The Globe And The Delacorte Essay, Research Paper
The Globe Theatre is the theatre in which Shakespeare’s greatest plays were performed. The fame of the Globe is from the fact that William Shakespeare himself worked, wrote, and acted in his own plays there. Although the Globe theatre that exists today is not the one from Shakespeare’s time, it is an almost exact replica. The Delacorte theatre can in no way compare to the Globe’s fame, but the performances that are put on in both theatres are magnificent.
The Globe was first built in 1599 and was one of the first playhouses to open in London. Before the Globe, actors had been homeless. They had traveled around the country performing in various places. The playhouse served as a home for them and also as entertainment for many people.
The Globe’s appearance is circular, but it actually is polygonal and has twenty sides. Most buildings around the time the Globe was built were long, narrow, and low, but the Globe was almost the exact opposite. It was three stories high and almost circular. This made the Globe noticeable so it could catch people’s eye.
The Globe’s stage was a platform raised about five feet above a circular yard, in which the lower class would stand to watch the play. This central area was open to the sky, except immediately above the stage, which had its own roof supported by two pillars. Higher up in the Globe were the parts with seats and a better view of the play. The upper class watched from there.
Performances were given every day but Sunday, and plays ran from two to five in the afternoon, so that the sunlight would be perfect. There was not one restroom for all two thousand spectators. Nor were there any intermissions. As a result, the playhouse often smelled of urine as well as ginger, garlic, beer, tobacco, and sweat (few Elizabethans bathed).
During a performance of Shakespeare’s “King Henry VIII,” on June 29, 1613, a cannon was shot off as a sound effect to accompany an entrance of the King. Unfortunately, a spark caught the thatched roof and flames broke out that were carried by the wind. The theatre had to be evacuated through its two narrow doors. It was a miracle that out of the almost two thousand people occupying the theatre, not one was injured. However, the theatre was a smoking ruin within two hours.
The rebuilding of the Globe began at once, and it was even better than before. More space that could be used for the storage of costumes and props was provided above the stage, and in less than a year, the second Globe was open to the public again. It was as great a success as the original, but two years after it opened, Shakespeare died in his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, a small Midlands town.
In 1644, Sir Mathew Brand tore the Globe Theatre to the ground in order to build tenements in its place. In the Great Fire of London any parts of the Globe that might have been left were completely destroyed.
On August 21, 1996, after a 352 year intermission, a $45 million reconstruction of Shakespeare’s almost circular, open-air Globe Theatre was opened 200 yards from the original location on the south bank of the River Thames. The new Globe is a faithful copy right down to the Norfolk reed roof, the oak beams, and the hand-turned balustrades. The reconstruction has no sound equipment, and the lighting “will mimic” daylight, as most performances in Shakespeare’s Globe took place in the afternoon. For modern reasons of safety and comfort, the new Globe will accommodate just half the number who crammed into the original. People are still able to stand up to see the plays as well.
The Delacorte theatre is located in Central Park. It was the gift of George T. Delacorte, publisher and founder of Dell paperbacks. Delacorte was responsible for many of the park’s pleasures. The Delacorte theatre is the home of the free productions of Shakespeare in the Park every summer. It is an open-air theatre as well as the Globe and features top Hollywood and Broadway names.
The theatre gives away free tickets to its productions during the popular New York Shakespeare Festival on a first come first serve basis. The tickets are restricted to one per person. The line forms at noon on the day of performances. Veteran playgoers take a basket, blankets, and cushions, and enjoy the play.
Both the Delacorte and the Globe are theatres that are very different from any others. However they are different from other theatres in some different ways, and some alike ways. They both are open-air theatres, and they both only show Shakespeare’s plays. The Globe is in London while the Delacorte is in New York, and the Globe was first built in 1599, while the Delacorte was built this century.
The Globe is special because it was Shakespeare’s original playhouse, and the Delacorte is special because it gives the people of New York a chance to see a professionally done, Shakespeare play for free. The Globe is a more presentable theatre but the Delacorte is in the middle of Central Park, which makes it a pleasant place to watch a play.
A visit to either one of these unique and wonderful theatres would undoubtedly result in a great and entertaining time.