Shakespeare’s Globe has hosted a multitude of performances of Shakespeare’s work since it’s rebuild in 1997. Welcoming visitors from all over the world, this iconic site is a must see! This Fall, Mariko Cilley, Student Ambassador and Student Blogger, is studying abroad with the Southern California Foothills Consortium in London. Mariko is working on a Study Abroad Literature project and will be documenting her experiences over her semester. Recently, she took a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe to see the production of King Lear as part of her class. Read on to hear how she found it:
I ain’t about that Shakespeare life
Truthfully, I was nervous about how I would react to my experience at The Globe Theater. During the days leading up to it all I could imagine was me standing there bored out of my mind with an extremely present aching from my feet. All I knew for sure was that I had yard seats, which meant I would be standing for three hours, and that I would be watching Shakespeare’s King Lear. I was going to go in blind; I didn’t know if the show would be done traditionally or if it would be a new and different interpretation. Would standing be bearable, horrible or would I even notice it?
King Lear in and out of the classroom
Now, I know Shakespeare is known as a great playwright and all but his plays, let’s be honest, are just not that great of a reading experience. However, I soon found that the theater performance was amazing. Part of what made it a great experience was how the show aligned with lessons from theater classes. It was unbelievable that after reading, studying, and deciphering the play in class I was able to see it performed live at one of the most iconic theaters in the world. I’m sure many can agree that deciphering the language is what makes Shakespeare so hard…but being able to see it live created a new perspective to the playwright’s work that I did not have before.
Okay…Shakespeare isn’t that bad
Standing was not as comfortable as sitting. However, the show was so enrapturing that the discomfort was barely noticeable. That being said I truly believe the yard seats are the best ones. They are low in price (only £5) and there is incredible audience interaction. The actors in King Lear moved through the audience, exiting and entering by the various stairs and doors that lead out of The Globe. This interaction made the audience feel as though they were part of the show.
In my opinion, the key factor that made King Lear incredible was the unique perspective in which it was performed as it gave a different twist to the play. Although the Shakespearean language was still there, the play’s concept was vastly different from traditional. One of my favorite parts was the fight scene between Edgar and Edmund. Instead of having swords and actual hand to hand combat, it became somewhat similar to an interpretive dance. Instead of swords, poles were used and there was a constant distance between the two actors. Each blow was signified by different actors who stood away from the action, hitting a drum. It was so interesting to see a fight scene done so differently from what is normal.
Mariko Cilley is a Student Ambassador and Student Blogger who is studying abroad this Fall on an AIFS Customized Faculty-Led program in London, England through the Southern California Foothills Consortium.
Follow her study abroad experience on her Instagram.