Classes started today at the Globe, and I am so extremely excited about the next two weeks!
Our group walked the 30 minutes to the Globe from our flat through London’s rush hour foot traffic. The first part of our day was largely an orientation. There was a welcome receiption with tea and coffee, had a brief orientation, and was introduced to Globe Education. We also got our first look inside of the Globe itself, and learned some fun tidbits:
- The groundlings weren’t called groundlings because they stood on the ground, but were named after a fish (that similarly left its mouth agape).
- Underneath the stage is called “hell” and is reserved for things of evil like the witches from Macbeth or Hamlet’s ghostly father. The stage itself is earth. The upper region is heaven (and yes, an actor can be lowered from heaven on a rope).
- There were gentlemen’s boxes closer to the stage with comfier seats and a higher price.
- There were lord’s boxes (think the same area as Juliet’s balcony). You would be behind the actors, so the goal wasn’t necessarily to watch the play but to be seen by others.
After a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant (Greek!), we got a chance to actually get up and learn some activities that we could take back to our students. My favorite revolved around dialogue.
Margo Gunn (previously mentioned in this blog) first lead us in a few of the theater games that she had introduced us to at our first workshop back in the States. She then got us working with Shakespeare’s text. We started with Romeo and Juliet’s first exchange of dialougue. She split us into two groups: a group of Romeos and a group of Juliets. We stood facing each other on opposite sides of the room. Dialouge in hand, we would read our lines, starting with “If I profance with my unworthiest hand…” To see what Romeo and Juliet were doing in this part of the play, she had us step towards the other group when our character rhymed.
This lead to a fascinating discussion regarding Romeo and Juliet and their initial reaction to each other. Romeo begins by taking two steps towards Juliet, but she responds with three steps towards him. Romeo, almost in shock, pauses. She pauses too. But then he advances two. She plays a little hard to get. He advances again and kisses her. In 14 lines they’ve gone from their first words to a kiss, four more lines and a second kiss. Who knows what would have happened if the nurse didn’t walk in after that. I loved this, because it makes reading the text physical. Students can see Romeo and Juliet’s reaction towards each other, which I think would lead to some lively conversations.
Our day ended with an assignment (“Remember Me” Day — more about that tomorrow since that’s tomorrow’s full day activity), and a walking tour around Bankside. We saw the original location of The Rose Theater, the original site of the Globe, and the site where the last remaining brothel (building still standing) was, amongst others.