Lanterns! Candles! Shakespeare for Jacobeans

Fri Aug 5, 2011 11:26am EDT
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By James Browning

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A new Jacobean-style theater, built next to Shakespeare's restored Globe alongside the River Thames, will be lit by candle and lantern and feature something the Bard would have loved -- a roof.

The replica of an indoor theater based on 17th century designs -- the earliest in existence -- will be housed on the same site as the Globe, in a building similar to the old Blackfriars theater, another Elizabethan playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe said in a statement.

English playwright William Shakespeare reached maturity as a dramatist during the latter part of the reign of England's Queen Elizabeth I and that of her successor King James I, for whom the period Jacobean is named.

The new theater will be the most complete recreation of a Shakespearean indoor theater yet, and complement one of the most atmospheric and historic stages in London.

"The faithful recreation of the Globe 14 years ago revolutionized people's ideas of what a theater can, could and should be," Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole said on the theatre's website. "The recreation of an indoor Jacobean theater, the closest simulacrum of Shakespeare's own Blackfriars that we can achieve, will have the same effect, and will prove a revelation of equal magnitude".

Performances will be relatively intimate, as the new theater, which is smaller than its open-air counterpart, will seat around 320 people. In order to recreate the experience of 17th century theater, some of the plays will be lit by candle and lantern light.

While the original Globe was home to many of Shakespeare's best known plays, later works, such as "The Tempest", "Cymbeline" and "The Winter's Tale" were written for an entirely different space to the outdoor Elizabethan playhouses.

These productions were written to be performed in the newly designed indoor theatres and allowed playwrights to be increasingly imaginative.   Continued...