“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
Summary: Does the greatest playwright known to man need an introduction? Shakespeare wrote comedies, tragedies, and dramas for the masses. It should perhaps be noted that he wrote under the Tudor regime, so his depictions of the Plantagenet kings, such as Richard III, might have been somewhat biased due to his benefactors and patronage.
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The bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral were pealing beautifully as we crossed the Millennium Bridge, walking in the direction of the Globe Theater. Did theater goers in Shakespeare’s time hear the same bells on their way to the theater? Miraculously for us we arrived, with five minutes to spare, for the last tour of the day. Our guide took us into the theater where we sat on the wooden benches and listened as she described the various aspects of the architecture of the stage and building itself. Did you know that the entire building is held together by wooden pegs rather than nails? They’ve tried to stay as true to the structure of the original theater as possible (the original burned to the ground, this is the second). Modern day requirements, however, such as fire suppression systems have been added. I also learned that the Black Friar’s theater is Shakespeare’s inside, candle-lit version of the in-the-round theater, however, Shakespeare was not able to complete that theater until the ban on play acting within the city walls of London was lifted. I made a mental note to see a play there if at all possible. Our tour ended abruptly when the director preparing for the 2pm play walked to the edge of the stage and told all the tour groups in the audience it was time for them to vacate the arena so the actors could prepare.
Since we had eaten an early lunch at 10am and it was 2pm when we left the Globe, we went in search of second lunch. According to the iPhone CityMapper app, we were relatively near to a restaurant that had been recommended to us. Our path took us through the Borough Market, which was shoulder-to-shoulder people and food vendors! People lined the sidewalks, sitting on the curbs, stuffing themselves with food. Had we not had a recommendation I would have been happy to join them, as attempting to proceed through the crowd was nearly impossible! With hardly enough room squeeze to through the throngs, I wondered if this is what the Globe Theater’s standing room only area for the peasants had been like. People, food, noise, jostling… I was suddenly appreciative that theater tickets for seating areas is no long unattainable for the masses. In fact, later in the week we planned to go see a play if we could get tickets for a decent price.
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Suggested Related Sites
- Black Friar’s Theater, London, England
- Shakespeare’s Birth House, Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
- Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Oregon