At the end of Part 1 we had gone to have lunch, excited to have been able to get very last minute tickets to see the matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The story continues…
After our excellent lunch we made our way across the forecourt and into the theatre. Climbing up three floors, we located our seats in the front row just across from the stage. We could not have had better seats. Well, they would have been better if they had been comfortably padded and cushioned, but in the interests of authenticity we sat on narrow wooden benches, with backs to them so we could at least lean back if necessary. The performance was a few minutes away from starting when we took our seats, and some musicians were on the stage to entertain the waiting crowd.
This photo gives you an idea of the seating arrangements. We were in one of the ‘bays’ that you can see and were safe from the weather under a thatched roof. Other people were standing downstairs in the area in front of the stage where there is space for between 500 and 700 people depending on the configuration of the stage. These people were armed with waterproof jackets or ponchos in case of rain! It did actually rain during the performance and one man, near the front, put up his umbrella. What was he thinking?? One of the ushers came and told him to put it down and he looked a bit puzzled.
I didn’t take any photos during the performance because it didn’t seem appropriate – I wouldn’t do it in a ‘normal’ theatre so decided not to do it here either.
The performance was fantastic and was as faithful as possible to the way that it would have been in the original Globe. There were no microphones and the actors projected their voices. The scenery was very basic and the only changes were curtains which were pulled over the stage at the back to hide the three entrances, and two trap doors, one in the centre of the stage and one in the triangular jutting out part at the front. There were very few props but the story was easy to follow and very funny. I don’t remember laughing quite as much at other versions of the play as I did at this one.
In the interval we went back downstairs and bought hot chocolate drinks to warm us up – it might have been the end of May but it was a bit chilly. We could have had roast pork in bread or some other vaguely traditional Tudor/Elizabethan fare. I’m not sure quite how ‘Tudor’ hot chocolate is, but it hit the spot!
The second half of the performance was just as funny as the first and the time flew by. We had one slight hitch when a helicopter flew overhead, drowning the words of one of the characters, but we didn’t lose the plot and the helicopter flew over quite quickly.
And so our experience of the Globe came to an end and we made our way back home again thinking it was one of the best days out any of us had had.
You might think that’s the end of the story, but no. Look out for Part 3!