Gabriel at the Globe

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.

8 thoughts on “Gabriel at the Globe

  1. I have seen The Tempest there and I went in knowing nothing about it and after a tricky start working it all out (there’s some odd stuff in there) I came away having thoroughly enjoyed it! Stephen Fry is fantastic.

    My first experience of the Globe was from Doctor Who as they filmed there for their Shakespeare episode. I got quite a shock seeing modern day through the Globe’s filmed plays that they’re now showing in Cinemas (how I saw The Tempest – not live by satellite, but packaged like a film) but I couldn’t believe that people stand for all that time. The Tempest was a long play and I sat through it. If you can get tickets to see it then do!

    If not check out what you local cinemas are showing:

    • I saw the Tempest there several years back and was a groundling. Standing at the Globe is not so bad as you can move around, dreadful if it rains though. The seats are not terribly comfortable and last night someone nicked one of our hired cushions n the interval! The nice steward got us another one.

      • As they film it from all angles you get the see a lot of faces in the crowd. I’m not sure I’d like to be filmed in that situation as you get some odd looks over the three hours, but it is the joint experience of having the crowd that makes it for me. It becomes less dry when there’s people laughing at he jokes. And I had tried to work out if there was a roof, or not, and the best I could work out was there’s a big ceiling overhanging the stage. Good to know, although must be odd to be there in the rain.

  2. I checked out the Globe Isobel. Sounds and looks impressive. Your post took me back to when we had season tickets to The Muny at Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t think they have ever done any Shakespeare there but the whole outdoors idea is fun until the heat and humidity hit St. Louis with full force in July and August. I hope you get your tickets!

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