Monday, 10 August 2015

Around the world: Seeing Measure for Measure at the Globe

Dateline: July 1, 2015
Place: The Globe Theatre
Time: 7:30 - 10:30 p.m.
Temperature: Still 34° C
Song of the evening: Summer breeze

Today is Canada Day and I am celebrating by going to the Globe Theatre to see Measure for Measure.The theatre is on the same side of the Thames as where I am staying and I am feeling so elated to be able to simply walk to this production. 

(Google Maps)
Sean and I saw the Globe's version of Hamlet in Prescott last summer so this is a nice full circle on that experience.

I don't take my camera--something I regret as I could take photos of the set, at least during the interval. But no matter as Youtube inevitably seems to solve problems for me and here is a some footage taken by someone who saw the same production.

And I shouldn't have eaten dinner: you can by a hamburger for £6 (a steal in London) fresh from an open bit barbeque in the upper foyer of the theatre.

I buy a program (a new experience for me and one I get used to while I am in London because programs are not free!) and learn a bit about the history of the current theatre as well as the play and players (all of whom are new to me).

Of course there is a celebrated American connection to the theatre. Remember Madame Mooch from Harry Potter (think learning to ride a broom)? Zoe Wanamaker's father, Sam Wanamaker, spearheaded the building of the Globe in London.

This review refers to the production as "Shakespeare without a safety net" and I can see why--the whole atmosphere, on and off the stage, is raucous, energized, crazy. I'm sitting up in the first tier (my favourite spot) and looking down, I see the wonderful thrust stage where so much movement is possible, on, off, around, over the space. And the play begins before the "curtain" rises ... our row is accosted by one the players threatening us with ejection if we don't "quiet down" and the action doesn't stop. Makes me feel part of the production and not just a spectator.

I am used to outdoor Shakespeare (the Globe is an open/enclosed space) with our own Ottawa-based  A Company of Fools Shakespeare company, but somehow the roar of Heathrow jets and the hot mugginess of the evening bring an added "je ne sais quois" to the whole experience

I come out into the lovely, darkened river-breeze air and there is no doubt about it ... the Globe is worth the trotting ...

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. (Measure for Measure, 1.4.84)

Google Maps. (2010). [127 Stamford Street to Globe Theatre] [Street map]. Retrieved from's+Globe,+21+New+Globe+Walk,+Bankside,+

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