Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Undrinkable Bottle of Mead.

Shakespeare's Globe Ice Cream Truck.
One of our most anticipated visits while in London was the Shakespeare's Globe theatre. We felt some sort of odd connection to this almost holy sanctuary for actors, as two former drama majors who had studied the Globe, performed Shakespeare, and began our relationship in a theater. The Globe is by far one of the more expensive things to do in London, even just for a tour, but it's probably one of the most worthwhile adventures, though vacation cliches you'll never regret. More to the point, since this is a reincarnation of William Shakespeare's Globe theater, and it is a work in progress, your money helps further the construction and return of the Globe theater.

Preparing for the production of Whack-a-Mole.
Admission was about £9, which I think we would have spent anyways on the account of the fact they had a toilet inside and we had to go as a result of too many beers in the local pub. Inside the centre, (the outer complex that surrounds the actual theatre,) there's a lot of hands-on exhibits. From original Shakespearean costuming, to instruments, and touch screen kiosks that allow you to learn the secrets of traditional Globe special effects, it's really a lot of fun. For many ex-theater students, it's a throwback to Drama 101 as you find first position and close your eyes, hoping to open them and feel that rush of being on stage again. For a moment you forget that you turned in your SAG card ten years ago when you reluctantly got a "real job" to support your family and began working in a call center selling long distance plans. You start channelling Hamlet in your best English accent, and the reach your hand out over the balcony railing, almost in tears, "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him well Horatio." - Yes, all the worlds a stage, but right now you're that crazy American running around the Globe.

Even the tourists are dramatic.
At about three o'clock our tour began with a young, articulate woman, who was very good at explaining and talking about the theatre. Some in our group didn't realize that this is actually the third rendition of Shakespeare's globe theater, and that the actual, original location of the Globe is down the road, underneath a car park. As she pointed out, and many of us know, Bill's original Globe burned down when Shakespearean pyrotechnics fired improperly during a performance and set the thatch roof on fire. The second Globe theatre  was torn down by some very passionate religious individuals carrying pitchforks, who thought that thespians and their audiences were heathens. (Thus explaining so much of my life!)

Thatched roof: now with sprinklers.
So that brings us to the point in the timeline where some mad individual was clever enough to build a third Globe Theatre. Sam Wanamaker, an American (and likely also a fan of Hamlet,) who was rather enraged that he couldn't find the Globe upon visiting London, initiated the idea, and began construction of the third Globe theater. Wanamaker, (a poetic name for someone who took this monumentally insane challenge on,) soon ran into another problem. There weren't any true pictures or recorded information of what Shakespeare's Globe theatre looked like, originally. That's when Sam made the decision, that the building itself would be as much art as the plays performed in it. They would do the best they could to recreate the Globe, but the expectation is it would also always be changing, always be evolving,  just as it was while we were there. The had just converted the more authentic dirt floor into concrete, and were now painting the Gentlemens' Boxes.

Poor fellow fell in his hole a few seconds later.
I suppose it's all quite fitting. Shakespeare once said "...and all the men and women merely players." We're always changing our roles, always regenerating into some new character, just as any actor. I was beginning to wonder where would I be when the curtain closed, as an actress of the real globe?  This trip to London was but a mere intermission in my life, as I decided then and there I wanted more of it, and purchased a bottle of Shakespeare's Globe mead (nectar of the Gods) from the 21st century gift shop. When I got home, I placed it on my wine rack, and refused to drink it. Perhaps one day, when I come back to Europe and I am cast as a player, thrust into the roll, given the opportunity to live in this beautiful place, and shed my American skin. I'll drink to that.

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