Just home from the Globe where it was the first night of a new play, featuring music by Purcell, called Gabriel.
Let me say straight off that the music is fabulous, there was some great acting, comic and poignant moments. But it wasn’t Shakespeare. Obvious I know, but when a theatre is so associated with the work of someone acknowledged as the finest writer in the English language, it is a pretty big ask of any other writer to come up with something in any way comparable. And don’t say Racine or Corneille. Good playwrights both, but it’s only the French who write books comparing them to Bill S. they are not in the same league. No one is.
I love seeing Shakespeare’s plays performed at the Globe, even the unbelievably bloody and violent Coriolanus a few years back. There is something seeing his plays in this theatre that is just magical. And the ending is always spectacular and heart lifting and joyous.
So just before the end, I was wondering how they were going to make the switch from Purcell’s music to the Globe finales I have come to love. Then I realised they weren’t. The end was full of music, it was exuberant, it was joyous, but I didn’t leave the Globe feeling that I was treading on air as I usually do.
We were in the highest seats which are not that high and just under the thatch. It has been a a hot day and all that heat was hanging there around us. I can’t credit just how hot we were. Every now and then there was the whisper of a breeze and we would lean gratefully into it.
The actors and musicians in costumes and wigs must have been sweltering, although it would have been cooler on stage than where we were.
I had free tix for this performance, but next month I am going to see it with Sue when she comes over from Houston. The Tempest was sold out, and this sounded possible. I think we’ll still be going, but I am going to make active efforts to see if I can get some returns for the Tempest so she can see a Shakespeare play there too.
I’d hate her to eave wondering what all the fuss was about.