Once upon a time, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe with her IB English class, because not only had we studied it but our teacher was the play’s biggest fan.
We paid £15 to sit on the lowest tier of seats behind a pillar and sat, huddled in rented blankets, watching actors who were but a few metres away dance around the stage, answering to such names as Mustardseed and Peaseblossom. Six years later and it remains one of my most magical theatrical experiences, which is why when my Australian friend visited this week, I jumped at the chance to go again.
The delicious excitement and pure magic of this play will never die. Bold statement, but it is just indisputable. The star-crossed lovers in the woods and the meddling of mischievous Puck interspersed by the rehearsals of the world’s worst theatre group makes for a winning combination that I wager will still be performed centuries from now. Throw in a beautiful summer’s night and I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening.
…It’s perhaps even better standing up…
It seems obvious to say, but where better to stage a Shakespeare than at The Globe itself? The stage is so beautiful and, being in a circular arena, you feel almost privileged to be allowed in this inner sanctum of theatre. The true test of a theatre is whether those in the ‘cheap seats’ have as good a view or experience as those who pay top dollar. Having been a yardling three times and a seated viewer twice, I can testify this is absolutely the case. It’s perhaps even better standing up, as actors weave amongst you en route to the stage and you can practically see the whites of the performers’ eyes.
This production of Shakespeare’s timeless comedy is simply incredible; every character was perfectly cast, especially Demetrius and Lysander who spent most of the play topless, much to the delight of the crowd. The role of Nick Bottom demands impeccable comedic timing and a canny knowing of both the script and his audience; our Bottom had both in ample measure. Rarely have I laughed as much in a 150-minute span – and I am a very funny person.
…an absolute steal for a production of this calibre…
However a word of warning; if you go for the £5 yardling ticket, which is an absolute steal for a production of this calibre, please eat a decent lunch or dinner beforehand and take some water with you. During these hot and muggy London summer days, it can get pretty sweaty in the yard. Many had to leave for five minutes during the performance to catch some air and any time taken away from your enjoyment of this play is a crying shame.
The fun doesn’t stop in the woods outside Athens; this summer, The Globe seems to be throwing every Shakespeare at us simultaneously, resulting in an absolutely packed summer schedule. Macbeth, The Tempest and Gabriel join in the medieval fun and many dates feature two different productions. Yes, The Globe have made it possible to spend a full six hours in the world of Shakespeare for £10. To Bard or not to Bard this summer? Not even a question.