2007-06-16 : Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.
I know that I've spewed forth a load of rhetoric about London not being my ideal of an environment in which to raise a child, however from time to time it occurs to me that there are things here which I desperately wish I'd had access to during my high school education, and one of those things was the place I went last night – The Globe. That's the Shakespearean theatre – not any of the pubs of that name. I couldn't work out if it should be called “The Globe” (ambiguous), “Shakespeare's Globe” (to me implies that other people had globes as well), or “Shakespeare's 'The Globe'” (definitive, but silly).
So we (K, one of her workmates, and HC) went to see Othello. In a rare display of conscientiousness (although more closely linked with me being fed up with forking out for tickets and not understanding a bloody word of what was said) I studied up on the plotline & characters before going. Actually that was K's idea, but I'll endorse it and promote it as if it was my own.
It's your standard tale of suspicion, treachery, jealousy, betrayal, ambition, ignorance, with a side salad of “being in love's a nice idea but it'll just land you in deep shit in the end”, and garnished with a healthy bit of bloodbath.
I enjoyed it immensely. As far as actors go, the only one I'd seen previously was Tim McInnerny, whose main pop culture contribution was playing Lord Percy in the 2nd series of Blackadder, as Iago. The bios of the rest of the cast seemed to indicate that at one stage or other they'd all appeared on The Bill. Not that I've ever seen it, but I'm sure that's the mark of a great acting talent, as they all did a splendid job.
So anyway, The Globe: amazing bit of work in recreating what we think the theatre was like in William S's day. Naturally there's a few modern day concessions, such as electric floodlighting, and fire sprinkler's protruding from the only thatched roof erected in London since the Great Fire in 1666. Upon entering the building you're confronted by the usual array of people trying to take money off you (programmes, drinks, etc.), and in this case, rental of cushions and seat backs. Lemme tell you now – the seating is authentic 16th century plank, and your arse will thankyou for having bestowed a cushion to it for the 3 hours+ that Othello takes to play out. Somewhat less authentic was the seemingly endless procession of planes tearing across the sky throughout.
I'm told that for the Genuine Experience of The Bard (i.e. forgetting sprinklers and passenger aircraft) you forego seating altogether and buy your 5 pound ticket to be a groundling – standing in the stalls area in front of the stage, for the actors to move among you and to brave the elements – “elements” usually being water, in the form of rain.
The play itself was marvellous and extremely well acted I thought – Roderigo being particularly foppish and providing well placed comic relief amid the evil machinations and manipulations by Iago. Othello himself had great presence, and Desdemona was the very picture of a dutiful and loving wife. It's a little weird that the play is called Othello, as Iago is the main architect of the events to happen – the moorish general is almost a bit-part by comparison. Maybe that was just down to direction. Either way – he'd have avoided a lot of trouble if he'd just paid attention to what his wife was saying.
Anyway, three cheers for The Globe! (Huzzah, etc.). Will have to go back for another serve of Bill's work soon, methinks.