The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0494  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

From: 		David Crystal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 10:44:57 +0100
Subject: 17.0481 A Roof on the Globe?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0481 A Roof on the Globe?

Well, regardless of the issue of whether the Globe was right to do it, I 
have to report that the opening night of Titus last Saturday was a 
triumph, judging by the eruption of applause from the full house at the 
end. The most striking feature of the production, to my mind, was the way 
so much of the action was moved into the yard. The opening political 
exchanges are carried out by the actors on moveable towers which are 
wheeled about and used again at various points in the play. The arrival of 
Titus carried by prisoner Goths on a palanquin is made through the yard. 
The hunt scene takes place to and fro across the yard. A large net is 
dropped down into the yard from the front of the stage to form the pit 
into which Bassianus et al. are thrown. And so on. It was the most 
creative use of the yard space I have ever seen. And the groundlings loved 
it. A message on a board warned them on arrival that they would have to do 
a lot of moving around, and they certainly did. Indeed, I saw a couple of 
them join in the hunt! I say 'them'. Next time I see it I'm definitely 
going in the yard.

To relate this to the topic of this thread: I think the roofing effect 
works extremely well. You have to realize that it isn't functioning on its 
own. The back of the stage is entirely swathed in black. As are the 
columns. Smoke rises in the yard. The triangles of material which form the 
valerium reinforce all this, especially as our attention it drawn so much 
to what is going on in the yard. To me they seemed like the fingers of an 
ominous claw, pressing down on the action - and on us. The audience wasn't 
allowed in until ten minutes before the play went up, and the initial 
effect was quite startling.  The general reaction I heard around me was 

So, if you get the chance, see it. I predict it will be one of the most 
talked-about performances that the Globe has put on, for its design and 
directorial innovation alone. I could go on about the excellent cast and 
the haunting music and the unexpected moments of high comedy and... but 
this would be off-topic. Yet I should at least mention them, for, after 
all, the play's the thing. And this is indeed a Titus to remember.

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