Once More unto the Breach

Day #15 watch a Shakespeare play

People say Shakespeare is boring, but that’s usually because they’ve sat in English lessons, reading the script and feeling completely confused. Shakespeare wrote plays: they’re supposed to be seen, not read from a book.

Recently, I’ve seen adverts for Shakespeare’s Globe – they’re making a selection of plays available to watch for free on Youtube from 6th April. My husband and I undertake an annual pilgrimage to the Globe, but it looks like we may not get there this year. Youtube seems like the next best thing!

The adverts reminded me of Henry V. We bought a DVD of a Globe performance a couple of years ago. We started to watch it but neither of us knew much about the plot or the history behind it and we started to get confused. We decided to give it another go (after researching the plot: Henry invades France. (There’s no shame in looking it up. Watching a 400-year-old play is like watching a show about a different culture in a foreign language. Even a few lines of plot description can help you on your way to a better understanding.)).

At first, I couldn’t get over the gnome costume Henry seemed to be wearing at the start, but I enjoyed the scenes between Pistol, Nim, and Bardolph – three London commoners who join the fight in France. My advice: don’t watch this play around children! Some of the dialogue is a bit risqué, particularly the scene where the French princess is trying to learn English. There’s a blog post about that scene here.

The plays that will be available on the Globe’s Youtube channel will be shown on rotation over the next few weeks. They are:

Hamlet (2018) – In this version, Hamlet is played by a woman and Ophelia is played by a man. We saw this one when it was on at the Globe and I recommend giving it a watch.

Romeo and Juliet (2009)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013)

The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018)

The Winter’s Tale (2018)

The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019)

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