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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: June ::
Current at New Globe and Courtyard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0295  Tuesday, 9 June 2009

[1] From:   Steve Roth <
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     Date:   Friday, 5 Jun 2009 10:30:22 -0700
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

[2] From:   John Knapp <
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     Date:   Friday, 05 Jun 2009 13:52:02 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

[3] From:   Jeremy Fiebig <
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     Date:   Friday, 5 Jun 2009 18:14:54 -0500
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Steve Roth <
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Date:       Friday, 5 Jun 2009 10:30:22 -0700
Subject: 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

I often share Louis Swilley's disappointment. For me the most profound 
example was the Globe's Macbeth some years back, which used a "jazz" 
theme involving fancy 20's dress, a great deal of dancing, and -- 
inexplicably -- much messing about with . . . chairs.

I went to the "talkback" session with some of the actors following the 
performance, and asked about the chair conceit. The actors explained 
that they'd "workshopped" it up during the early rehearsals (presumably 
the only props they had handy were chairs).

Direct quote (well, from memory) regarding their understanding of the 
director's intention: "I don't think he was making a particular 
statement; he just wanted to do something different."

Success! My neighbor during the performance was a director from Colorado 
who had recently directed Macbeth. The first words out of her mouth on 
the play's conclusion: "Well, that was different."

I am by no means the first to pan this production, by the way. The 
response was pretty universal.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Knapp <
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Date:       Friday, 05 Jun 2009 13:52:02 -0500
Subject: 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

I saw the production of R & J on, I think, May 21st and Louis Swilley is 
too kind. I didn't know anything abt the actor playing Juliet, just that 
I could hardly hear her and could hardly grasp what emotions were being 
played in, for example, Juliet's famous scene of drinking Lawrence's 
potion. With a couple of exceptions, the rest of the cast were little 
better. The weekly *Time Out* gave little hint as to what was in store, 
and the other production, The Frontline, was, if anything, worse. 
Fortunately, it's now closed.  Again, *Time Out* was worse than no 
criticism at all:  'Che Walker's terrific modern play . . .  His 
language captures the contemporary demotic, but is elevated with 
Renaissance rhetorical flair . . . ."  If I had wanted to listen to a 
"bunch of kids" screaming in teen-argot, I  could just travel into 
downtown Chicago and hear it for free.  I heard NO demotic elevation and 
precious little rhetorical flair.

Re: R & J:  We paid L35. EACH for seats and another L8. sterling for 
cushions and back rests, or  --  to put in US dollars -- some $100.+ 
(approx) to hear an UNTRAINED actress?????   Apparently, the artistic 
director of the Globe has so little respect for visitors (much less 
Londoners who know Shakespeare), that "concept theater" can take almost 
any shape and the audience be damned. After several summer's experience, 
I am about ready to write off the Globe and its pandering to unlettered 
audiences and tourists who think they're getting "real" theater. It 
wasn't in May.

John V. Knapp

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Jeremy Fiebig <
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Date:       Friday, 5 Jun 2009 18:14:54 -0500
Subject: 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

I must disagree in part with the assessment of the Romeo and Juliet at 
Shakespeare's Globe by providing a bit of context. The Globe has not 
ever, as I can recall, offered "comfort" as one of its foremost 
features. I think one of the points of the Globe is to be uncomfortable 
-- so that you will move, stand, leave and buy booze, and so forth. Of 
course "theatre goers" and some of us more bookish sorts rarely or never 
do these things and the performance ends up drier and deadlier than it 
might be if we played our parts.

Having just seen the Romeo and Juliet in the last week, I can agree with 
any view that suggests the production lacked dynamics in voice and pace, 
but I found in it several strong performances, including the 
aforementioned Mercutio, a very good nurse, a respectable Benvolio, and 
a pitch-perfect Capulet. For Juliet, a 16-year old slated to enter 
university next fall, I can only say that the audiences were far more 
gracious than the critics (most of which have been generous themselves). 
For whatever her performance lacked in talent, it made up in charm, no 
doubt generated in part by the stewards and staff trying to provide some 
context for the performance.

If you're planning to see Stratford or London plays, I would recommend 
the RSC's The Winter's Tale and As You Like It as well as the Royal 
Haymarket's Waiting for Godot.

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