Yesterday, for my Shakespeare class, we went to see a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. While not the original theatre, as that one burned down in 1613 (during a production of Henry VIII), the Globe that is standing now is a reproduction – still open-air, and still producing The Bard’s classic works. Sometimes, they’re remixed and reimagined, sometimes they’re traditionally produced.
Yesterday, we saw a production of Cymbeline, reimagined and retitled, Imogen (after the daughter of the original title character). Before you keep reading, it’s really helpful to know the plot of this show, because I tried to summarize it, but found it quite difficult. CLICK HERE for the SparkNotes edition just to get a basic summary idea of what this show is about. It’s really good, you should also read it.
IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. It was retold as rival gangs (the British vs. the Romans) during what I assume was a drug war. Cymbeline, the king of Britain, was the head of one gang, and Iachimo, a Roman, was the leader of the other. The costumes consisted entirely of athletic clothes (workout pants and leggings and Adidas hoodies and sneakers), and the girls all had funky hairstyles. The British wore all black costumes and the Romans wore all white. The only exceptions to this was Cloten had a red shirt (because he is brought on stage fighting with blood on his shirt), and when Imogen disguises herself as a man, she is in blue (which makes her stand out against the stark white of the Romans and the black clothes of the Britons). It was a really cool contrast and it made it easier to understand who was on which side. They also had a gender-bent character (Pisanio, and it worked, as she was portrayed as Imogen’s maidservant) and colorblind casting which I thought was amazing.
It was also impeccably choreographed. It didn’t have big musical numbers or anything like that (obviously), it was just that all the characters knew exactly where to be and where to interact with one another at exactly what moment. There were a couple times where they included modern music and had the scene choreographed to that, which was so, so cool. Especially the final fight scene. They had characters rigged up to fight in the air (off-set by other actors on ladders that essentially was a DIY rigging system ). Technically, I was so impressed.
They took a story that I don’t think many people had heard of before, and reimagined it in a way that would speak to modern audiences. It had all the elements of a Shakespeare show (I mean, it was his dialogue the whole time), but by making all the technical decisions they did, they kept the audience interested during the entire show. Which took a bit of work, since I was standing for the entire time we were there (remember, it’s a recreation of Shakespeare’s original Globe).
After the show was over, my friends Sarah, Madeline, and I decided to check out this museum that was right around the corner. The Clink Prison Museum.
Initially, I was really excited because I thought we would get to learn all about the history of London’s prison museum and how things had changed in the long history of England. Nope. The Clink was a historic prison that ran from the 12th century to 1780. There was a lot of focus on heretics and traitors, and overall it was really underwhelming to me. The only thing I enjoyed was at the end, we got to take a picture “behind bars” so my friends and I decided we were going to do a Chicago-inspired, “Cell Block Tango” kinda thing…in which I turn out looking way more like I actually murdered someone than the “he had it coming” that the song is taking about.
Overall, yesterday was a really eventful day. The Globe was all I expected and more (honestly I could go see Imogen again), but The Clink Prison Museum was really not that great. I also had a “pizza burger” from Honest Burger and I wish I had a picture of it but I ate it really fast..whoops lol.