Andrew and I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Pop Up Globe in Auckland, NZ.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, resulting in a number of Shakespearean celebrations worldwide. In New Zealand, one of the key celebrations is the Pop Up Globe, located in Auckland, NZ from February to the end of April.
Shakespeare’s plays, first off, were meant to be performed. It is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine that most schools insist on taking his plays and tearing them apart through reading them as books. I have a hard time imagining that Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings would have had the same effect if, instead of books or movies, people were forced to read the scripts.
In addition to being performed, Shakespeare’s plays were written for a different type of stage than what we generally see in modern times. The Globe theater is a 16 sided structure that seats approximately 900 guests, all within 15 meters of the stage. Some of the audience even sits behind the stage, requiring actors to turn and face the audience. Seeing one of his plays performed in the theater it was originally written for was an incredible experience.
The stage even features a ‘groundlings’ area, that in Shakespeare’s time would have been for the peasants and was basically a big party area. In the re-creation, the actors got up close and personal with the groundlings, making the performance come alive in a way that is not normally possible. With the close proximity to the stage, there is also no amplification used or necessary, creating a very intimate experience.
Andrew and I chose seats that were in the bottom tier in the front row, but to the side of the stage, which gave us a very different view from a normal production. I quite enjoyed it!
We went to see Tempest, a lesser known Shakespeare play written sometime around 1610. It is believed to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone and was quite interesting and entertaining. It features the sorcerer Prospero, the Duke of Milan, who seeks to restore his daughter to here rightful place by conjuring a tempest to lure his brother Antonio and the usurping King Alonso to the island where he has been banished. It is part comedy, part tragedy, and has some wonderful lines, including:
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
Watch out, he’s winding the watch of his wit, by and by it will strike.
I have always loved Shakespeare’s language and use of words. He is the master of language and crafts words in a manner that are both beautiful and leave a reader thinking. Not to mention that he is the king of insults.
The play was thoroughly enjoyable and made for a fantastic birthday present from my amazing husband! I would recommend anyone who has a chance to see Shakespeare performed either in the Pop Up Globe or in the Globe Theater in London to do so.