Monday 11 March 2013

The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour

So, I knew the Globe wasn't really the Globe, but I thought it was at least on the original site. It turns out that the real Globe was down the road somewhere but they decided to build the replica by the water because, as our tour guide explained, "we quite like being by the Thames actually".

That was the tour guide's biggest insight of the thirty minutes we were graced with her presence. 

See, it wasn't actually a tour at all. Rehearsals were going on inside, so the chirpy guide told us we were not allowed to talk or take pictures when inside the theatre.

So most of it happened outside of the replica Globe. We all gathered in front of a coffee stand while she explained a little --- and by a little I mean, very little, about the theatre and its history.  

Then we went into the Globe and watched rehearsals for five minutes, after which we were shuffled out; silenced and pictureless.

She explained a few more things, like where to find the gift shop.

Then, sensing we were all disgruntled, she allowed us to trundle back inside to sit and watch for five more minutes. The actors were gone, but a drummer was testing his kit as a another guy drilled something into the side of the stage.

Then we were bundled out into the cold. Tour over.

When you pay for a tour, you have a level of expectation, like maybe you'll get shown around. Everything she told us about the site happened outside, afterwards. Sure, it's interesting to hear about the origins of the pillars and the thatched roof-- but not when you're cornered off by the gift shop without even a photograph to refer to.

Maybe the tour is always this bad. Or maybe their freedom of movement is severely limited during rehearsals but they still want to make a buck.

I can deal with the fact that there is no evidence of Shakespeare's writing or authorship. I can handle the fact that this incarnation of the Globe is a fake, in a random spot, based on a mere guess as to what the Globe was like. I would be able to deal with all of that stuff, if they would at least give us a decent tour. If we could at least ask questions inside the theatre. 

Apparently, back in the Shakespeare's heyday, entrance to see a play cost one penny. In this day and age, of course, you can't expect to see a performance for that price. But for the Globe tour? It's probably about right. 

Care to share?

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