WiP: ‘Trouble at the Globe: Emma Rice, original practices and the politics of shared light’ with Ildiko Solti, Nov 17

Our next Work-in-Progress session features our own Dr Ildiko Solti discussing recent developments in the artistic direction of the Globe Theatre alongside the theatrical approach of original practice. Below is an abstract for the session as well as links to related articles.

We convene on Thursday Nov 17, 6.30 pm at the Rose Theatre, Kingston in our usual spot in the Gallery. The event is free and open to everyone!


Trouble at the Globe: Emma Rice, original practices and the politics of shared light

I know it is a cliché to say that life is the best scriptwriter, but it’s certainly true in this case. The announcement of Emma Rice’s stepping down as Artistic Director from the Globe has caused general surprise, and the reaction has been ferocious in the press and in online media. However, the ensuing heated debate, likely to last for quite some time, as Ms Rice is to hand over her position in the spring of 2018, can be the best opportunity we had for a while to foreground and clarify the foundational concepts of the Globe project: experiment, research through practice in performance and the nature and significance of original practices – and particularly among these, the defining aspect of shared light.

For a number of reasons, what happens at the Globe has consequences far beyond the purview of a single, though unique, institution. Because the Globe is a complex research project in its own right, its artistic, research and educational components are not just parallel entities, but their work is meant to be mutually catalytic. The Globe can also be regarded as the pilot project in what since has become a world-wide, complex research programme in all but name (with a vogue in the theatre profession for reconstructing Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre spaces that shows no sign of abating).* Artistically, in the long run, its working processes cannot but lead to the evolution of new performance styles, acting technique and even new professional working relationships in the theatre. Moreover, because in terms of performance theory, the shared light in the round configuration of Globe-type theatres is the most comprehensive of spatial forms, what happens in them has far-reaching implications for performance theory, performance practice, play interpretation, the way we conceive of theatre as an art form and can even generate new means of knowledge production.

In the first half of this session, I propose to have our own debate of the issues generated by the stepping down of Emma Rice, the Globe’s Artistic Director, in particular the nature and significance of original practices and the key aspect of shared light, but also any other aspects, points of view, or issues that people would like to contribute. We will try to clarify the aims and objectives of the Mission Statement of the Globe, and assess the various points and opinions in terms of this framework. I copy the link to some expressions of views I found significant, but I hope people will find reading up on the various other articles online irresistible.

In the second half, I would like us to look at some particular examples from scenes in Shakespeare, exploring what I propose is the compositional impact as well as incendiary politics that performance in shared light (the main reference point of the Globe Board according to its CEO’s Statement for parting ways with Ms Rice and asserting its future direction) can generate.

The scene I would like to look at is Henry IV, Part I, Act 2, Scene 4, however, other scenes/parts of scenes can be included as well, if people suggest them beforehand.

*The Rose Theatre in Kingston, the new RSC main stage, the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the indoor theatre to be constructed by Shakespeare North, the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia which might be complemented in time with a reconstruction of the Second Globe, the plans to reconstruct the Rose Playhouse in Lenox, Massachusetts by Shakespeare & Co., the recently opened Fortune Theatre in Gdansk, Poland, and even a hypothetical, though celebrity-studded, venture of building a Globe on Governor Island in New York.
Emma Rice is right to experiment at the Globe – art should reinvent not replicate

The Globe’s freezing out of Emma Rice is snobbery that defies commercial sense
ASC Education Director of Mission Response to the Globe Decision Regarding its Artistic Director
Emma Rice was never as radical as she thought she was
Shakespeare academic defends Globe board’s decision to remove Emma Rice

img_0907Ildiko Solti is an actor-director, researcher and teacher. She trained in Dramatic Arts at Macalaster College, St Paul, MN, USA. Having returned to Hungary, she obtained her MA at Eotvos Lorand University, and was Artistic Director of an English language theatre company, The Phoenix, in Budapest. In 1999 she moved to London, where she has been teaching and conducting research and experiment in performance, focusing on Elizabethan / Jacobean working theatre reconstructions through the method of research through practice in performance (PaR). She holds a PhD from Middlesex University, and is currently a researcher for the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (KiSS).

About kingstonshakespeareseminar

Kingston Shakespeare is the home of KiSS, and its offshoot KiSSiT. Both explore the world by thinking through Shakespeare.
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1 Response to WiP: ‘Trouble at the Globe: Emma Rice, original practices and the politics of shared light’ with Ildiko Solti, Nov 17

  1. Pingback: Kingston Shakespeare Fall programme | Kingston Shakespeare Seminar

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