Globe Theatre bella froh | period 3

Globe Theatre

Thesis: The Globe Theatre was a perfectly executed example of a rehabilitation of it's former 1600's model that includes three main subjects, of history, theater appearance, and acting companies.

Quote #1: "Globe Theatre was an early open-air English theater in London. Most of the great English playwright William Shakespeare's plays were first presented at the Globe. 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. Shakespeare owned a modest percentage of the theater and its operations" (Siedel).

Commentary: The Globe Theatre, which opened in London, was built by brothers Richard Burbage and Cuthbert in 1599. The Globe Theatre was constructed from an existing theater's timber. The Globe was built in an area called the Bank side on the south side of River Thames. Shakespeare's plays were mostly directed at the Globe Theatre, which was the sight of some of his most well known plays and his acting company. Shakespeare owned a modest amount of the theater and it's operations.

Quote #2: "The structure that enclosed the courtyard of a public theater was round, square, or many-sided. 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. The stage occupied one end of the pit. For the price of admission, the poorer spectators, called groundlings, could stand in the pit and watch the show. For an extra fee, wealthier patrons could sit on benches in the galleries" (Lander).

Commentary: The theatre was round or square and had high walls and three levels of galleries. The courtyard, also known as the pit, was around 55 feet in diameter. Rich people paid an extra fee to stand in the galleries while poor people stood on the ground for the price of an admission fee.

Quote #3: "It has been said that all you need for a theater is "two planks and a passion." Since Shakespeare's time "the planks" (the stage) have undergone various changes. First, the part of the stage that projected into the yard grew narrower, and the small curtained inner stage grew larger, until there developed what is called the proscenium stage. Here there is no outer stage; there is only the inner stage, and a large curtain separates it from the audience. The effect is like looking inside a window or inside a picture frame. This is the stage most of us know today. It has been standard for well over a hundred years" (Anderson 779).

Commentary: All you need to build a theater is two planks, they say. The stage projected into a yard then grew narrow and cut to a curtain. The curtain lead to a bigger, open inner stage. The stage is still in use today and has been intact for well over a hundred years.The first theater was small and eventually grew larger.

Top left: Globe Theatre, Top Right: Theater map, Bottom left: Globe Theatre (map) Bottom right: Globe Theatre layout
Theater Apperance

Quote #1: "Actors entered and left the stage through two or more doorways at the back of the stage. Behind the doorways were tiring (dressing) rooms. At the rear of the stage, there was a curtained discovery space. Scholars disagree about the details of this feature. But the space could be used to “discover”—that is, reveal—one or two characters by opening the curtains. Characters could also hide there or eavesdrop on conversations among characters up front on the main stage. The gallery that hung over the back of the main stage served as an upper stage. It could be used as a balcony or the top of a castle wall. The upper stage allowed Elizabethan dramatists to give their plays vertical action in addition to the usual horizontal movement. Some theaters may have had a small third-level room for musicians" (Lander).

Commentary: The stage is the main part of the Globe theater, or any theater and has multiple specialties as part of it's design. The stage had trap doors to symbolize heaven and hell. There was also a discovery space used to reveal eavesdroppers on conversation. The gallery was used for balcony scenes and some small third-level rooms were used for musicians.

Quote #2: "Unlike most modern dramas, Elizabethan plays did not depend on scenery to indicate the setting (place) of the action. Generally, the setting was unknown to the audience until the characters identified it with a few lines of dialogue. In addition, the main stage had no curtain. One scene could follow another quickly because there was no curtain to close and open and no scenery to change. The lack of scenery also allowed the action to flow freely from place to place, as in modern motion pictures. The action of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, for example, shifts smoothly and easily back and forth between ancient Egypt and Rome" (Lander).

Commentary: There was no set "scenery" or setting for Shakespeare's plays. The characters identified the setting by a few lines of dialogue.There were no curtains to dismiss current scenes to follow to the next. So one scene could quickly flow into another.

Quote #3: "Sound effects had an important part in Elizabethan drama. Trumpet blasts and drum rolls were common. Sometimes unusual sounds were created, such as "the noise of a sea-fight" called for in Antony and Cleopatra. Music also played a vital role. Shakespeare filled Twelfth Night with songs. In Antony and Cleopatra, the playwright included mysterious-sounding chords to set the mood before a fatal battle" (Lander).

Commentary: Sound effects were a part of the theater and it's appearance. They added for a dramatic effect and a good painting of imagery in the mind. Some common known sound effects were trumpet blasts and drum rolls. Although, unusual sounds were created. Such as the sea-fight noise in Antony and Cleopatra. Music also played an important role in plays. Music filled the play Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra.

Left: Globe Theatre empty, Right: Globe Theatre full
Acting Companies

Quote #1: "Each company was named after its aristocratic or royal patron. A company’s core comprised eight to ten ‘sharers’: performers, and sometimes writers, who bought into the company and shared its profits. Another ten or so actors, musicians, costume managers, a prompter, front-of-house staff, and so on were hired on contract, and paid very little. Some of the hired back- stage staff were female. Companies were rather unstable, with actors moving from one to another, and back again. When Burbage built The Globe in 1599 Shakespeare became a shareholder, making the sharers of his company – the Lord Chamberlain’s (subsequently the King’s Men) – majority owners of their own playhouse. Clearly this was a more stable arrangement, and it was copied by other companies. With up to 2,500 playgoers a day at The Globe, there was much money to be made. The company was later able to expand into the Blackfriars Theatre" (McEvoy).

