Sonnet Sunday 19th April 2009 at Shakespeare's Globe
The Globe Theatre was using today to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday by allowing free entrance to anyone who wanted to go in and experience 'The Globe' in all its theatrical significance, hence the queue was long, but it was worth the wait and the spontaneous entertainment. There were chaps reciting poetry and verse alongside the queue, another fellow dressed up in Shakespearean garments; there were smiles all around and a great buzz of anticipation and comradery.
Then I was inside. Despite the masses of people; despite the confined passageways and limited views of the displays, it was incredible to be there. Everything aside, standing in that moment, I was there. I was standing in one of the world renowned hearts of theatre. I was there. I cried a silent tear that I was actually there.
I walked through the history of the theatre, noting the politics, the costumes, the theatrical weapons and displays. I devoured the information. I found it all quite emotional and inspirational. I had a feeling that everything was going to be alright; that things were working out just as they should. I watched some traditional instruments being played and some theatrical sword fighting on a make-shift stage. Alongside the stage I saw young actors disappear behind a curtain. I sneakily followed the stage around to the curtain; and then I stood on the outside of the cast's dressing room. Should I walk in? Should I try my luck? Should I? Dare I? I looked around, no bouncers or security… Do it!
I shuffled into the room moving as confidently as I could given my mental state and my lack of official ID. I walked up to a young lady who was fiddling with her costume and I introduced myself; all the while thinking: What are you doing? Get back to where you are supposed to be!
"Hi, my name is Shannan. Please could you tell me who is in charge?"
The girl looked up from the jigsaw puzzle of fabric and at me "Sorry?"
"Sorry," I stumbled, the reality of her voice knocking the façade of confidence out of me, "I'm wanting to get involved in the Globe and performing Shakespeare, but I'm not sure who I should talk to or how to get involved?" I rattled off, as politely as I could.
She paused and then answered: "I'm not sure; I'm only here for the day. Let me see who I can find. Hang on."
She ducked into a circle of actors taking a refreshment break. One of them came over to me, and later a few others too: Sarah, Nana, Dominic andAlice. I'm guessing they all trained inLondonand were there living their dreams too as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company (of course, in reality, they were extras hired for the day and my delusional bubble missed that detail). I was genuinely hopeful that I could become a small part of it all too.
"I've come from South Africa to get involved in The Globe and learn more about Shakespeare. Ideally I'd like to perform, even if it's just a minor role."
Sarah, a bubbly British-African girl was very excited to hear my story, and apparently there is an international internship programme that I could get involved in. The other three disappeared, as drama people do when things are not that exciting for them. Sarah managed to find me the name of a person I could email who was in charge of the programme, and she wished me the best of luck.
I was over the moon! How fantastic would it be to get into an exchange programme and be completely immersed in the goings-on of the Globe Theatre? That would be brilliant!
One of the activities for the day was a World Record Attempt for the most people ever to say a Shakespearean sonnet in one day. They used Sonnet 29, and everyone had to say 2 lines for the camera, I thoroughly enjoyed my little camera stint contribution to Sonnet 29:
When in disgrace with fortune and all men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heav'n with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself most despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising,
From sullen earth sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Quite interesting that even in Shakespeare's time around 400 years ago, it was love that could pull a man out of such a low and outcast state…
I took my jubilant self through the rest of the theatre and its offerings, the last of which was a chance to sign up to perform on the Globe's Stage in an activity they had for people to learn a bit of Shakespeare and then get up on the Globe's stage to genuinely perform it! How awesome! As I arrived at the front of the queue to sign up my phone rang. Jane was nearly back at her place and she needed to get in, where was I because I had the keys and her housemates weren't in. She wasn't too happy that I was an hour away, and I wasn't too happy that I wouldn't get to use this awesome opportunity to perform on the Globe's stage; from a great high to a great low in one telephonic communication. I stopped at the gift store to buy a postcard and a couple of pin badges and made my way back to Harrow to let Jane into her house, reminding myself to be grateful for having had her home to stay in.