Standing on the stage of The Globe I shared a little bit of my knowledge and showed a little bit of my heart to 16 very rich lawyers from Folkestone. We weren’t supposed to be on the stage, but it was the perfect storm. All the volunteer ushers were gone, and a school trip had just been allowed on before us. “Stuff it,” I thought. “Nobody’s watching.” I ended up quietly speaking a little bit of Jacques to them from the well foot polished bit of stage known as the “Mark Rylance spot.” It was lovely. For me anyway. They seemed happy too.
Then we went back to a room full of wine where I had to be convivial for money and have none of the wine. One of them had been to The Globe recently for a show. She’d seen Daniel Kramer’s Romeo and Juliet, the opening show of last season where Emma Rice significantly achieved gender parity in employment on and off stage in a Shakespeare theatre, and continued actively challenging the traditions of the space and the board. She had already been resigned by this time.
“This perverse show vandalises Shakespeare,” said Billington in The Guardian. Lots of one and two star reviews. Lots of people huffing and puffing about it. “What did you think,” I asked the guest, keeping my question as neutral as possible. At one of these events a while ago, during Emma Rice’s first season, a man at a similar event asked me “What do you think of THAT WOMAN.” Being polite to someone you’d like to kick in the nadgers, that takes work. But these people today were fab:
“It wasn’t what I expected. But my kids loved it. And suddenly I realised I loved it too. Afterwards I was talking to lots of people who made me feel like I shouldn’t have loved it for some reason. I mean yes, I was surprised by all the music and everything. But it was just great fun. The kids still remember it. They’re doing it at school now and it’s helped them.” Can’t say fairer than that. That sounds like a win.
These guys didn’t get all the sound and lights for their show. They got muggins in his glasses and bobble hat speaking quietly because he’s on daytime vocal rest. And it was a lovely way to spend a shivery morning.
I’m curious to know what comes in Michelle Terry’s tenure as the new artistic director. She seems by all accounts to be a goodie. She was at RADA with some friends of mine. I expect finding a replacement for Emma Rice was a minefield after the way in which she got resigned. It couldn’t be a man (Flashback: “What do you think of THAT WOMAN?”) But which female artistic director would be willing to step into the shitstorm of opinions. Also, since the prevailing wind seems to be that The Globe will return to natural light low-fi stagings, how do you find an artistic director who will not feel they have to compromise their vision to placate the board?
A neat solution is to employ an actor manager – loved by her peers but not widely known. Like Rylance was. An actor is always going to be focusing on the human interaction. You can do that on a bare stage more effectively than you can on a merry-go-round. And her lack of profile effectively bypasses the shitstorm. Let’s see what comes. I think The Globe will be a beautiful human heartfilled theatre with her at the helm.