Johnson Hall Stands in for The Globe Theatre

Members of the Meredith College community were able to “time travel” from Johnson Hall to The Globe Theatre on April 21, 2009, in an attempt to recreate the theatre experience of Shakespeare’s time.

Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Garry Walton, who teaches a popular Shakespeare course each semester, explained that the dimensions of Johnson Hall’s Rotunda are very similar to the Globe. The Rotunda’s interior dimension is 60 feet, while the Globe’s was 70 feet.

Walton discussed the challenges a theatre production presented in Shakespeare’s day.

“Imagine a space about this size with 3,000 people in very close quarters … imagine trying to attract the attention of the audience,” Walton said. Other issues included playing to an audience on different levels and having no female performers.

In order to overcome these challenges, Shakespeare would involve the audience and “begin with a bang,” Walton said. “Think about how many of his plays begin with a ghost or witches.”

The special event, called “Playing to a Different House: Shakespeare’s Globe in Johnson Rotunda,” was meant to show that “with a good script and a good cast, almost any flexible space will work just fine,” Walton said.

Theatre majors Sara Croninger, ’10, and Lauren Moore, ’11, helped Walton prove his point by performing a scene from “The Taming of the Shrew.”

The program was presented by Meredith’s Medieval-Renaissance Studies Program’s 5:00 Scholars Series.

Walton also discussed Shakespeare on WPTF Radio's Tom Kearney Show on Thursday, April 23, the date on which Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated. The show airs on AM 680 at 10 p.m.

Shown in Photo: Student actors Lauren Moore, ’11, and Sara Croninger, ’10, with Professor of English Garry Walton after the 5:00 Scholars event.

Posted April 22, 2009.

Date Submitted: 2009-04-22

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