GLOBE REPLICA IN ROME Sept 1, 2003 7:15:12 GMT -5
Post by rabagas on Sept 1, 2003 7:15:12 GMT -5
Rome erecting theater replica as historical ode to Shakespeare
By Ariel David, Associated Press, 9/1/2003
ROME -- William Shakespeare set nearly half of his works in Italy. Now Rome is honoring the playwright by building a replica of England's 16th-century Globe Theatre, where his most famous plays were performed.
Starting in October, spectators can lend their ears to the Bard's masterpieces in a round, wooden theater amid the crickets and greenery of the Villa Borghese, one of the city's public parks.
Just a few miles away is the Roman Forum, where Shakespeare's Mark Anthony pleaded "lend me your ears" to his fellow citizens as he spoke over Julius Caesar's murdered body.
"It's a great cultural initiative and, at the same time, a tribute to such an important structure," said Giuseppe Viggiano, the theater's project manager.
"We needed a theater like this in Italy," Viggiano added. "A theater of words, where actors will be able to express themselves only with their voice and acting, without sets, lights, or microphones, just as the theater was in its origins."
The wooden structure will open Oct. 15 with "Romeo and Juliet," the classic tale of doomed love set in the northern town of Verona.
Although it is not clear whether Shakespeare, who lived from 1564 to 1616, ever visited Italy, almost half his plays are set in cities and landscapes scattered throughout the boot-shaped peninsula.
The original Globe is believed to have opened with a performance of "Julius Caesar" set in ancient Rome.
A replica of the Bard's playhouse opened in London in 1996 on the banks of the Thames River, just a few hundred yards from where the original stood.
Despite their quest for accuracy in the Roman reproduction, builders have had to make some concessions to security regulations with construction materials and emergency exits, Viggiano said. As a result, the Roman Globe will house just under 1,400 spectators, a few hundred fewer than the London replica.
Just as the original Globe, the theater in Rome is a three-story circular structure built around an open air courtyard that hosts a bare wooden stage.
The audience will be seated on benches in the three surrounding galleries or will stand in the yard in front of the stage.
This last feature was a trademark of Elizabethan theater. The tightly packed spectators at the foot of the stage often took part in the action, responding to jokes in the play or being recognized by the actors.
The original playhouse opened in 1599, only to burn down in 1613. It was rebuilt and operated until 1642, when it was closed and later torn down in a wave of Puritanism that gripped England.
The Globe's season in Rome will run from spring to autumn, featuring mainly Shakespearean works in their Italian translation.
"But there's nothing stopping us from holding some plays in English or `contaminating' the theater with works from other playwrights," Viggiano said.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.