How do you feel when you hear the word Shakespeare? Are you scared? Do you have any interest in his theatre, or have you already got bored? Do you know a lot about it?
Well, please tag along if you dare and find out some intriguing facts that you may not know about Shakespearean Theatre – and its links to London.
1. Shakespeare was not only a playwright: he was also one of the owners of a theatre, called the Globe. This theatre was located in London, on the south bank of the river Thames.
2. During a performance in 1613, the roof of the Globe caught on fire and the whole building burned to pieces. Thanks to a number of enthusiasts however, the theatre was rebuilt and was open again in a year’s time.
3. In Shakespeare plays, you can tell how a character feels emotionally by counting the syllables/beats per line. If you count more than 10, the character doesn’t feel at ease, is rather upset, and something troublesome is happening. The situation can get worse or more annoying as this number increases.
4. There weren’t any directors in Shakespeare’s time, so he also had to put every stage direction and instruction for the actors into the text. He gave a lot of detail: he even included how exactly the performers had to move on stage and what objects they had to use when they were acting.
5. Regarding characters’ appearances, actors didn’t normally use historically accurate garments. They chose clothes that were modern and fashionable at the time. So if they were performing a play about ancient Romans, they wouldn’t wear ancient Roman clothes: they would wear the clothes that people wore in Shakespeare’s own time!
6. Audience members weren’t always as well-behaved as nowadays. At the time, a lot of them were terribly grumpy and bad-tempered. They weren’t afraid to shout loudly during performances if something wasn’t happening to their taste, or to shoulder each other after enjoying several mugs of ale.
7. Don’t be afraid to read Shakespeare! Just make sure you get an edition that includes modern notes, making it easier to comprehend. If you do, check that it is from a credible source, so you’re actually reading the ‘real stuff’, and not a present-day playwright’s words. Enjoy Shakespeare’s juicy words, celebrate them!
8. In the past, people paid only a penny for a standing ticket in the Globe. This might not sound like much money, but wages were so low then that this was the amount of money they earned in an entire day! If people wished to sit comfortably in the balcony, it cost them a lot more, so this option was only available for the richer individuals.
9. You can visit the modern Shakespeare’s Globe in London today! And if you want to do this cheaply, you can get standing tickets for just £5. Watch out though – the weather might be bad, and umbrellas aren’t allowed. If you want to watch the plays in more comfort, you can sit on wooden benches under the roof for between £20 and £50.
You now know a lot of background information when it comes to Shakespeare, so why not actually treat yourself to a ticket and have the experience of a lifetime?