When I last visited The Globe, I was seated and okay, I was a bit of a snob about the whole thing. So when my 6ft Ginger Ninja friend invited me to see Hamlet I assumed that we'd be seated. I didn't find out till we got there that we were gonna be groundlings. Cue unimpressed face. But oh, honestly, the experience was so phenomenal, I quickly lost all my snobbery. It was possibly better than being seated even! I'd never seen Hamlet before, I'd never studied it, or read it. The story was new to me, and oh oh oh, I got pulled in. We stood easily for four hours, and I was pretty captivated. You had to pay attention to hear what was said (it's an acoustic show, and really the only problem was helicopters flying overhead down the Thames), and I quickly forgot about what was going on with my legs.
I think it's entirely possible that I was the only one there who didn't know the story. I gasped when it was revealed that the king killed his brother (!) and then married his brothers widow (!!) not even two months later. Woah buddy! I was amused at Hamlets madness, and loved Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (having been previously introduced by a friend who studied Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at uni, by the brilliant Tom Stoppard).
I loved how they did the show, switching each side of the curtain from show to audience. I was a little shocked to learn that the famous line 'To be or not to be' was Hamlet considering suicide (although now that I think on it, what else is it meant to mean, really), and the death scene was super quick, with much action, I think I held my breath trying to keep track of all that was going on.
It was all kinds of amazing, I'm not even kidding. I think this is how Shakespeare is meant to be seen. A small troupe playing multiple parts, no clever lighting or tricks, acoustic all the way, standing in a crowd under the actors with the sky open above us. It was brilliant.
Add the AMAZING meal at the Swan (I'm going back it was that good) which was next door, and the (two) bottle(s) of red they let us take in, and it was a super enjoyable night. I haven't even said anything about the piano bar, or the cube art along south bank, pool tricks and discussions about Howard Marks with wannabe drug barons who asked for change. Not even kidding, but I think that's another post.
So yes, Hamlet at the Globe. Culture++;