Monográfico_Cervantes Monográfico Cervantes-Shakespeare - Page 63


 The Globe Theatre The two main theatre companies of the Elizabethan period were the Admiral’s Men and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Shakespeare was the head writer with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Their plays were performed at the Globe theatre, which was set up in 1599 when their lease on the Theatre in Shoreditch ran out. Shakespeare’s company built the Globe in Southwark on the south bank of the River Thames, recycling parts of the timber structure of their previous playhouse. The building was a large, round, open air amphitheatre, designed a bit like the Colosseum, but much smaller. It was a polygon of 20 sides, with a 100 foot diameter and three storeys of seating. It was able to accommodate up to 3,000 spectators, who were protected from the weather by a partial roof. Shakespeare was a shareholder, owning 12.5% of the theatre. The productions were staged in the afternoon because they depended on natural daylight. At the Globe, a 4lag hoisted up outside the theatre let prospective audience members know what kind of mood there would be in the amphitheatre that afternoon. A red 4lag meant it would be a history play, whereas a white 4lag stood for comedy and a black one meant that the story to be told was a tragic one. Above the main entrance was also displayed the motto “Totus mundus agit histrionem” – Latin for “The whole world is a playhouse.” Today, you can visit “Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre” in London, but it is not the original building. It is a reconstruction that was built near the site of the sixteenth-century playhouse in 1997. Shakespeare’s Globe burned down in 1613 when a cannon set off during a performance of Henry VIII set the thatched roof on 4ire. According to records nobody was injured by the 4ire, except for one man whose burning trousers had to be extinguished using a bottle of beer. The theatre was rebuilt in 1614, two years before Shakespeare’s death, with a tiled roof instead of a thatched roof (which was probably a good idea considering the ‘special effects’ involved). However, after having been closed down in 1642, this second Globe was demolished in 1644 and replaced with tenement housing. 63 www.londonpass.e ((