Essay, Research Paper: Globe Theatre

Shakespeare

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The Globe Theater is said to be the most important structure in Shakespeare’s
dramatic career. The Chamberlain Company built the Theater in 1699. The Theater
was located on the Southern shore of the Thames River in London. Shakespeare,
being a member of the Chamberlain Company, became a shareholder in the Theater.
Along with Shakespeare, James Burbage, his two sons, and five members of the
troupe owned the Globe (Zenger). This group of men was called Lord Chamberlains
Men after a patron of the acting company. In May of 1603, King James I came to
see their plays and the troupe then changed their name to The King’s Men
(Unknown). These people and groups became a living part of the Globe Theater.
The Globe was the most important structure to Shakespeare’s drama because most
of his plays were to be performed on the stage of the Globe. Those plays written
by Shakespeare include: Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Othello,
Julius Caesar (Unknown). These plays that had a huge effect on our literature,
had an even larger effect on the people of London. Plays were important to the
residents of London because they were an efficient way of getting a message to
many people and entertain them at the same time (Unknown1). The playhouses
commonly drew thousands, who saw a supposedly fictitious play often with a
political undertone. The Globe Theater became the most popular theater amongst
the people. In 1611 Shakespeare sold his shares to the troupe because he was
ready to retire. Then on June 29, 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, a
wad of flaming debris was fired from a stage cannon and landed on the thatched
roof of the third floor (Zenger). The Theater only took two hours to burn
completely down, except for the foundation. In a matter of a few years, this
theater rose and then fell in one catastrophic event. This tragic event was
expected to lead to the demise of The Kings Men, but this consequently worked in
the favor of them. After this unfortunate loss to The Kings Men, they were left
to pick themselves up and continue. Fortunately for them, in August of 1608 they
built an indoor theater called Blackfriars, which they quickly transferred to
and began making profits better than ever (Unknown1). This was because of having
high priced seats in their smaller theater. This was a quick replacement for the
Globe but the people missed the famous theater. This discontent led a new
project that was to be undertaken. The main reason for rebuilding the Globe was
out of tradition. Construction began on the original foundation. It was rumored
that King James and other noble men helped the troupe with the cost of
rebuilding (Zenger). The replacement was completed in 1614 using the same basic
design as the previous version. Short after the reconstruction of the Globe,
Shakespeare passed away. The second Globe was built with more room for costumes
and props. It also had more structural integrity so the pillars in the stage
were removed. The Globe held performances for many more years until 1642. In
this year the Puritans closed down all theaters and other place that would
supply entertainment to the people (Unknown). In 1644, the theater was
completely torn down in order to make tenements upon the premises. With time,
the Globe and its design became only descriptions, in accurate drawings, and
pictures. The most accurate illustrations were made in 1647 as viewed from
Southwark Cathedral and they were called “Long View London.”(Unknown1)
Almost three centuries later, in 1945, a plan was made called the Abercrombie
Plan that included development of South Bank and reconstruction of the Globe
with a Library. Then in 1949, an interested Sam Wanamaker came to look for some
remains of the Globe and he found nothing but a mere plaque on the wall of
brewery (Unknown1). This was assumed to be the general location of the Globe.
Wanamaker invited architects to a meeting and they discussed the Globe in 1969.
An architect named Theo Crosby attended and later became the head architect. The
following year Mr. Wanamaker established “The Shakespearian Globe Playhouse
Trust” and leased an .8-acre lot across from the brewery on Bankside (Zenger).
In 1986 they finally won a 125-year lease and the next year the ground breaking
occurred. With all the new information such as the illustrations and discovered
foundations the figure of the Globe came out of the gray and into focus. The New
Globe was then being constructed but it would not be a perfect replica, because
some of the details were almost impossible to duplicate. The replication of the
Globe had the pillars on the stage for authenticity. The design is still
ambiguous and altered at points such as the “tiring house” where little
detail was provided (Unknown1). The halls and doors had to be widened to meet
code. Many other features such as plumbing and electricity were also added to
this new improved Globe. After the finishing touches were applied the Globe
complex opened in August of 1994. Since the completion of the Globe, many
exhibits have been held. Finally, the dreams of many people were fulfilled and a
similar replica was completed. Since the original Globe Theater was constructed
in 1599, numerous plays and exhibits were performed. For Shakespeare, the
original Globe Theater was the home for most of his plays. Without the Globe,
who knows where Shakespeare’s plays would have been performed, if anywhere at
all. The significance of the Globe even stretches passed Shakespeare because
despite being torn down twice, there was a need to rebuild this theater. This
Globe has become a necessity in the lives of many and the memoirs that the
Theater holds will never be forgotten or taken away.
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