The Globe Theater is a revolutionary piece of history in the world of theatrics.Even with the changing times, the Globe Theater still runs the same. With ties connecting it with London’s first playhouse, Shakespeare, The Burbage Brothers, and the Bubonic Plague.
The Evolution of the Globe Theater
The Globe Theater has changed over the centuries, “The stage was surrounded by several levels of seating. 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). The Globe Theater’s evolution throughout the 1600s, till it’s eventual revival in 1997. It kept coming back even though the dramatic arts back then were considered immoral and faced excessive amounts of opposition.
Globe Theater stage (London England)
William Shakespeare was not the only big name working for the Globe Theater, "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" (Seidel). Globe Theater’s true roots to acting are shown here. Before it was the Globe Theater it was The Theatre proving that it was always meant to be a place for entertainment. Also the Globe Theater as an opportunity by giving extraordinary playwrights the chance to present their works.
Some of the Globe Theater's seating levels (London England)
The Globe Theater was not always the Globe, “Lord Chamberlain’s Men dismantled The Theatre and moved it across the River Thames to a new site in Southwark. There they used the old timbers to erect a new theater called the Globe Theatre. The Globe could accommodate 3,000 spectators, Shakespeare was one of six shareholders who signed the lease for the new site in 1599. He thus became part of the first group of actor-sharers to also be theater owners” (Lander). The theatrical company that Shakespeare was with dismantled “The Theatre” and moved it with the old timber to create the Globe Theater. Another example of the theater’s evolution is then need to sit more people than "The Theatre" originally offered.
The Burbage Brothers Contribute to the Globe Theater
Shakespeare was not the only one that went from "The Theatre", “For most of the 1590’s, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed in a building called The Theatre. The English actor and theatrical manager James Burbage had built the structure on leased land. Burbage was the father of the famous actor Richard Burbage, star of the Chamberlain’s Men” (Lander). The Burbage’s started working at The Theatre and helped dismantle it to erect the Globe Theater. After that they started working there with superstar Richard Burbage, who was already in with the Chamberlin theatrical company.
Globe Theater Stage (the top of the stage represents heaven, the middle represents earth, and the bottom of the stage represents hell)
Not only did the actors help build but the Shakespeare did too, "But the actors including Shakespeare himself, worked alongside him as it was in their interests to get a new theatre built as quickly as possible. No theatre meant no money" (Arnold). This shows how much Shakespeare was excited to get the new theater up and running so he could showcase his plays. The Burbages would end up acting in some of the plays that Shakespeare put on.
The Burbages also asked for the help of their most pristine friends"the Burbages were not working alone on the project. They had borrowed money and enlisted five influential friends - Augustine Phillips, Thomas Pope, John Hemmings, William Kemp, William Shakespeare - and formed a company of 'sharers'" (Arnold). This displays how serious the Burbages were to start stacking on their most elite friends to build their theater. This is William Shakespeare's earliest affect on what would become the Globe Theater.
Shakespeare Molds the Globe Theater
But Shakespeare did not enjoy all of his praise while he was alive because his more serious work was not taken seriously, "'serious' authors; such stuff was for relaxed entertainment and the amusement of common for. Poems however were usually aimed at the elite" (Davies/Stokes). This shows Shakespeare's range of writing even though all of his themes that was serious that was originally aimed at common folk. The writings were still high quality and went onto achieve praise.
Macbeth (one of Shakespeare's more serious works)
It is very tragic with timing of Shakespeare's works, "At the time when Shakespeare was feverishly writing both poetry and plays dramatists were not considered 'serious' authors;" (Davies/Stokes). This is why Shakespeare was not taken that seriously during the time that he was alive. After he died times changed and dramatists were praised, this caused many other dramatists to pay homage to him.
Hamlet (one of Shakespeare's tragedies)
One of the types that Shakespeare used for his later appreciated works was tragic storys, “Tragedy maintains a mood that emphasizes the play's serious intention, though there may be moments of comic relief. Such plays feature a tragic hero, an exceptional yet flawed individual who is brought to disaster and usually death” (Novick). Tragedy was a staple in Shakespeare main works that were shown at the Globe Theater. Such plays include; Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.
The Merchant of Venice (one of Shakespeare's comedies)
Another type that Shakespeare used for his works was comedy, “Comedy tries to evoke laughter, often by exposing the pretensions of fools and rascals. Comedy usually ends happily. But even in the midst of laughter, comedy can raise surprisingly serious questions. Comedy can be both critical and playful, and it may arouse various responses” (Novick). Comedy was a type that Shakespeare used to get away from all of his tragic stories. This genre is very hard to execute because the playwright has to get the audience to laugh, but also switch emotions quickly to little pieces of a tragic story.
Arnold, Catharine. Globe: Life in Shakespeare’s London. Paperback edition. ed., London, Simon & Schuster UK, 2016.
Davies, Gill, and Francis Griffin Stokes. William Shakespeare, 1564-1616: A Companion Guide to His Life & Achievements Together with Who’s Who in Shakespeare : the Characters’ Proper Names and Sources of All the Plays and Poems. New York, Shelter Harbor Press, 2016.
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” Shakespeare, William. World Book Advanced, worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar504520&st=the+globe+theater#tab=homepage. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016. Originally published in Shakespeare’s Life.
Novick, Julius. “Drama.” Drama. World Book Advanced, worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar166220&st=the+globe+theater#tab=homepage. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016. Originally published in Forms of Drama.
Seidel, Michael. “Globe Theater.” World Book. World Book Advanced, worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar226380&st=the+globe+theater#tab=homepage. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016. Originally published in World Book.