Shakespeare’s back. But in a metal-framed theatre?

Last year, a monumental piece of scaffolding went up in an inner city car park, this year its found refuge in the Ellerslie Racecourse. A must see in Auckland, the Pop-up Globe is back for its second season. Based on Shakespeare’s second Globe theater, the structure designed by Miles Gregory is awesome and, well, massive. With two casts and four shows calling the temporary theater home for 12 weeks, it is not to be missed.

Fortunately, I have been offered the chance to work inside the theater as an usher for some of the shows, and have had the chance to go through the Globe already. With 3 levels, or galleries, an area for ‘Groundlings’, and seats that go almost all the way around the stage, the building is huge. Standing in the groundlings pit with only a handful of other people showed just how massive the project, and the original Globe, is. Filled with people laughing, crying, and sitting in silence, the atmosphere changes almost immediately.

Putting on Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Henry V, and Othello, the variety of shows is huge, displaying a large section of Shakespeare’s forms and styles. On Monday, I got to work during the first preview of As You Like It, and for the parts I wasn’t running around like a headless chicken, I was in tears, laughing at how they have staged the play, and many of the plays I saw in last year’s season were similar. So even if you couldn’t stand studying Shakespeare back in high school, it is definitely worth going to see one of the shows.

While some of the language and stereotypes around Shakespeare put some people off, the directors have introduced a modern influence into the shows. For example, in As You Like It, there is a section where modern songs are used. And you don’t need to know the play to understand it, they are all very easy to pick up, giving the once boring-when-read plays more life and audience interest.

So I encourage all of you, young or old, to go watch one of the plays put on at the Pop-Up Globe. Besides watching an amazing show, you get to experience something many people would not experience in their lifetimes, standing where Elizabethan punters would’ve stood in their Globe, even if the wooden beams have been replaced by metal scaffold. The game’s afoot!

For more information, head to http://www.popupglobe.co.nz/ and get among it.