One thought on “Feeling rich?

  1. Henry V was the first play to be staged at the new Globe theatre in 1997. The Globe aims to recreate an Elizabethan/Jacobean stage and I had the idea that the audience ought to try to do a bit of re-enactment too. Of course we don’t know how Shakespeare’s contemporary audiences would have behaved, but I think it’s safe to say that they didn’t sit quietly and reverently.

    So I started calling out to the performers, and encouraging my neighbours to do the same, and soon enough we had a decent section of the audience cheering the English, and booing the French, and calling out rude suggestions in reply to the actors’ soliloquies.

    The actors were a bit a surprised at first, but they took to it, and started throwing in ad-libs and bits of business with the audience. I won’t say it made for a particularly subtle performance, but it made for a quite electric atmosphere in that venue. The experience suggested to me that original Shakespeare performances must have been similarly lively—his dialogue and stagecraft work so well in that kind of setting.

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