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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
Globe-ness
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0023  Monday, 15 January 2007

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Monday, January 15, 2007
Subject: 	Globe-ness

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Both of the newspapers I read had articles about an exhibition, 
"Reinventing the Globe" at National Building Museum as part of the 
Shakespeare in Washington festival.

Hardy

New York Times
January 13, 2007
Imagining, and Reimagining, the Globe
By Jeremy Kahn

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/13/theater/13glob.html?_r=1&hp&ex=1168664400&en=4fa5ef6861aebb22&ei=5094&partner=homepage&oref=slogin

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - Of all the debates about Shakespeare, it is 
perhaps second only to the enduring controversy over the identity of the 
author himself: what exactly did the Globe Theater, where many of his 
plays were first performed and his troupe resided, look like?

Did it have 16 sides or 8, 20 or 24? The argument swirls with all the 
passion of Stratfordians versus Oxfordians, who each claim the 
playwright as their own.  Over the last 200 years, attempts have been 
made to reconstruct the Globe on almost every continent. And the 
theater's basic design elements, such as they are known, have inspired 
loose architectural interpretations that range from the polygonal 
Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario, to a Globe made entirely of ice 
hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

The continuing fascination with Shakespeare's theater and the myriad 
efforts to replicate its spirit - and, in many cases, its actual form - 
is the subject of "Reinventing the Globe: A Shakespearean Theater for 
the 21st Century," an exhibition that opens on Saturday at the National 
Building Museum here as part of the city's six-month Shakespeare in 
Washington festival.

For the exhibition, a Building Museum curator, G. Martin Moeller Jr., 
commissioned five architects to design hypothetical Shakespearean 
theaters that would evoke the playwright's essence yet be thoroughly 
modern. The resulting proposals are striking and whimsical and sometimes 
just a little bit weird, not unlike Shakespearean drama itself.

Before arriving at these contemporary concepts, however, the exhibition 
walks through a history of the Globe and what can only be termed Globe 
mania. In 1599 Shakespeare's acting company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, 
paid for construction of the Globe on the south bank of the Thames, in 
what was then emerging as London's theater district.

[ . . . ]

The Washington Post
All the World's His Stage
By Philip Kennicott
Monday, January 15, 2007; C01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/14/AR2007011401289.html
The Globe, Yesterday and Tomorrow

The Globe Theatre, the site of so many of Shakespeare's theatrical 
triumphs, is a fetish object.

It is the Valhalla of Bardolotry, a place every decently educated school 
kid can picture in detail even if, as scholars readily admit, much of 
what it looked like is simply unknown. As a piece of architecture, it 
has been dust and compost for more than four centuries, but the Globe 
keeps recurring, being rebuilt and re-imagined, as if only there (or in 
some facsimile) can Shakespeare really come alive.

At first glance, the National Building Museum might seem an odd choice 
to be brought into the big tent of the Kennedy Center's Shakespeare in 
Washington festival. But, of course, there's always the Globe, and so 
the museum is doing its part, with an exhibition devoted to the old 
Elizabethan polygon, open to the air, on the south bank of the Thames.

The surprise is that "Reinventing the Globe: A Shakespearean Theater for 
the 21st Century," which opened Saturday, is smart, fresh and 
idiosyncratic. Perhaps because architecture is an art with real money at 
stake, or perhaps because architects are by nature intellectually lively 
people, the highlight of the Kennedy Center's rather diffuse Shakespeare 
festival may turn out to be this small but lively survey devoted to the 
larger idea of "Globe-ness."

The show is divided into two parts. The first is a historical look at 
Elizabethan theaters, and at the persistent fascination with re-creating 
the Globe over the ages. The second half shows the work of five 
different architects or architectural teams who were given the challenge 
of rethinking the Globe for a new era. Their contributions amount to a 
fascinating overview of the strengths and pathologies of contemporary 
architecture, including the strange obsession for getting people 
"engaged" with friendly or open buildings (as if cold and serene 
buildings, like the Taj Mahal, or dour, overbearing ones, like the 
Pantheon, weren't "engaging" enough). So the exhibition moves from the 
old Globe, seen in drawings and paintings and described in old 
documents, to the globe itself, suggested by one theatrical plan that 
would use Internet technology to link multiple performances of 
"Macbeth," around the world, together into a seamless, virtual show.

[ . . . ]

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
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