Year 9 boys relished the opportunity to watch a dramatic modern production of Macbeth, complete with witches portrayed as forensic scientists, fight scenes enhanced with special effects, and the spilling of copious amounts of blood.
The visit by the whole year group over three days was only the latest in a series of QE trips to the Globe: in the last three months, more than 400 boys and staff have travelled down the Northern Line to see Shakespeare plays at the modern reconstruction close to the site of the 17th-century theatre.
Head of English Robert Hyland said: “Allowing all of Year 9 to see the play they are about to study, performed in its original venue, is an exciting and invaluable opportunity. Macbeth is a play about the pursuit of power, the temptation of ambition, and what happens when both of those things are abused by those who are unsuitable to lead – themes which are incredibly relevant to the world we live in today.”
“Theatre is often about creating a sense of spectacle, and our students were treated to a visually exciting performance – from the modern costumes of the actors, to the ways the actors moved in and out of the audience, and finally culminating in dramatic and bloody fight scenes, our students were able to enjoy an experience which only live theatre can truly provide.”
By watching the play, the boys quickly gained a good understanding of stagecraft and dramatic techniques, while the specific setting of the Globe helped them understand the contexts in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.
“Walking into the Globe for the first time can give you goosebumps as you look around the space and imagine Shakespeare himself performing the same words over 400 years ago,” said Mr Hyland.
Other recent trips to the Globe have been to see two comedies: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors, set respectively in the ancient cities of Athens, Greece, and Ephesus, in modern-day Türkiye (Turkey).
The altogether darker Macbeth, often known euphemistically as ‘the Scottish play’ because of the superstition that surrounds it, found an appreciative audience with the QE Year 9 visitors.
Vihaan Bhadra said: “The play truly took us into the mind of Macbeth, with a perfect mix of theatrics and suspense. The actor was able to show the different stages of Macbeth, ranging from victory, through guilt, to complete madness.”
Other comments from the boys included:
- “I liked the modern take on the play – it made it more relatable and brought the entire range of characters to life.” Sarang Nair
- “Seeing characters like the porter portrayed as a security guard, or seeing the witches portrayed as forensic scientists made the performance much more understandable and accessible, and really developed our interest.” Neelesh Fotedar
- “It was an exhilarating experience to enjoy such an interesting play in such a clear and enjoyable manner.” Arhaan Yadav
- “Breathtaking and engaging.” Krish Deebak
- “The engaging acting of the characters made the play come to life. The interaction with the audience gave the play a sense of fun.” Tanush Madadi
- “Going on this trip helped me understand and enjoy the historical significance of the Globe Theatre.” Zahin Khan.