The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0023 Monday, 15 January 2007
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Monday, January 15, 2007
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.
New York Times
January 13, 2007
Imagining, and Reimagining, the Globe
By Jeremy Kahn
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
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
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,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
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