was the West End of Shakespeare's day, an area full of theatres
- not to mention inns, brothels and bull and bear-baiting arenas!
Globe provides a unique experience for audiences, where they
are as powerful - if not more powerful - than the players..."
Director Mark Rylance
the area has undergone an amazing cultural regeneration with the
transformation of the former Bankside Power Station into the Tate
Modern, and Shakespeare's Globe, built beside it and opened in 1997.
while its founder, the late American actor Sam Wanamaker (and dad
of Zoe), wanted to recreate the place where the Bard had premiered
many of his plays, this is no heritage site, but a living, breathing
artistic director Mark Rylance, it annually presents one of the
most challenging and imaginative contemporary responses to Shakespeare
and his work imaginable.
also the most democratic value in town: £5 will get you the
best uninterrupted, most interactive and closest view in the house,
as a groundling standing in the yard.
Globe," Rylance tells me, "is the most experimental space
in British theatre."
experiments that Rylance and his team make are always to do with
finding out ways to help the audience to enjoy and understand the
experimenting: artistic director Mark Rylance
can get at this in two ways: either, by giving yourself some discipline,
such as looking at what they might have done originally in Shakespeare's
time. Or by using modern artistic intuition and creativity to come
into this amphitheatre and use your own instincts.
perhaps theatrical instincts about engaging an audience haven't
actually changed that much."
so plays have been done in either contemporary style, or adopting
an 'Original Practices' philosophy that explores the clothing, music,
dance and settings from Shakespeare's time.
year's season will see a production of Much Ado About Nothing
performed by a company entirely of women players including
Comedy Store performer and actress Josie Lawrence as Benedick and
Yolanda Vazquez as Beatrice while the opening productions,
Romeo and Juliet and Measure for Measure, will be
performed by mixed companies.
the Globe the lights stay on throughout the performance
the Globe, as in no other theatre, the audience is visible throughout:
in Shakespeare's time, plays were performed in the afternoons as
they had to be performed by natural light.
to reproduce this, the lights stay on throughout the performance.
in the theatre, all the energy has to come from the stage,"
says Rylance, "Everyone else is in darkness, passive in their
seats. But here, the audience isn't divided from the actors by darkness."
of course makes them an integral part of the action and, he goes
on, provides "a unique experience for audiences, where they
are as powerful - if not more powerful - than the players. We give
form to their energy and imagination."
and Juliet is currently in rep with Much Ado About Nothing. Measure
for Measure previews from 18 June (prior to opening on 30 June).
Box Office: 020 7401 9919
globe: 2004 season
catch: mark shenton on london's first
nights each sunday afternoon between 2.30 - 3pm on 94.9fm