe is one of rapt attention. The
>audience, in the main, already knows the play, and in large part are students
>of the play, hanging on every word. The audience is making interpretive
>judgments. The naivete of a group of people coming together to
>be entertained by a largely novel experience is one thing the new
>Globe cannot reproduce (should that be desired.)[...]

Were such things here, as we do speak about? He must have drunken on the
insane beer they sell in the Globe that takes the wallet prisoner.

A substantial number of those attending the Globe often know little
about the play they are watching, care even less, and spend their time
ticking one more box on their tourist itinerary sheet while blocking the
view of others with their enormous backpacks. Nothing wrong with that.
Doubtless some pursue Shakespeare's brand of drama as a consequence of
their visit. But it rather gives the lie to the claim that the Globe
does not provide for group of folk having a largely novel (perhaps one
should say theatrical) experience.

A visit among and a talk with those who choose to plug in their Walkman
and hide it under their sweater hood in the hope that teacher will not
spot them but then give the game away by setting about playing football
with empty drink cans in the pit may correct his views. I find this
zestful audience participation far more galvanizing than the cemetery
scilens broken by the sweetie-wrapper rustling interruptions of
Shakespeare in a dimly lit auditorium.

These observations are based on the empirical evidence of attending the
place on a regular basis since it opened and also on engaging in
conversations with fellow members of the audiences; so no indignant
off-list e-mails please.

Best,
Graham Hall

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Gorfain <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:37:52 -0400
Subject: 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions

>>...I was wondering if the people on this
>> list could give me their impressions of the general atmosphere...

In Fall 2002, I taught an Oberlin-in-London semester, and, as part of my
course, Theatre in London, my 20 students and I attended two plays at
the New Globe.  We saw Twelfth Night and The Golden Ass in Sept. and
Oct. Many of the students, however, had already stood in line for rush
seats for earlier shows and later returned on their own for repeat
visits.  Some of them saw all three shows more than once! All of them
loved the experience -- they found standing amidst a very celebratory
and "rapt" (as one write just said) audience exhilarating.

In the Fall, many of the audiences were young -- often many American
college students, usually arriving with fine preparation for the show,
and extending the actors keen attention to the language and staging as
well as responding intensely to the strong interactive playing style
prevalent at the Globe.

Most of our students preferred taking a groundling position to sitting
on the benches in the least expensive part of the gallery, with poor
sightlines around pillars, which were the best seats we could afford.
From each other, they learned, instead, to arrive an hour ahead and
stake out sites at the edge of the stage.  Afterward they exchanged
stories about catching glimpses of backstage moments or noting specific
nuances of specific acting choices by members of the repertory company,
whom they felt they knew from seeing them in more than one show.

The inventiveness of the direction of the productions, the skill of the
performers, the quality of language in the scripts, and the experience
of participating in an audience-community, in which everyone is able to
see and enjoy each other -- accounted for my students' commitment to the
theatre and its work.  They found the intellectual interpretations both
subtle and lucid, the ideas challenging and rewarding, the sense of
community inclusive and sensitive.

Phyllis Gorfain
Oberlin College

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia Byrne <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 2003 15:47:09 EDT
Subject: 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1472 Re: Request for Opinions

I was enthralled when I first went to Bankside and saw Henry V...the
intimacy of it all.. the call to arms...the response of the French
people in the audience..it was all so alive..but as time went on....I
began to change a bit.....I have seen several productions there now and
there isn't that intimacy for me anymore..that confrontation.I think
that may be partly due to a director's approach but also to the change
of audience psyche. I have to ponder as to why that is so....maybe  we
are less innocent.... maybe realize that we are more effected by the
circumstances  depicted on the stage. Now I wonder...why ?why do we need
to experience the plays in their original venue?.. We are no longer the
same people and the plays do hold for us in OUR venues and with our
production values and approaches.

Virginia Byrne
Massachusetts  USA

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