Normally, the idea of standing for 3+ hours, especially when I’m not being paid for it, doesn’t exactly appeal to me. However being a “groundling” at the Globe was indescribable and well worth the sore feet. A groundling is the term used for those who stand at the base of the Globe and watch the entire play, just like the poor and working class of London did in Shakespeare’s time.
We saw the play A Midsummer Nights Dream but it can be rather confusing to explain because there are basically 4 different stories happening at the same time. These four plots overlap occasionally but not all at once until the very end of the play. First, you’ve got the young lovers Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena. Hermia is promised to Demetrius but in love with Lysander, who loves her back. Demetrius is in love with Hermia and doesn’t want her to be with Lysander while Helena is in love with Demetrius who doesn’t really like her. Next is the Duke Theseus and his soon to be wife Hippolyta, who isn’t exactly fond of Theseus. Then you have the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, who are fighting over the orphan boy of one of Titania’s servant. Oberon causes chaos along the way with the help of his servant fairy, Puck. And the last plot is that of a group of workman who are getting together to put on a play for the Duke’s wedding. See, I told you it was confusing.
A lot of hilarious hijinks happen in the merging of these plots, such as one of the workman being turned into a donkey and Puck accidentally bewitching the wrong person. The amazing things the cast was able to do also made the play great. For instance, the random back flips a cast member would do and at one point Oberon lifted Puck above his head and just kind of held him there for a while. For those who haven’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil anything by saying more but trust me when I say you should put Midsummer on your to-watch list.
The cast at The Globe pulled off the play phenomenally and had me in stitches throughout the whole thing, like when the lovers were lost in the woods and every time they came back on stage they were dirtier and a little more disheveled. In a twist in casting choices, they had the same people who were playing Theseus and Hippolyta also played Oberon and Titania. This worked out beautifully as the two had amazing chemistry and were able to portray the two similarly tempered couples very well.
All in all it was a beyond amazing show that I would love to see again made all the better by standing so close to the stage that the actors could hand things right to you. It was definitely worth the sore feet.