Globe Education Academy: Day 10

Our last day at the Globe started with iambic pentameter.

Margo had us start by galloping around the rehearsal space.  Literally.  Gallop to the left!  Gallop to the right!  Gallop some more!  And now lay on the ground and feel your heart.  She had us tap out our heartbeat on the ground as we lay there.  She explained that there is a rhythm in our bodies, one that we have heard our entire life.  This is the rhythm that Shakespeare chooses to use in his writing.  She then had us stand and stamp out our heart beat in unison.  dum DUM dum DUM dum DUM dum DUM dum DUM.

She then told us, “We stress the words we want the world to hear.  Let’s use that sentence.”  So we stamped our foot on the stressed syllables: “We stress the words we want the world to hear.”  Then, we looked at lines from Shakespeare, again stamping our foot on the stressed syllables. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” “But hark! What light through yonder window breaks?”  

Margo explained that it’s much more interesting to look at when lines deviate from iambic pentameter, and to look at why.  She passed out Macbeth’s famous “Is this a dagger which I see before me” soliloquy.  Each of us were given a line from the soliloquy.  Going around the circle one-by-one, we would each read our line, stamping together on the stressed syllables, and determine whether it was in iambic pentameter or not.  If it was too long, we would stand.  If it was perfect, we would kneel.  It if was too short, we would lay down.  In the end, it created a cardiograph of sorts.  This provided us a visual that we could use to look at the soliloquy and start to analyze why Macbeth would deviate from iambic pentameter.

To provide a second way to analyze what’s going on in Macbeth’s mind as he speaks, Margo had us read the soliloquy while walking, changing direction on the full stops.  She then had us repeat the process, but change direction at all punctuation.

The rest of the day involved logistics or saying goodbye.  We met for awhile to finalize plans for our students’ performance of Taming of the Shrew.  We finalized which teachers would be in charge of what pages of our script.  We discussed logistics like how long we get, how many students we can bring, costumes, etc.  We then completed final reflections.

P1080519We had had a brief amount of free time before celebrating our accomplishments with a reception at Theo’s and a final banquet at The Swan at the Globe.  Later one of these receptions, I would learn that David Tennant was married at the Globe and that his reception was at The Swan.  But before that knowledge was bestowed upon me, a group of us decided to take one last walk along the Thames, enjoying the damp London weather and the view of St. Paul’s.

Later that evening, we would take one final walk home from the Globe.  The Millennium and Blackfriar’s bridges were lit up.  The dome of St. Paul’s was likewise aglow.  It was a Friday night, so restaurants, pubs, and cafes were still bustling at that late hour as we made our way back to Farringdon Rd.  It was the perfect walk back on our very last evening in London.

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Globe Education Academy: Day 9

Before classes started on Day 9, I grabbed a mocha from Paul and walked with Sue and Rhiann to Borough Market.  Works cannot express how much I love Borough Market.  I bought tea for my husband, discovered Spice Mountain and wanted to stay there all day, tasted Rhiann’s chocolate croissant… And then realized that we had to get ourselves to class.

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We began with a debrief of our performances from the night before, and was followed with some practice at cutting scenes.  In November, our students will be putting on a production of Taming of the Shrew in Mondavi’s Studio Theater.  We have been told that each of our scenes (remember, we’ve divided Shew into twelve scenes) can take no more than 5 minutes.  This means we will need to cut–a lot.

P1080479To practice, Margo gave us the wedding scene from Much Ado About Nothing, where Hero’s chastity is called into question.  We first divided it into mini scenes, and then as small groups chose one of those scenes to cut.  We then “performed” each of our cuts to the rest of the group.  Margo’s consistent feedback was that we did a great job cutting, but that we probably could have cut a little more.

This idea of “cutting” Shakespeare was, well, freeing.  Sometimes I think we look at Shakespeare and think, “Oh.  He’s cannon.  He cannot be touched.”  But really, who says that you can’t pare things down and make it more accessible for your kids–especially if they’ve never read Shakespeare before?  Kids need to feel success with something small, before they can build up to something larger.  If that means cutting a scene and looking at just that small part in depth, then so be it!

After quickly eating my Waitrose salad, I ran back to Borough Market with the rest of the group.  We picked up some French cheese, yogurt, and strawberries to have as snacks during the performance of The Tempest.  I also tasted Helen’s toasted cheese sandwich.  Apparently, it’s the “best toasted cheese sandwich in the world,” made by Kappacasein.  (It was pretty amazing–and I’m not even a huge fan of melted cheese.)

Photo courtesy of Kelley

Photo courtesy of Kelley

Then we made our way to the Globe for a reward: The Tempest.  This, hands down, was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.  They really made use of the entire theater.  A character descended from heaven.  Another came up from under the stage (hell).  Characters not only entered through the groundlings, but could be seen in the balconies listening in on conversations.  When some characters stood in the upper galleries and threw out flower petals that rained down upon the audience, I was entranced!  It even rained during the performance, and I know this sounds silly but I felt like that made it more of an authentic experience.

The actor who played Ariel was Colin Morgan, Merlin on the TV show “Merlin.”  I was sitting behind a few rows of British schoolboys, and when he appeared on the stage one of them excitedly turned to his friends and whispered, “Is that Merlin?!”  To make my day even more complete, a young woman–a groundling dressed in a bright pink shirt–would sigh and bat her eyes at Mr. Morgan every time he came on stage.  For a while I forgot to pay attention to the performance and just watched her for awhile.  She was rather amusing.

I had tentatively planned to stand in line after The Tempest to see if I could get return tickets for Macbeth (which would be performed that evening), but after such a long week I could feel the exhaustion hitting me.  I didn’t even walk home as usual.  I hopped on the bus.  Thank goodness Rhiann was with me and kept me talking, because in spite of that I felt myself falling asleep.

If she hadn’t been there this would be a completely different blog post, where I discussed waking up somewhere in the middle of London on a double decker bus and having to find my way home.  But alas (for you), I lived the more boring version: doing laundry, packing, eating Waitrose’s tomato and basil (with a touch of balsamic vinegar!) soup, enjoying a snack at the Betsy Trotwood, reading, and sleep.

Photo Post #4

These photos are from our first day at the Globe.  First, there are photos of the Globe itself, and then photos from our walking tour of Bankside with Patrick Spottiswoode.  These include the site of the original Globe Theater, Winchester Palace, the Golden Hinde II, Southwark Cathedral, and The George.

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Photo Post #3

The following photos were taken the day before the Globe Education Academy started.  We did a little exploration of the area, walking to the Globe so that we would know how to get to “school” the next day.  Included here are photos of St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate, the Old Bailey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe, the Tate Modern, and Smithfield Market.

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Planning to Travel

P1070705 It came!

I’ve been excitedly perusing my new Fodor’s travel guide ever since my local UPS man left it on my doorstep Monday.  I’ll have a few days in London before my residency at The Globe begins in June, and I’ll be using the time to explore as I adjust to eight hour time change.

I’ve only traveled to London once in my life, and I’m not sure if my stay really counts.  I was traveling to Uganda, and had an eight hour layover on the trip over, and an overnight stay while heading home.  I honestly remember three things:

  • Being told to “mind the gap”
  • Big Ben
  • The tiny fan in my hotel room that tried so very hard to cool me down, but colossally failed.

That said, I’m excited to finally get a chance to really explore London.  The question is: Where do I go?  The British Museum is definitely on my list of places to visit, but honestly, I’m overwhelmed.  With just three days completely to myself, how I do I even begin to choose what to do?

So I’m asking you: What are the “must see” places for a basically-first-time visit to London?  I’m definitely taking suggestions.