Classes finally started for me yesterday and I had quite an enjoyable afternoon getting to tour the Globe Theatre with my Shakespeare course! It is one of the few courses that I’m taking that is exclusive to study abroad students so I got to bond with some people who are in a similar situation as me here at Uni. Before heading to class I had to make a quick trip to the study abroad offices because I was scheduled for two courses at the same time on Monday morning, and unfortunately I can’t be in two places at the same time or teleport at the drop of a hat. Once that was sorted, out I made my merry way to class and got a brief introduction before departing off to the tube station to visit Shakespeare’s Globe. While walking from London Bridge over to the Globe, we passed the infamous clink which looked quite intriguing and reminded me of the medieval torture museum I visited with my family in Carcassonne a number of years ago. Ever since I became addicted to watching Prison Break and more recently Orange is the New Black I have developed a fascination with Prisons, so I thought it could be an interesting adventure to take a tour of The Clink in the future.
If you are ever in London and have an interest in theatre, I would highly recommend taking a tour of the Globe or at least seeing, or as they used to say during the Renaissance “hearing a show,” because the history and architecture is pretty spectacular. Our class was fortunate enough to get a tour of the Globe from one of the actresses from past seasons who had lots of insight into the history and preparation of productions at the theatre. The tour guide advised us to put our cameras down and absorb the surroundings of the theatre before taking photos because you notice things from a different perspective when you’re not looking at things through a viewfinder. Here is what the view of the stage looked like as you walk in at ground level.
I can’t wait to get to see a show here, and I kind of hope that it rains on the day I’m going to see Macbeth because there’s nothing like free theatre effects to enhance a story. (I’m actually serious about the rain!) It was interesting learn more about how social status played a part in where you sat at the theatre during the Renaissance. According to our tour guide, today, modern theatre goers typically like seats viewing the middle of the stage since we tend to be a very visual culture; however, during Shakespeare’s time audiences went to “hear” a play and the higher up you sat, the more wealth and social status you had. I’m curious, if you could sit anywhere in the theatre, where would you want to sit to watch a performance? Following the tour, we had a brief session with the actress on figuring out Shakespeare’s text and applying it to acting in a modern context. It was reinforced that listening to you fellow actors is key and that iambic pentameter is like a heartbeat for the characters in the play and any time this “heartbeat” is disrupted, it can give people insight into how the character is feeling. After our visit to the Globe, a group of people from the course and I decided to walk to a local used bookshop to pick up some of the reading material for our Shakespeare course. Of course on the way there we picked up some Pret to tide us over and give us walking energy! The bookshops were very charming and had huge collections of antique books, the oldest ones dating back to the early seventeenth century! (one of my friends here made it a point to ask each shop owner what the oldest book they carried was) I can’t wait to see how my other classes go and on Sunday I will be visiting the Tower of London so I will try to post about that as soon as possible!
Until next time,