If you’re an English Major nerd like me, then you’ll be more than enthusiastic to visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. However, if you’re not like me and you spent your high school years wishing that Shakespeare had never been born, then you might be less likely to visit the Globe. Even so, anybody who has ever read Shakespeare and perhaps didn’t understand anything that he was saying should come here. Not only is this theater an important piece of English literary history, but it also offers insight into what Elizabethan theater life was like, and you just may leave the Globe with a better appreciation for the man who continues to plague teenagers in English classes everywhere.
Shakespeare’s Globe is not the original theater where Shakespeare’s plays were performed during the Elizabethan era, as the original theater was destroyed. This theater is a recreation of the Globe Theater, so don’t come here expecting to be walking across the same stage that Elizabethan actors did. You will be taken on a tour of the theater and will be provided with a history of the original theater, as well as the history of Shakespeare and Elizabethan theater. My tour guide was very informative and enthusiastic (I believe she was an actual Shakespearean actress, if remember correctly). There is also a museum that showcases costumes from that era.
One of the reasons why Shakespeare’s plays are so painful to read is, well, because they weren’t meant to be read. They were meant to be performed, which is why I highly recommend getting tickets for a performance at the Globe. Unfortunately, I went to London not knowing that they actually put on plays in the Globe (a stupid assumption, I know), but I’ve seen Shakespeare performed live before and it is nothing like sitting in a classroom reading his plays. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud at his comedies and feeling despondent and depressed after watching his tragedies. I imagine that seeing a play at the Globe would be like taking a step back in time and will make you feel like an actual Elizabethan theatergoer.
Although I’m not usually one for gift shops, I must say that the Globe’s gift shop was pretty cool (maybe that’s just my inner nerd talking, though). It has some great gifts for the literature lovers in your life, including these really cute pocket-sized versions of Shakespeare’s plays.
Shakespeare’s Globe is the ideal place for theater geeks and literature lovers alike. Even if you’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Shakespeare or just a purely “hate” relationship with the famed playwright, a trip to the Globe may just help you to garner a greater appreciation for this important English figure.
Photo credit: Martin Pettitt
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