Biet : Le lieu scénique Elisabéthain ca 1550-1642. Globe Theatrer

Publié le par Maltern

 
















Christian Biet : Le lieu scénique Elisabéthain ca 1550-1642

 « Entre le milieu du XVIe siècle et 1642 (date de l'interdiction des théâtres par les puritains), l'Angleterre voit se développer un théâtre populaire où s'illustrent Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Ford, etc. Né dans les cours des auberges, joué en plein jour, en plein air, il évolue très vite vers des bâtiments spécifiques, situés en marge de la ville (le théâtre n'a jamais eu bonne presse) et réservés au divertissement.

Dans un premier temps, les comédiens adossent leurs tréteaux à l'un des côtés d'une galerie : les spectateurs les plus riches sont placés dans les trois autres galeries et les moins riches se tiennent debout dans la cour.

Les premiers théâtres de Londres sont d'abord en structures de bois légères, avant d'être construits en dur. Ils doivent à leur forme circulaire ou elliptique, qui rappelle le théâtre en rond médiéval, leur surnom de Wooden O (« O en bois »), donné par Shakespeare au Globe dans sa pièce Henry V. Une estrade part de la scène adossée aux galeries pour aller jusqu'au milieu du parterre (de la cour) et permet véritablement aux acteurs « d'entrer au contact », avec le public populaire. La scène, protégée par un auvent, peut être masquée par un rideau, et deux portes donnent accès aux coulisses (et à l'espace du hors-scène, où se jouent les moments les plus secrets des drames et se dissimulent les personnages).

Au-dessus, à côté des bancs des spectateurs privilégiés (qui sont là pour paraître ; ils voient donc les acteurs de près mais de dos), le premier étage de la galerie fonctionne comme un autre espace (upper stage) : c'est le balcon de Juliette, ou le lieu des discours pompeux (de Brutus par exemple). Enfin, un orchestre joue au second étage de la galerie et fait souvent partie du jeu et de la fiction. 

[...]S'il est scénographiquement une conséquence du théâtre médiéval, il est aussi une pièce majeure dans l'invention des dispositifs modernes : parce qu'il se joue sur plusieurs lieux distincts et dans un rapport étroit avec le public, le théâtre élisabéthain servira de modèle à de nombreuses mises en scènes du XXe siècle.»

 [Christian Biet : L'espace théâtral : un lieu de partage, TDC, CNDP, 1999]

 


Globe Theatre 

Globe Amphitheatre

Open arena design & structure - actors would also get wet if it rained!

Size of amphitheatres

Structure & Dimensions - Up to 100 feet in diameter

Varying Shapes 

Octagonal structure , circular in shape having between 8 and 24 sides

Globe Building materials

Structure - Timber, nails, stone (flint), plaster and thatched roofs. Later amphitheatres had tiled roofs

Globe Building Duration

6 months to build the structure 

Overall design and structure of the Globe Theatre

The open air arena, called the 'pit' or the 'yard', had a raised stage at one end and was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies overlooking the back of the stage. The stage projected halfway into the 'pit'

Globe Audience Capacity

1500 plus audience capacity. Up to 3000 people would flock to the theatre and its grounds

The Grounds of the Globe theatre

Bustling with people & potential audience. Stalls selling merchandise and refreshments. Attracted non playgoers to the market

Toilet Facilities

None . People relieved themselves outside. Sewage was buried in pits or disposed of in the River Thames. All theatres closed during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague - disease would have spread via the rats & fleas

The Entrance to the Globe theater

Structure - Usually one main entrance. Some later theatres had external staircases in their structure to access the galleries

The crest and motto of the Globe Theatre

Above the main entrance of the Globe was a crest displaying Hercules bearing the globe on his shoulders together with the motto "Totus mundus agit histrionem" (the whole world is a playhouse). This phrase was slightly re-worded in the William Shakespeare play As You Like It  - "All the world's a stage".

