The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0418 Tuesday, 9 May 2006
Date: Monday, 08 May 2006 13:21:57 +0100
Subject: A Roof on the Globe?
The most recent edition of the Southwark Globe's mailing list contains
this piece of news:
"The Globe will put a roof on its famous open-air amphitheatre this year
for the first time in its history. The roof is part of the designs for
Titus Andronicus playing at the Globe from 20 May to 6 October.
"Designer William Dudley has taken as his inspiration the innovative
feature of the Coliseum known as the valerium - a cooling system which
consisted of a canvas-covered, net-like structure made of ropes, with a
hole in the centre. This roof covered two-thirds of the arena, and sloped
down towards the centre to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the
"Dudley's design for a black roof for Titus Andronicus will create a dark
and funereal setting for Shakespeare's earliest and most macabre tragedy,
echoing the play's themes of war and death.
"William Dudley is one of the world's most influential and innovative
theatre designers. He has designed more than 50 productions at the
National Theatre in London and is winner of a record seven Olivier Awards.
On Broadway, his credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Amadeus at the
Metropolitan Opera. His first film design, Jane Austen's Persuasion for
BBC Films, won him a BAFTA Award."
I feel somewhat dismayed by the thought that the Globe's raison d'etre is
so comprehensively nullified by putting a roof on it! The text of Titus
as we have it was not made for indoor playing and I wonder at the spurious
logic that informs this design choice: it's okay to put a roof on because
that's what the Romans did at the Coliseum.
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