Thursday, September 05, 2013

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre & Exhibition - A Renaissance Adventure

On Thursday and Friday night, Janice and I had a luxury splurge weekend in London, as we stayed at the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel. It was fabulous to pretend to be rich!  I do have to say though, if I had to compare on luxurious hotel with another, the Park Plaza Westminister Bridge has just as good a view and rooms, but a much better breakfast spread! (I only know this from our Singapore Reunion weekend, when Kristin came to visit me for a couple days to London and graciously treated me to a night in a fabulous hotel). Our room included both a buffet breakfast and a three course meal at Chino Latino their chinese/mexican fusion restaurant.

Chino Latino - Noodle Dish
Chino Latino Chocolate Fondant

Janice and I spent Thursday night at Wicked, the musical. Now, you all know by now that I LOVE the theatre, but I have to say that Wicked wasn't my favourite. (GASP, I know). The story was interesting - the tale of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glenda from The Wizard of Oz went to school together and were friends and then became enemies - but it wasn't the kind of musical where I felt really attached and emotionally connected to the  characters. 

I'm also the type of person that rarely watched cartoons when she was a kid, so maybe that puts things into perspective...

Picture of a Model at the Globe Theatre Exhibition

The Globe Theatre was the highlight of our two days in London (for me, anyway). I had been wanting to visit it since reading Macbeth and Hamlet in a high school English class! Hamlet, of course, is my favourite (I even have a  tattoo with a quote from Hamlet on my back - I got it at LA Ink, click here for post). The exhibition at Shakespeare's Globe is fascinating - it covers everything from costume design to Shakespeare's life to London's development as an city in the Renaissance times. Janice and I discovered that we both see museums the same way --- we read (nearly) everything!  It look us over three hours to look at the exhibition and hear the 45 minute tour!  (They suggest a total of 90 minutes, haha - I guess we love to learn; ;)  Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures inside the theatre, because there was a rehearsal going on,  so the pictures about the stage will have to do. 

A few points that were REALLY cool:

  • The exhibition showed a 2012 world festival, in which "Shakespeare" companies from all over the world - Africa, India, China, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe - came to London to perform their theatre pieces and versions of Shakespeare - complete with songs and dances. It looked fantastic!  Apparently it was (so far) only a one-time festival, but they are considering doing it again, and some of the companies have come to London this year to perform again. Apparently there is Macbeth in Belarussian coming soon!
  • The original Globe Theatre was stinky and gross, as those who paid a penny to watch the plays stood on the ground (covered in nut shells), were usually drunk and used the same standing ground as a TOILET. Ugh! Check  out the Jores Hoefnagel painting of all the different classes of society
    Jores Hoefnagel Painting
  • "Globe" was a catchy word in Shakespeare's day, as it had recently been discovered that the world was not flat and interational trade was a new industry; hence, the name Globe Theatre

Sam Wanamaker 1919-1993

  •  Sam Wanamaker, who dedicated a lot of time to fundraising from the public to reconstruct the Globe theatre in the 1980s, sadly died before seeing its doors open.  (The original theatre in 1644 was burned down by the puritans, and the second theatre burned down due to an accident with wadding thown from a cannon catching on fire  in the thatched roof; luckily no one was hurt.) Sam always envisioned creating an indoor theatre.  I'm not too sure if this was in the original 1600s design, but it was never created. So, a new, indoor theatre that seats  350 people is due to open in January 2014, allowing the theatre to be open in the wniter  Tickets are on sale now!  I'm seriously considering buying myself tickets for my 29th birthday in Janauary!!!

  •  We learned how to dress up renaissance style, from corset to bonnet  (the corsets were tight, so they had great posture - no back problems in those days!)

Queen Costume. Took the actress 90 minutes to dress!

Remember my glogs?! I haven't done one for awhile, so for those of you new to Singapore Lizard, a "glog" is a blogging poster, on which you can add notes, quotes, pictures and stickers (like a real poster) and then embed it on your website. People can share, repost and comment on your glogs. So, please see the "glog" below for a step-by-step demo on how to dress like a Renaissance lady. (Note: if you're using a mobile device, this may not show up. Please click "View full site" at the bottom of the page).

Mr. Bean "Teddy!"

Also, one note - Janice was finally able to find her Mr. Bean 'teddy" ---one that she had planned to get on her school trip to London when she was 13, didn't buy and regretted...after a LOT of looking, we finally found a souvenir shop that had it. 

We LOVE London!

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