Saturday, October 11, 2014

Et Tu, Brute?

On the south bank of the Thames in London is the Holy Grail of English teachers everywhere--Shakespeare's restored Globe Theatre. I had visited several times, mostly with students, but finally had a chance to see a play there this September.

First built in 1599, it was rebuilt in 1997, 230 meters from the original site.

It is an open air theater built of timber. The poor were allowed to stand before the stage for a penny; today the groundlings pay £5 for the privilege of standing for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This day, about half way through they were donning raincoats. If they had one!
The play was Julius Caesar, which I taught to 10th graders for many years. It was a hard sell from print and I really, really wish they all could have seen this production. There was never a dull moment and the time flew by.

The actors started warming up the audience before the real action started.

Except for the fact that wooden benches were uncomfortable and had no back support, I was happy to have a seat in the first balcony and not be a groundling. That's a dangerous place -- when Brutus stabbed Caesar, the "blood" drenched the face, glasses, and shirt of a groundling, a woman standing below the stage.
All too soon, the floor was being mopped of all the "blood" . . .

. . . and it was time return our seat cushions and go home. What a treat it was to check off this item on my bucket list: see a play at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.











  1. Cythia, the Globe Theatre in London is fantastic and it is a great opportunity to see play there. I love plays especially in GB.

  2. Former English teacher here - I've never even been to England. What's wrong with me? Thank you for such a vivid description!

  3. So glad you enjoyed the whole experience.

  4. Cynthia, a great post for a Saturday for us to enjoy. Thanks!

  5. Wow!! AND - "et tu Calpurnia".
    Unfortunately with the no roof - the famous Globe Theatre would have not been producing any
    Shakespeare when I visited. I can't recall from my secondary schools days of studying any Shakespearean
    plays that dealt with deluges????

    I think if it had been "The Taming of The Shrew" I may have got carried away and jumped on stage
    to do the "soft shoe Shuffle" like in "Kiss Me Kate" of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" - ha ha.

    Maybe in your teaching days of trying to get the students interest in the workings of "The Barb",
    a little of the "soft shoe" approach and rendition of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare", may have
    improved the interest of your students????

    My God - good old "Hughie" looked after you on your UK visit.
    You obviously had been a very "good girl" and were rewarded for your efforts???
    He bloody well has forgotten us here in Australia. The clouds appear and then
    they evaporate!!! - without releasing a drop!
    Aussie Col

  6. Oh I think it would be so much fun to see a play there. I wonder if this is the same place that was in the movie "Shakespeare in Love"?

    1. Interesting. I was curious so I just looked it up and the theater in the movie was a set built for the movie. Seems like they could have just used The Globe.

  7. Good for you! Looks like great fun to involve the crowd and all:)

  8. Lucky you to have a performance in the famous theatre, glad you had a seat and had to stand for 3 hours.

  9. I've never been but it looks great! maybe I would take my own cushion x

  10. Wonderful that you could be there, watch and listen. Hard to believe it was open air in England, for we are often hearing about the rain there.

  11. There were lots of people there! Glad you got to be there. Gosh! You have seen so many great things! I can't even imagine.

  12. Certainly sounds like an amazing experience :-)

  13. I have often walked past, but never seen a production there; yet. Your photos capture so much atmosphere...!