“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Now yes, this is the wrong play, but it does nicely allude to what literary genius we are referring to!
The other day, me and my sister when to see Antony and Cleopatra at The Globe Theatre in London. I love Shakespeare, and love the theatre, so was excited to see another of his plays come to life (there’s only so much you can do by readying aloud by yourself.) Despite this, I knew nothing of his play starring two of history’s notorious lovers but was definitely willing to give it a go.
Especially considering that the ticket was only £5.
May I repeat.
Throughout the summer, the Globe puts on Shakespearean plays, offering groundling tickets (a.k.a standing) for £5. This is an absolute bargain. And you must be thinking, there’s a catch? Right? And yes, I suppose there are. But is it worth it? Definitely.
Here are a few pros and cons about these tickets:
- Pro: The price is fantastic.
- Con: You have to stand for the duration of the play.
- Pro: You can rest during the interval and sit on the ground.
- Con: You have to queue a little so that you can get as close to the stage as possible.
- Pro: You have one of the BEST views in the house.
- Con: If it rains, (as the theatre is open-air) you are left standing there in the wet. (Only macs are allowed for protection – no umbrellas.)
- Pro: You have some cheeky little secret eye contact with the actors.
Now briefly onto the play itself. As all good Shakespearean plays, this tragedy ends in a way you would expect, following the story of Roman General (Antony) turned to a fool through his love for Cleopatra. There is a balance of love and violence peppered with a clash of the East and the West. The production itself was very dynamic, and they really engaged with the whole audience by using the whole of the stage. I did enjoy watching this play, but it doesn’t make it onto my list of favourites. But what I think really helped me enjoy my experience was the design of the theatre itself.
Being an open air theatre, there is a strong feeling of freedom that surrounds the production of the play. There is a feeling of anything-could-happen and a sense of improvisation if needed (even though no-one would change Shakespeare.) Because you aren’t enclosed within a roofed building, you are opened to the elements. Which, of course, could be distracting – but luckily for me provided the perfect real-life pathetic fallacy. As Antony’s power diminished, the sun went away and the clouds came out, offering a smattering of rain. (There was also the odd pigeon at the most dramatic points, just to add tension. If anything having no roof, somehow made the environment feel more true to life.)
At one point, Cleopatra even began talking to an airplane overhead, as it just happened that her line made sense to do so. (You had to be there.)
So in essence, in a really rambling way of saying so – if you’re ever around in London at this time of year, grab yourself one of those £5 tickets and stick it out just like them peasants used to. (It really is worth it.)
And one last thing worth mentioning – slightly similar to the Art Everywhere Project previously mentioned, there is a bench hunt called Books about Town going on in London, where 50 book bench sculptures have been plotted around the city. Each bench depicts a different story. This one was outside the Globe, and of course featured the one and only, Mr W. Shakespeare. (These benches are only around until 15th September 2014 – so keep an eye out!)