A’ Level English Literature Theatre Visit

On Friday the 13th of February the A’ level English Literature  Students visited the Sam Wanamaker theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe on the south bank in London to watch a performance of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s Jacobean drama “The Changeling”. 

13th Febraury 2015

 On Friday the 13th of February the A’ level English Literature Students visited the Sam Wanamaker theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe on the south bank in London to watch a performance of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s Jacobean drama “The Changeling”. The play is a set text for the ‘gothic’ literature component of the course and is charged with Middleton’s ferocious dramatic irony, and lightened by Rowley’s wild comic sub-plot; with its ghosts, dumb shows, scenes of Bedlam, and atmosphere of violence it is a gripping story based on repulsion and fascination and was both challenging and gripping.

The star of the trip however was the playhouse itself. This second theatre on the site of the rebuilt Globe has now been open for just over a year and is designed to replicate the indoor playhouses of the early 17th Century. It's not a reconstruction of one particular theatre - it's an archetype of the kind of indoor spaces in which the late works of Shakespeare, Webster and Ben Jonson would have been performed. The resulting experience for the students was a performance unlike any other they will have witnessed or are likely to away from this theatre. Just as in the first indoor theatres candles were used to light the performance with the actors trimming the wicks themselves and adding to the unique atmosphere and dramatic impact. The result is a recreation of the atmosphere of the first indoor theatres; a beautiful oak interior, with its green, grey and gold paintwork, real candles and even a company of musician playing period instruments and music. A truly memorable trip not least for the fact that the students, like many of the audience in the galleries, stood through the full two and a half hours just as those in the 17th century might have done.

Mr J McGroary, Teacher of English

Seeing The Changeling performed live at Shakespeare's The Globe Theatre was an amazing experience. The Globe is a modern, yet detailed to past centuries, venue centred in London holding an intimate theatre stage for The Changeling production.

The set was small yet adapted by the actors in clever, extensive ways to portray the various scenes and setting throughout the play, with transitions between scenes effectively accompanied by atmospheric music of violins, cellos and flutes heavily voicing the gothic factor of the play. This was furthered by the interior of the theatre, lit solely via candles throughout the performance, creating a tangible atmosphere further emphasising the genre. All actors and actresses appeared effortless in portraying their characters in a way that both involved and gave insight to the audience in the thoughts and feelings of individual characters that cannot be fully appreciate and understood in reading the play.  

Amy Lock, Year 13

In aid of our English revision we went to the globe theatre in London on Friday 13th February to watch ‘The Changeling’ play. I found this experience very enjoyable and also very useful as part of my revision as I now fully understand the play in much more depth. I found the play funny and the audience reaction and the gothic style atmosphere helped me understand what I didn’t in the book and therefore found it very beneficial. It was also very useful for the Year Twelve’s as they now have a head start on understanding the play for next year.

Jess Hill, Year 13