The 'Box '

Playgoers put 1 penny in a box at the theatre entrance

Access to the Balconies & Galleries

Two sets of stairs in the structure, either side if the theater. The first gallery would cost another penny in the box which was held by a collector at the front of the stairs. The second gallery would cost another penny

The Globe 'Box Office'

At the start of the play after collecting money from the audience the admission collectors put the boxes in a room backstage - the box office. 

The ' Housekeepers '

The owners of the Globe theatre

The interior design and structure of the Globe Theatre

Design and structure was similar but far smaller version (1500 -3000 audience capacity) than the Coliseum of the Roman period (50,000 audience capacity) allowing the maximum number of playgoers in the space available

Globe Theatre Lighting

Natural lighting as plays were produced in the afternoon. However there was some artificial lighting mainly intended to provide atmosphere for night scenes

Heating

There was no heating. Plays were performed in the summer months and transferred to the indoor playhouses during the winter

Stage dimensions

Dimensions - Cannot be specific for the Globe. Stage dimensions varied from 20 foot wide 15 foot deep to 45 feet to 30 feet

The height of the stage

Dimensions - A raised stage - 3 to 5 feet and supported by large pillars

The floor of the Stage

Made of wood, sometimes covered with rushes. Trap doors would enable some special effects e.g. smoke

The rear of the Stage

A roofed house-like structure was at the rear of the stage, supported by two large columns (pillars) 

The ' Herculean ' columns or pillars

The ' Herculean ' pillars were made of huge, single tree trunks. These were drilled through the centre to eliminate warping of the wood

The ' Heavens ' - a roof area

The pillars supported a roof called the ' Heavens '

The ' Heavens '

The ' Heavens ' served to create an area hidden from the audience. This area provided a place for actors to hide. A selection of ropes & rigging would allow for special effects, such as flying or dramatic entries

The stage wall called the ' Frons Scenae ' taken from Latin

Behind the pillars was the stage wall called the ' Frons Scenae ' (taken from the name given by Imperial Rome to the stage walls of their amphitheatres). A doorway to the left and right and a curtained central doorway from which the actors made their entrances. Above the door area was a highly decorative screen 

The Stage Gallery above the Stage Wall
The ' Lord's rooms '

Immediately above stage wall was the stage gallery that was used by actors (Juliet's balcony) & the rich the nobility -  known as ' Lord's rooms.'

The ' Lord's rooms '

Considered the best seats in the ' house ' despite the poor view of the back of the actors. The audience would have a good view of the Lords. And the Lords were able to hear the actors clearly. The cost was 5 pence & cushioned seats were provided

Musicians

Music was an extra effect added in the 1600's. The musicians would also reside in the Lords rooms

The ' Gentlemen's rooms '

There were additional balconies on the left and right of the ' lord's rooms ' which were called the ' Gentlemen's rooms '. For rich patrons of the Globe theater - the cost was 4 pence & cushioned seats were provided

The ' Tiring House '

The stage wall structure contained at least two doors which lead to a leading to  small structure, back stage, called the ' Tiring House '. The stage wall was covered by a curtain. The actors used this area to change their attire

The ' Hut '

Above the ' Tiring House ' was a small house-like structure called the 'hut' complete with roof. Used as covered storage space for the troupe

Elizabethan advertising

Above the hut was a small tower with a flag pole. Flags were erected on the day of the performance which sometimes displayed a picture advertising the next play to be performed. Colour coding  was also used 
- a black flag meant a tragedy , white a comedy and red a history.

The ' yard '

The stage structure projected halfway into the ' yard ' where the commoners (groundlings) paid 1 penny to stand to watch the play. They would have crowded around the 3 sides of the stage structure. 

Groundlings

Commoners who paid 1 penny admission to stand to watch the play

' Stinkards '

During the height of the summer the groundlings were also referred to as ' stinkards ' for obvious reasons

Access to the Galleries

Two sets of stairs, either side if the theater structure . The stairways could also be external to the main structure to give maximum seating space

Seats in the galleries - Three levels


Structure - The seats in each of the three levels of galleries were tiered with three rows of wooden benches, increasing in size towards the back, following the shape of the building and structure. The galleries were covered affording some shelter from the elements. 

 


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