The Globe Theater Aaren Lagman Period 1

Shakespeare's Globe Theater has a very complex and interesting history leading up to the famous playhouse visited by many today. The theater's construction phase, design, and effect on the actors and plays have all developed the special history of the famous Globe Theater.

"In 1576, outside the city walls of London, an actor-manager named James Burbage built the first permanent theater in England. He called it the Theatre... In 1599, Burbage's theater was torn down and its timbers were used by Shakespeare and his company to build the Globe Theater" (Anderson). This is a picture of the Theatre build by James Burbage. In 1599, it was torn down and used by Cuthbert and Richard Burbage to construct the Globe Theater.
"In his play, Henry V, Shakespeare called his theater a 'wooden O.' It was a large, round (or polygonal) building, three stories high, with a large platform stage that projected from one end into a yard open to the sky." (Anderson). The special circle-like shape of the Globe Theater caused Shakespeare to nickname it "the wooden O."
"In the back wall of this stage was a curtained-off inner state. Flanking the inner stage were two doors for entrances and exits. Above this inner stage was a small balcony or upper stage, which could be used to suggest Juliet's balcony or the high walls of a castle or the bridge of a ship. Trapdoors were placed in the floor of the main stage for the entrances and exits of ghosts and for descents into hell" (Anderson). This picture displays a diagram showing all of the different sections of the theater. These aspects of the stage were used during special roles of a play.
"In one interesting aspect the theater in Shakespeare's day was very different from the theater we know today. Plays were originally performed by the all-male medieval trade guilds, so all women's parts were played by boys. It would be many years before women appeared on-stage in the professional English theater" (Anderson). Until sometime, every role of the plays were played by a male. It was not until several years later until females were introduced to acting on the stage.

"The brothers Cuthbert and Richard Burbage constructed the theater in 1599 from the timbers of London's first playhouse, called The Theatre. They erected the Globe in the area known as the Bank side on the south side of the River Thames in the suburb of Southwark" (Seidel). From the remains of the old Theatre constructed in 1576 by James Burbage, Cuthbert and Richard Burbage constructed the Globe Theater for Shakespeare in 1599.

"In 1613, the Globe burned down. It was rebuilt on the same foundation and reopened in 1614. The Globe was shut down in 1642 and torn down in 1644. A reconstruction of the theater was completed 200 yards (183 meters) from the original site in 1996, and it officially opened in 1997" (Seidel). Over the years, the Globe theater had been torn down and reconstructed many times. The most recent construction, opened in 1997, is the Globe Theater that is open today.

"In most theaters, it probably consisted of three levels of galleries and stood about 32 feet (10 meters) high. The courtyard, called the pit, measured about 55 feet (17 meters) in diameter" (Lander). These are the dimensions of the Globe Theater. With these dimensions, the theater can hold a maximum of three-thousand people at once.

"Shakespeare wrote his plays to suit the abilities of particular actors and the tastes of specific audiences. The physical structure of the theaters in which his works were presented also influenced his playwriting" (Lander). Shakespeare's plays were written with influence from the Globe Theater's special circle-like shaping. He also wrote his plays in a certain way that perfectly fits the abilities of actors and what the audience enjoys.

"In October, archaeologists from the Museum of London found the remains of two walls and several foundation ditches from the Globe Theatre, which was partly owned by the great Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare and which premiered many of his greatest plays. Earlier, in March, museum archaeologists unearthed the remains of the Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare is believed to have appeared as a young actor and where his earliest works were probably staged" (Unknown Author). Before the Globe Theater was constructed, the Rose Theatre was discovered, and believed to be where Shakespeare's earliest works were performed.

"The theater, which presented Shakespeare's Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear, was demolished in 1643. At the site, archaeologists also found a large pile of crushed hazelnut shells. They speculated that Elizabethan theatergoers may have snacked on nuts during performances" (Unknown Author). These are just some of the many plays that were performed in the Globe Theater. Nuts were believed to be a snack that the audience ate while watching a performance.

"Flag color represents which type of play would be performed. Black stands for tragedy, white for comedy, and red for history. Typically the flag was in the center of the theater so everyone would see what type of play it was gonna be" (Robinson 28) Before a play would begin, a flag with a certain color would show up that represents what type of play is going to be performed. Black stands for a tragedy play, white for comedy, and red for history. These flags would help the audience know before-hand what type of play they will see.

"Theaters - like prisons, insane asylums, and factories for soap making and glue making were considered too noisy, smelly, and unsightly, and indecent to reside within the city walls. This one on the other hand had a nice environment and a clean feeling to it" (Robinson 21). In the past, theaters were considered to be too disgusting to exist within a city. Unlike the theaters in the past, however, the Globe Theater managed to fit in with the rest of the city, having a nice environment and a clean feeling with it


Created with images by jig o'dance - "The Globe Theatre, London"

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