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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
Globe-ness
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0048  Monday, 22 January 2007

[1] 	From: 	Anne Cuneo <
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	Date: 	Friday, 19 Jan 2007 21:55:34 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0044 Globe-ness

[2] 	From: 	Charles Weinstein <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 20 Jan 2007 08:00:49 -0500
	Subj: 	Globe-ness


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Anne Cuneo <
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Date: 		Friday, 19 Jan 2007 21:55:34 +0100
Subject: 18.0044 Globe-ness
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0044 Globe-ness

I find this thread interesting. I have discussed several times with 
Peter McCurdy (one of the architects of the Globe, a specialist of wood 
constructions), and I know that they really worked themselves silly 
trying to recreate the original conditions. Of course nobody can tell, 
but there is one element that hasn't been taken into account up to now 
and which I think proves that we cannot be that far from what was: 
acoustics.

I must say I had many of the reservations Carol Barton expressed.  What 
utterly blew me away was going onstage and reciting a few lines.  I 
spoke in a whisper, and my companion heard every word up under the 
thatched roof. And it gave me a feeling - it electrified me. That's when 
I understood that whatever the accuracy of the reconstruction was enough 
to recreate the feeling. I have supposed ever since that the Globe has 
been reconstructed as well as it could. It concentrates energy on the 
players in a way that somehow makes them give all.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Charles Weinstein <
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Date: 		Saturday, 20 Jan 2007 08:00:49 -0500
Subject: 	Globe-ness

Some of the best Shakespearean productions I have seen were performed in 
theaters that did not resemble Shakespeare's Globe in the slightest, 
e.g., Trevor Nunn's Macbeth at The Other Place.  Conversely, I have seen 
Globe-like productions that were dreadful.  From which I conclude that 
acting, directing, interpretation and other values are much more 
important than theatrical configuration, a conclusion supported by the 
fact that good productions can tour to many different theaters and be 
good in all of them.

Of course some venues are simply inappropriate as theaters.  I have seen 
Shakespeare performed in a claustral, airless sweatbox whose enormous 
pillars blocked sightlines from every vantage; a drafty 18th-century 
Meeting House that swallowed the play while the audience squirmed on 
rigid, right-angle pews; etc.  It is also true that some of the plays 
seem better adapted to certain kinds of theaters.  From personal 
experience I believe that Julius Caesar works better on a proscenium 
than a thrust stage; and directors maintain that some of the plays do 
not lend themselves readily to the open air.  Beyond those concerns, 
however, theatrical configuration does not interest me much, and 
antiquarian reconstructions like the Bankside Globe do not interest me 
at all.  I would wish to see a good production in any reasonably 
comfortable theater that did not positively hinder the play, and that is 
all.

--Charles Weinstein

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