I miss London and I want to share more of my experiences in the city with you.
Last year, walking the Thames River path, near Blackfriars , I saw a white building, with a roof covered in moss. I didn’t really know what to make out of it! Was it a small castle? Was it an arena?
These were the questions that were running through my mind when I noticed that many people were seating on the ground, in a cue, as they were waiting for something. I went and asked ….and it turned out to be a theater. Not just any theater, but Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, which is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre for which William Shakespeare wrote his plays!
The original theatre was built in 1599, destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1613. The theatre was rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644. This modern Globe Theatre is an academic approximation of the original one, it is considered quite realistic, though it accommodates only 1,400 spectators compared to the original theatre’s 3,000. It was opened to the public in 1997.
I’m a lover of arts, so of course, I wanted in! There were no tickets for that night, but I did buy a ticket for “As you like it,” for the following night.
I had no idea what to expect, but let me tell you this: I have been inside hundreds of cultural landmarks and this one is one of a kind. When I entered, I felt like a portal to another era has opened. Shakespeare’s era!
The theater has an arena where people stand and then there is seating across the arena, in balconies and galleries. All these have benches, wooden benches! I got one of those seats and I’m so happy I got a pillow, because….let’s put it this way, you need a cushion when you’re seating on a wood bench with no back rest for couple of hours…..
The play itself was a transformative, radical experience. Ever seen those movies where they show how old theater was done? Those ones where the audience becomes rowdy and occasionally some unlucky actors get pelted with rotten tomatoes? It’s funny, but it was just like that! The audience, including me, often exploded in ovations and laughs. But of course, there was no tomatoes or food produce throwing!
This is me, happy this place where past meets present.
After the play I went to their small library, which is filled with souvenirs and great books. I couldn’t leave without buying some, one book for me and two for each of my kids :).
I think during the pandemic the Globe is closed. They have performances online, but nothing is the same as watching a play inside the venue. I think the pandemic will be over soon, wishful thinking! So…when it opens and if you are around that area, go and experience. You’ll feel as you entered the somewhat more complicated emotional world of Shakespeare.
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