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New Globe Playhouse

2002 Season

New Globe from top floor of new Tate Modern Gallery


The 6th season of plays at this splendid reconstruction of Shakespeare's own theatre, built on London's Bankside was entitled The Season of Cupid & Psyche.

N.B. Due to the almost simultaneous crash of my PC and that of my (now previous!) web site host, this page and many others that had been updated in the last two years were lost.  I have recreated what I can from memory and notes.

This season's productions were:-

Twelfth Night

On the first visit to the Globe each season I try to discover what changes have been made to the stage and galleries. The most obvious change this year on taking my seat was that the frons scenae wasn't there!  The panels that form the back wall of the stage had been removed and the actors could be seen dressing and making up in the tiring house behind the stage. In fact when I sat in my lower gallery seat and my eyes became accustomed to the bright sunlight, the first actor I saw being laced into his corset (or whatever is the correct term) was the director of the Globe Mark Rylance.  He was playing Olivia in this all-male production.

This was an interesting attempt to reproduce the environment at the Middle Temple Hall in the City of London earlier in the year where the company had performed the piece.  I went to a performance of Richard II  there in 2003. The playgoers are led to the grand hall through large rooms, one of which is being used by the players for dressing and making up.

Shortly before the performance began, the panels were replaced and the musicians in the gallery above the stage began to play. Hand bells were rung to summon the playgoers and the excited, mainly young, groundlings milled around the stage eager for the play to start.

Initially I was put off by the Scottish accent of Liam Brennan's Orsino. I found it difficult to follow, but soon I got used to it and appreciated this actor who works so well with Rylance here and in 2003. The central character of Viola was played very well by Michael Brown. She was almost indistinguishable from Rhys Meredith's Sebastian which made the often implausible plot believable. I'm sure that the original Globe playgoers were hushed like we were when Orsino, seemingly endlessly kissed Viola/Cesario a boy playing a girl pretending to be a boy playing a girl!

Paul Chahidi as Maria led the comic side of the play beautifully. At the start I thought Bill Stewart's Sir Toby Belch was going to be more paralytic than drunk, but he was "but mad, not drown'd".

But what of Rylance as Olivia? At first his jerky performance seemed overdone, but it was ultimately just right. In one wonderful moment, Olivia bravely, and obviously in terror, breaks up the fight between Sebastian and Sir Toby with a halberd, then kisses Sebastian and faints.  Hilarious and moving. I continue to be a fan.


A Midsummer Night's Dream

I saw the performance on 30th May and it was probably unique - I feel privileged to have seen it.  Mark Rylance announced at the start that John Ramm who was playing Bottom had been taken ill, and that for this performance he was to play the part. The audience were delighted and applauded enthusiastically. The Globe director said "I hope you feel the same at the end". We did.

The production, Master of Play Mike Alfreds, had a bedroom/night time theme. The opening scene had the cast in night clothes curled up asleep over the stage.


The Golden Ass

Globe writer in residence Peter Oswald adapted the only surviving Latin novel by Apuleus, written in the second century AD. The cast and my fellow playgoers seemed to be having a great time but I'm afraid I couldn't get interested enough in the episodic story.




Original Globe

  The story of how the original Globe came to be built
  The building - a plan and what the Globe may have looked like
  The excavation - what was discovered in 1989
  The Rose - The Globe's great rival playhouse, its star Ned Alleyn and owner Philip Henslowe

New Globe

  The story of how the new Shakespeare's Globe came to be built on London's Bankside in the 1990's.
  Mike's Views, Reviews and Previews  of Shakespeare's Globe seasons from 1997 to the latest

Globe Main

  Globe Playhouse top page

Recommended Books

  My list of recommended books about the Globe, Rose and other playhouses of the time may be found in the Globe Playhouse section of the Well Furlong Book Shop. If you so wish, you may go on to buy many of the volumes in our Book Shop directly from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
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Updated 6th January 2004