The Globe Theater created by Jasline dimapilis, period 5

Right: Interior of the Globe; Left: William Shakespeare

THESIS

The Globe Theater is an imperative theater to this day and is broken into three different sections: the structure of the building as a whole, the stage, and the people who contributed, spectated, or worked at the theater.

Background Knowledge:

Quote #1: "... William was born the third of eight children around April 23, 1564, in Stratford, a market town about one hundred miles northwest of London" (Anderson 776).

Commentary: William was one of the many born into the Shakespeare family. He was born in Stratford. Shakespeare grew up to be the most famous face in literature. He is thought to be one of the most impactful writers in literature and drama today. All the information we know about him lies only in legal and church documents, his plays, and his theater.

Quote #2: "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 Bankside on the south side of the River Thames in the suburb of Southwark. Shakespeare owned a modest percentage of the theater and its operations" (Seidel).

Commentary: Cuthbert and Richard Burbage constructed the theater in 1599 at the Bankside on the south side of the River Thames in the suburb of Southwark. The two brothers along with Shakespeare joined together and used the timber to create the Globe Theater. Furthermore, this shows the history and origin of the Globe theater. Even through the beginning of its creation, the Globe Theater was already historical because it was made by the wood from the first playhouse in London.

Quote #3: "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).

Commentary: The Globe was burned down by an accidental cannon that was launched during a play. It reopened in 1614. A replica of the globe was made after the Puritans closed it down in 1642 and then torn down at 1644. This replica was made in 1996, 200 yards away, and opened in 1997. This shows that the Globe Theater was so loved and held so much history that people wanted to rebuild it.

Quote #4:"Shakespeare's plays are still produced all over the world. During a Broadway season in the 1980s, one critic estimated that if Shakespeare were alive, he would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for a production of Othello alone" (Anderson 777).

Commentary: Shakespeare's plays were so successful that if it were to be performed today it would have earned a large amount of money. This shows the success and impact of William Shakespeare, his plays, his theater, and performances towards today's art and drama.

Structure of the Globe Theater

Quote #1: "In his play Henry V, Shakespeare called his theater a "wooden O". It was 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 778).

Commentary: The theater was nicknamed a "wooden O" in Shakespeare's play Henry V, because of its large circular shape. The building reached three stories high. The center was an open are and the stage came down towards the center. This allowed the groundlings to observe the actors from the sides of the stage as well as the front. These audience members often watched plays in the rain, but also more commonly watched the plays under a hot sun.

Quote #2: "Public theaters were larger than private ones and held at least 2,500 people. They were built around a courtyard that had no roof. Public theaters gave performances only during daylight hours because they had no artificial lights" (Lander).

Commentary: During the Elizabethan Era of the 1500s, there were public and private theaters. The Globe theater was considered a public theater. It held at least 2,500 people, which was more than what a private theater contained. The theater structure was circular and created a courtyard in the middle of the building. This area, which contained the stage and audience, did not have a roof. Shakespeare's plays were only performed in the broad daylight because otherwise there would not be light to see the actors on the stage. These two aspects of structure tie in with the Globe Theater as a whole because it shows the effects the building has on its actors and the audience. Since the Globe does not have a roof, the people of the theater must come out to watch during noon hours and the actors must perform during this time as well.

Quote #3: "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" (Lander).

Commentary: Public theaters surrounded an open space in their center that was either round, square, or many-sided. This area was called the courtyard, or pit, and measured around 55 feet in diameter. On one side of the pit, the stage came out towards the center. The shape of the stage allowed the audience to stand on the front or sides of it. Theaters were usually three stories high. Each floor was called a gallery and reached 32 feet high. The measurements and layout of public theaters are both great factors towards why the Globe Theater was such a well-known theater to this time. Its unique shape and measurements held plenty of spectators, in which, led to a revolution of poor and wealthy audience members joining together to watch a play.

Quote #4: "Audience access was either through two narrow passageways under the galleries into the standing room of the yard around the stage or up two external stair towers into the rear of the galleries. Five of the 20 bays of the galleries were cut off by the frons scenae, or tiring-house wall, behind which the actors kept their store of props, costumes, and playbooks and prepared themselves for their performances" (Gurr).

Commentary: The spectators who came to watch Shakespeare's plays entered through two passageways under the galleries that led to the standing room of the yard around the stage. Those who were sitting on other levels went to the back end of the galleries and climbed up the external stair towers. Behind the walls of the galleries props, costumes, and playbooks from the actors were kept there. The areas where the audience sits plays a huge role in the Globe theater. Through these narrow passages, courtyard, and galleries, it is easily seen that many people, of the rich and poor, flooded the theater and united in one building as fans for Shakespeare's plays.

