I was surprised how much I thoroughly enjoyed visiting
the Globe Theatre in London
(yep, even in the rain)

The theatre was exactly how I imagined
- in the round with an open-air thatched roof -

They are a little leery of thatched roofs in London
since much of the city burned down in 1666
due to those highly flammable sedge, straw or reed roofs
Therefore, the Globe has the only thatched roof in London today

The Globe is a modern reconstruction of the original theatre
which burned in 1613 due to a rogue ember
from a cannon used in the play 'Henry VIII'
Miraculously, no one died although the theatre was full

The current theatre opened in 1997

As the theatre is outdoors, performances run April through October
You can buy £5 standing tickets in the 'yard' or pricier seated ones
(standing tickets are uncovered)

We saw 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
and it was utterly fantastic!!
The actors were hilarious and talked so comfortably in Shakespeare's English
that I understood the majority of it

I now understand why they say Shakespeare should be seen rather than read

We toured the Shakespeare exhibit
which demonstrated typical Elizabethan clothes,
including the corset and 'bum roll' to make hips look attractively larger
- think exaggerated muffin top :) -

It was fascinating to learn more about the printing press of the time

When the printer guy miscalculated how many lines fit onto a page,
he omitted punctuation, letters, sentences, and stage instructions
to make the text fit the page

To think of the changes of meaning due to the printing process!

There also were some 'bootlegged' copies of Shakespeare's work
which cause scholarly dispute as to which versions are the originals

In the photo, see the wooden cases on the left holding the block letters?
Capitalized letters were held in the 'upper case'
Lower case letters were organized in the 'lower case'
That's how those terms came to be

Ink was made from a mixture of walnut oil, soot, and turpentine

Moving on, we also toured The Rose Theatre

This theatre also made a huge impression on me

Although it doesn't look like much,
it is an archaeological site

When it was partially excavated, 
they started to notice the wooden beams were starting to crack

So as excavation funds dried up,
they decided to flood the site with water to preserve it from more damage

The water is constantly monitored

The red lights are in the water and 
indicate where the structure walls are located
Otherwise, the room is black except for a few lit placards

Totally unexpected

Also unexpected,
my daughter wanted to pick up a few Shakespeare books
in the library

via Amazon

I love how literature is so kid-friendly here

My last 'Great Un-Expectations' was this guy singing
at low-tide on the River Thames
- I've never seen that before -

As there was no hat nearby to drop money,
I imagine he was just doing it because he could

He'd make an interesting Shakespearean character :)
Perhaps thou art a Romeo with thy modern lute?

- photos by me -

*Although the performances are seasonal, the tour/exhibition is available all year. If you visit during the performance season, take a tour in the morning so you can see the theatre. Tour tickets can be purchased at the door, but buy performance tickets well in advance. For more info: www.shakespearesglobe.com

(An unsponsored post)