In the heart of the Villa Borghese park, hidden among the trees and surrounded by a lavish vegetation, you may find one of the most unexpected sights, for sure: the Globe theatre. Yes, that Globe: a full-scale reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, copied from the original designs, and almost identical to the one that now stands on London’s South Bank. Rome’s version of the Globe was built over the course of three months and inaugurated in 2003 to celebrate the centenary of Villa Borghese. The theatre is designed in a circular shape with a stage that juts out into the middle of the audience, and an open roof (that’s why the theatre is open in the summer and early autumn seasons). It’s built of oak and has a capacity of 1250, including the standing space in front of the stage, which are, of course the cheapest places.The entire project was financed by the Silvano Toti foundation – the late Silvano Toti was a builder and patron of the arts.
Gigi Proietti, one of the most outstanding Italian actors, has been the artistic director of the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre since 2003, but he has never acted in any of the plays. Of course, Elizabethan comedies and tragedies are mostly represented, in fact the special architectural features and the essentiality of the scenes allow a cathartic relationship with the works of the English Renaissance drama. I can say that for sure, as, only few days ago I went to the Globe with some of my students and colleagues to see the morning representation of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” directed by Chris Pickels.
When the old Bard wrote “All world is a stage“, he had not considered one little detail: in the world many languages are spoken. This edition of “The Comedy of Errors”, in fact, was the first English-speaking production at the beautiful Globe theatre in Rome, only, the public was not exactly made of native English speakers and the plot of this play not so easy to follow. The story of two pairs of twins – masters and servants – who not only had the same features but also the same names, Antophilus and Dromio, led to many misunderstandings not only on stage but also among the public. Tell me, who is he? Antipholus of Syracuse or Ephesus?Mah?? However, the language of art won eventually, so that everybody was able to enjoy the many very funny moments of the show. The Bard is always right, after all.
I did love the company of actors, all of them. The Bedouin Shakespeare Company, is a touring company founded in 2012 by two enthusiastic young actors, Edward Andrews and Mark Brewer, with the patronage of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi. Their main aim is to bring the universal themes and language of Shakespeare in the countries around the world, that’s why they were not at all uncomfortable with a non native English-speaking public. Their “Comedy of Errors” premiered at the Silvano Toti Globe in Rome to fly out to the UAE and then finishing in London at the Arcola Theatre, November 1st. Therefore, you are still in time to enjoy a great show and don’t forget to visit the Globe, next time you come to Rome!!! 🙂
That is absolutely awesome..!!! I always wondered how it would look in the modern world 🙂
It is. If one day you come to Rome, you know where to go. 😉
First place I’ll visit! I can’t be called officially a wandering poet until I do 😉
How fun and beautiful. I guess a true masterpiece transcends the language barrier after all. 😀
It does. Everybody enjoyed the play, even those who are less proficient with the language. 🙂
I love the Globe. I went to the one in Stratford upon Avon but not the London one. Thanks for reminding me how cool it is. 🙂
My pleasure, Cindy. 🙂
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Stefy it is so great that you added the aerial view. I would find it hard to believe all of that was hidden behind those walls. What a fabulous find. did your students attend a performance?
Yes, they did. Then we went to that bar/restaurant , we had a drink together when you came here in Rome last year. Do you remember? 😉
Oh we definitely do!! Such a happy memory for us Stefy. I hope we can connect again in person one day. Xo
I’m sure , we will. Hugs. Stefy.
A Roman facsimile of the Globe, now there’s a fact I never knew: you live and learn. What a tribute to the universality of drama that reflects human concerns, passions and relationships. Great post, Stefy, and I hope your students will always recall this experience with fondness.
Thank you Chris, I’ m sure they will. Everything was perfect: place, weather, actors…a day to remember. 🙂
Reblogged this on Rogues & Vagabonds.
How extraordinary! I had no idea 🙂 I love the Globe in London but would be happy to give this a try.
It deserves it, believe me. 😉
Now there’s an idea: a world tour around Shakespeare festivals/performances! London, Rome . . . I have a fried who would insist I go to the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare festival . . . how many other places could I fit on a trip?
Many I guess. What do you think about Shakespeare at Abu Dhabi? Amazing,isn’t it?
Nothing like spreading the word of the Bard Stephy, especially if you can understand it. At least his stories were universal.
He knew the nature of man so well, that we cannot but recognize ourselves in his plays even in we speak a different language and we live in different latitudes. This is his magic. 🙂
He did indeed, universal characters.
That is truly a compliment to Shakespeare, very good, and so interesting once again Stef. Thank you for all that information.
And a well deserved compliment in the land of classic arts. Thank you so much Chris.
Now that gives me one more reason for wanting to come to Italy. Always wondered why the London (Wanamaker) one took so long to build when a Roman one (like the original Shakespeare Globe) went up in a few months. Glorious pictures.
The fact that have been able to make the twin Globe in such a short lenght of time is a unique event at these latitudes. I guess, it is because of the private funds, otherwise the building time would have been biblical. 🙂 Are you back to blogging, Simon, or just visiting ?
No, I’m just passing through. A brief return but an enjoyable one!