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 Globe’s freezing out of Emma Rice is snobbery that defies commercial sense
Emma Rice’s departure is not about lighting