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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: May ::
A Roof on the Globe?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0498  Thursday, 25 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	David Frankel <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 23 May 2006 17:10:08 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?

[2] 	From: 	Ildiko Solti <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 May 2006 03:15:20 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	a roof on the Globe

[3] 	From: 	Gabriel Egan <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 May 2006 13:26:26 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Frankel <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 17:10:08 -0400
Subject: 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?

I've been surprised by some of the comments implying that the purpose of 
the Globe reconstruction was solely (or even primarily) for exploring 
"original practices."

As Bryan N.S. Gooch makes clear in his review of _Shakespeare's Globe 
Rebuilt_ (http://www.shu.ac.uk/emls/03-3/rev_goo5.html) the purpose was 
(and is) "the use of the Globe as a working theatre and not simply as a 
museum piece destination for sentimental pilgrimage."

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ildiko Solti <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 May 2006 03:15:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 	a roof on the Globe

It is good news that Titus is done with a great sense of theatricality, 
as David Crystal reports. The question we also need to ask, however, is 
in what way the production is taking us closer to an understanding of 
the material conditions of performance that the Globe represents.

Ildiko Solti

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gabriel Egan <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 May 2006 13:26:26 +0100
Subject: 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0494 A Roof on the Globe?

David Crystal wrote:

 >The most striking feature of the production [Titus Andronicus
 >at the replica Globe], to my mind, was the way so much of
 >the action was moved into the yard.

Crystal goes on to describe in detail the dramatically effective use of 
the yard. In 1954 J. W. Saunders proposed such use of the yard as the 
solution to a set of staging cruces in the drama ("Vaulting the rails" 
Shakespeare Survey 7: 69-81) but there's no evidence that early-modern 
actors used the yard in this way.

There are good reasons to think they didn't, including the fact that the 
Fortune theatre contract (modelled on the Globe) calls for the yard to 
be "fenced wth stronge yron pykes" (Foakes & Rickert 1961, p. 308). 
Presumably these were to keep the yard audience from climbing into the 
lowest gallery, and they do not preclude the possibility of placing 
portable steps in the yard leading up to the stage. But these pikes do 
rather suggest that the yardlings were to be contained, not mixed with. 
If actors entered from the yard, it's surprising that no-one ever 
mentioned it in eyewitness accounts of the drama or in play texts.

For all the pleasure it gives modern playgoers (and the current Globe 
Coriolanus also pleases with its use of the yard) the practice is 
probably as anachronistic as the roof keeping the yardlings dry. Others 
have pointed out the silliness of this innovation with appropriate 
sarcasm, and I'll only add that it makes redundant the stage cover 
(heavens, attic, stage posts) that was doubtless invented to keep the 
actors' expensive clothing dry. If modern playgoers want to keep dry and 
be part of the action there are numerous other theatres that can satisfy 
them.  If they want to experience something closely approaching the 
original performance conditions, they'll have to wait for the new Globe 
regime to get over its insecurities about following the successes of the 
old regime.

Gabriel Egan

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