Drama Trip to the Globe Theatre, by Sere Oluwayemi and Flora Barber, Year 12
Year 11 GCSE and A Level students enjoyed a day at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London on 29 September. After a rather long journey we were greeted by an enthusiastic tour guide who led us around the theatre and told us the history and context of the Globe. This is the third theatre to have been created on the original site and it was built to the Elizabethan design. We learned that cashmere wool had been used as an alternative to the original hair of long haired cattle when constructing the theatre walls.
The original audience numbers were double those of today, and they certainly weren’t as civilised during performances as we are now. Once you were in, you were in, so if you needed to use the non-existent facilities - well let’s just say the ground was very absorbent! Plays were performed at 2pm, as was ours, because in that era there were many dangers at night and the only form of lighting was candles, which were used to show it was night-time. We learned about the use of trapdoors to show heaven and hell, with earth the stage in the middle. We then had a short time to view the exhibition as we were all hungry! Sitting by the Thames in the sunshine we relaxed briefly and ate our lunch before the performance.
The play, Measure for Measure, opened with a lively interaction between audience and actors, and as we were the modern day groundlings we felt very much involved! This set the scene and provided a historical context for the performance, where the city of Vienna was seen to be very decadent and the authorities wanted to clean up the act of the citizens. We had a synopsis of the play, but it was not one that many of us had studied in detail, however we were able to follow the plot very easily through the use of humour and clear communication with the audience. There were definitely some very memorable moments, some very risqué and others just plain old entertaining. The play dealt effectively with the themes of justice and hypocrisy. Being a groundling gave us a different perspective of the play and definitely a sense of involvement, despite standing for 2 hours. Concluding with a song and a dance, as was traditional, the play went from solemn to celebratory, sending the audience away feeling happy.