Sunday, January 29, 2006

All the world is a stage

Today, we set out on a little adventure to visit the Borough Market by London Bridge. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us that it would only be open on Saturdays. Fortunately, there is lots to see and do in the immediate area. It's a really nice walk on the Bankside next to the Thames so we strolled along until we came across the Anchor pub and went in for a traditional Sunday roast. Deeeeeelicious.

By the river outside Anchor Pub

Afterwards, we realized we were in the immediate vicinity of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Well, a reasonable facsimile of it anyway... The original, as you may or may not know, burned down in something like 1616 or thereabouts. This one is about a 5 minutes walk from where the original stood and was built as close to the original specifications as possible. All wood carved by hand, no power tools or modern tools used, wooden pegs instead of nails holding it together, thatch roof, etc...

They have plays there between May and October every year. One of the most interesting facts of the day was that the replica is the exact same size as the original but the capacity of the original was around 3,000 people and today it's only like 1,200. This is due to a couple of factors. One - people were much smaller back then. Two - there are now fire safety regulations that prevent people from packing themselves into places like sardines. If you're interested, you can find out more about the Globe here.

Each of the ironworks on the entry gate is an item from a Shakespeare play. 120 different blacksmiths from around the world made one of them and came to London to weld theirs to the gate.

"The sky" - Painted on this panel are clouds, the sun, moon, and stars and around it are each of the zodiac signs. It also opens up to allow Gods and Goddesses (whenever called for in a production) to descend onto the stage. This was also a working mechanism in the original Globe.

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