People of the Theater

Quote #1: "A few rooms were reserved for the most privileged on the stage balcony itself. Including the space for nearly a thousand customers to stand in the yard around the stage, the small Rose had a total capacity of about 2,400 people, while contemporary estimates of total audience capacity at the Swan and the Globe claimed 3,000" (Gurr).

Commentary: People showed their wealth depending on where they sat. The lower held the poor. The higher up the gallery in which a spectator sat, the more wealth was shown. However, the most privilege did not sit in the gallery but rather on the balcony of where actors performed. Through this, it is made clear that the audience was joined together in the theater whether rich or poor. However, the theater was constructed to break the audience by social status. The higher the person sat in the theater, the wealthier they were.

Quote #2: "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: Unlike the rich who sat down during performances, the poor people would often stand in the pit during the play because it was the only admission they could afford. The poor people were often called groundlings because of where they stood to watch the play. The courtyard was not covered by a roof, so when it did rain during performances the audience standing in the pit would of got wet since they were not allowed to cover themselves from the rain. Through this, it is easily seen that all people from the Elizabethan Era often unified for entertainment purposes.

Quote #3: "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 779).

Commentary: During this time, all the actors who performed in the Globe Theater were males. This shows that performers who acted at the Globe Theater could not be women. Therefore, women parts were played by prepubescent boys dressed in detailed costumes and wigs.

Quote #4: "Shakespeare designed As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Othello, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Pericles, and The Winter’s Tale, not to mention Troilus and Cressida and Timon of Athens, for performance there" (Gurr).

Commentary: The plays that were performed in the Theater was written by its owner William Shakespeare. Shakespeare contributed in many ways to the Globe Theater. In result of owning, writing, and sometimes acting in his plays, the Globe Theater is often known as Shakespeare's Theater.

Stage

Quote #1: "The stage of a public theater was a large platform that projected into the pit. This arrangement allowed the audience to watch from the front and sides. The performers, nearly surrounded by spectators, thus had close contact with most of their audience" (Lander).

Commentary: The stage extends into the crowd of groundlings on the floor. These spectators stood on both side and in front of the actors during performances. The audience on the floor had close contact with all the actors in Shakespeare's plays. The actors and the poor spectators are much more familiar with each other than the actors are with the wealthy people sitting up on the other levels.

Quote #2: "Since the stage was open to the sky, there was no need for stage lighting, There were very few sets (scenery, furniture, and so on). The stage was "set" by the language"(Anderson 779).

Commentary: The theater did not need many details to its sets because of its sound effects, costumes of the actors, and the key points that Shakespeare wrote about the scenery. Scenes followed one another quickly because there was no curtain to close or open. The stage was not drastically covered in details to set sceneries because William Shakespeare's writing was so well worded that the audience could mentally illustrate what the scenic looked like in their minds.

Quote #3: "A half roof projected over the upper stage and the back part of the main stage. Atop the roof was a hut that contained machinery to produce sound effects and various special effects, such as the lowering of an actor playing a god. The underside of the hut was sometimes called the heavens. Two pillars supported the structure. The underside of the heavens was richly painted, and the interior of the theater undoubtedly had a number of other decorative features" (Lander).

Commentary: Above the upper stage and the back area of the main stage there was a half roof. On top of that roof, there was a hut that held the machinery used to produce the sound effects and various special effects. Underneath this hut was also known as the heavens. The two pillars at this section were painted with great detail as if it was from heaven. The details, structures, and devices used on the stage were key factors that made Shakespeare's plays so marvelous. Without these elements, The Globe Theater would not have been as packed with people as it was.

Quote #4: "In the back wall of this stage was a curtained-off inner stage. 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 highwalls 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 778).

Commentary: There was an area behind the stage where actors got dressed, called the tiring room. There was also two curtained doors where characters were introduced and revealed to the audience, called the discovery room. Above the stage was a small balcony that could be used for different scenarios depending on the play. Actors who played ghosts or rested in graves often entered different scenes of plays using trapdoors that were placed on the floor of the main stage. These elements and effects added a dramatic effect to Shakespeare's words during shows. These elements improved the shows that the audience came to see which in result brought more and more spectators after a certain amount of time.

Works Cited:

Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.

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.

Gurr, Andrew. “Globe Theatre.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 May 2016, Accessed 30 Nov. 2016.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Seidel, Michael. “Globe Theatre.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Credits:

Created with images by kevinofsydney - "the globe theatre" • ms.Tea - "globe theater" • Marcus Meissner - "Shakespeares Globe Theater" • WikiImages - "william shakespeare poet writer" • OpenEnglishWeb - "Globe Theatre" • mckaysavage - "UK - 28 - Globe Theatre" • Magnus D - "Shakespeare Globe" • Lynda W1 - "Globe Theatre, London" • lostajy - "The Globe Theatre (Waiting for the Start)" • Boston Public Library - "Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies [Title page]" • CodyR - "Globe Theatre" • lostajy - "The Globe Theatre (Interval)"

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