Commentary: Each acting company was named after it's royal sponsor. The acting company consisted of around eight to ten sharers, performers and writers. The sharers were the company's leading actors as well as its stockholders. They had charge of the company's business activities. They bought plays and costumes, rented theaters, paid fees, and split the profits. The performers were actors in different plays. The writers wrote the plays for actors and acting companies to earn profit. Another ten actors, musicians, house staff and costume managers were hired on a contract and paid very little. Some females were hired as back-stage staff. There were also apprentices. The apprentices were young boys, usually those who haven't gone through puberty, which played women and children. Women were not allowed to act in the Shakespearean times so young boys with high pitched voices acting in place of a woman or girl or child. Companies were unstable because actors moved back and forth. Shakespeare belonged to an acting company in the Globe and became a shareholder. He made the sharers of his company owners of their own playhouse. He made a chain reaction of a more stable way of organizing acting companies.

Quote #2: "The acting companies operated under the sponsorship either of a member of the royal family or of an important noble. Most sponsorships were in name only and did not include financial support. From 1594 to 1603, Shakespeare's company was sponsored, in turn, by the first and second Lord Hunsdon, a father and son. The first Lord Hunsdon held the important court position of lord chamberlain until he died in 1596. In 1597, his son became lord chamberlain. Thus from 1594 to 1603, Shakespeare's company was mostly known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men. After James I became king of England in 1603, he singled out the company for royal favor. It was then known as the King's Men" (Lander).

Commentary: Shakespeare was apart of Lord Chamberlain's Men which was funded by Lord Hudson. Lord Hudson help an important position of lord chamberlain until he died in 1596. Lord Hudson's position was taken over by his son, who became the new lord chamberlain. After James I became the new king of England, he signaled the company for royal favor. He renamed it the King's Men.

Quote #3: "Shakespeare was unusual among Elizabethan playwrights. He not only wrote exclusively for his own company but also served as an actor and sharer in it. The close association between Shakespeare, his fellow actors, and the conditions of production had enormous influence on his dramas. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays with a particular theater building in mind and for performers whom he knew well. Each major actor in the company specialized in a certain type of role. For example, one played the leading tragic characters, and another the main comic characters. Still another actor played old men. Shakespeare wrote his plays to suit the talents of specific performers. He knew when he created a Hamlet, Othello, or King Lear that the character would be interpreted by Richard Burbage, the company’s leading tragic actor" (Lander).

Commentary: Shakespeare was a playwright in his own company and a leading actor, which was found unusual. He was close to his fellow actors. Shakespeare wrote most of the plays in certain theater buildings. Shakespeare wrote plays that fit each actor that he was affiliated with. Each major actor in the company had a certain type of role that they specialized in. For instance one played leading comic characters, while another played leading tragic character.

Quote #4: "We know that several years later, by 1592, Shakespeare had already become an actor and a playwright. By 1594, he was a charter member of the theatrical company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which was later to become the King's Men. (As the names of these acting companies indicate, theatrical groups depended on the support of a wealthy patron-the King's Men were supported by King James himself.) Shakespeare worked with this company for the rest of his writing life. Year after year he provided it with plays, almost on demand. Shakespeare was the ultimate professional writer. He had a theater that needed plays, actor who needed parts, and a family that needed to be fed (Anderson 777).

Commentary: By 1592 Shakespeare was already an actor and playwright. By 1594 he was a member of Lord Chamberlain's Men, which eventually was to become the King's Men. Shakespeare worked with Lord Chamberlain's Men/King's Men for the rest of his writing life. He provided the company with several plays, most on demand. He worked effortlessly to provide the company with top plays to earn remuneration. He would eventually become a top playwright and actor within his company, who the Globe owes for a large some of their income and legendary plays.

Left: King Chamberlain's Men, Right: "Twelfth Night" the play

Elizabethan Theatre Video

Works Cited

Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003.

Anderson, Robert. “William Shakespeare’s Life: A Genius from Stratford.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 776-77.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare,William.” World Book Advanced, World Book Inc., 2016, Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. Accessed 5 Dec. 2016.

McEvoy, Sean. Shakespeare: The Basics, 2000, p120-120, 1p. (Book Chapter). EBSCO. Accessed 8 Dec. 2016.

Seidel, Micheal. “Globe Theatre.” World Book Advanced, World Book Inc., 2016, Seidel, Michael. “Globe Theatre.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. Accessed 8 Dec. 2016.

Created By
Bella Froh


Created with images by JustABoy - "The Globe Theatre" • MikeBird - "william shakespeare statue shakespeare" • pcambraf - "Globe Theatre" • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL - "The Bear Garden, the Globe Theatre" • Dysanovic - "The Globe stage"

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