Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is this a volunteer I see before me? Get thee to a nunnery!

I have just finished my second shift as an usher / volunteer for the Pop up Globe, which quite literally popped up in Auckland around one month ago to commerate 400 years since Shakespeare's death. 

It is magnificent to look at and even look inside but what I love the most is how magificent it makes Shakespeare's plays appear. 

I studied a couple at school and college and I like Hamlet, I love Macbeth and I can stomach Much ado about nothing but I've always been wary of the ones I never read -how could I understand them if a teacher hadn't already explained the story, the language, the jokes? By seeing them performed live, that's how. As I watch the actors (obviously after I've got the audience safely into their seats) own the stage, speaking in that language it doesn't matter that I don't always understand, I can see what I'm meant to hear. Like films with subtitles, maybe I don't understand the joke but I can see from the actors' expressions what the gist of it is. And special praise then must go to the actors themselves. Young and old, Kiwis and Americans - doing Shakespeare every bit as well as Cumberbatch and Brannagh. 

I watched Romeo and Juliet last week, a play I studied and found tedious in its ridiculous love story. But performed by this company, I found myself laughing at the humour that doesn't ever translate in the film versions, and also I found the relationship between Juliet (Christel Chapman) and the veryemo Romeo (Jonathan Tynan Moss) really sweet. And how brilliant was the dance sequence at the end! 

I also enjoyed the one at the end of Twelfth Night, clearly a theme and a very clever idea. I didn't know Tweflfth night well, but it was saucier than a Carry on film even with the all male cast. And has there ever been a fairer Olivia than Daniel Watterson? 

Next week I will be volunteering at the Tempest- I think this has been my best decision of 2016....

The pop up globe has been doing school performances and seeing the teenagers at the performances has been really good - hopefully people will realise just because the language is old it doesn't mean the story is. Shakespeare is as relevant today as he had ever been and you don't need a degree to understand him - you just need to go to a play and immerse yourselves. 

No comments: