Travelogue, Part Three:

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Sunday I went to the Globe Theatre.

I skipped the exhibits in the museum part--I'd seen them before--and headed for the tour. I love tours that are given by a real person, as opposed to those that are conducted through earphones.

My Real Person Tour Guide was an older lady who had probably been an actor, or at least aspired to be one. Her presentation was very theatrical, is what I'm saying, but not in an annoying way. She was very informative, and she made us use our imaginations, and she made fun of the people who only paid L3 to just look at the stage.

She told us how people used to rent out boxes over the stage, so they could both see AND be seen.

She told us how they used real cannons in the hut

to make battle sounds; they used just a little gunpowder so there would be noise, but they didn't use cannons. Then one day somebody put too much gunpowder in there and some of the cotton wadding was shot off onto the thatched roof of the theatre and the whole thing burned to the ground.

I love that story; it's totally something I would do.

My favorite thing that she told us was this:
Back in the olden days, the people who paid one pence to see a show were called groundlings, because they stood in the uncovered courtyard in front of the stage (I already knew this, because: helLO). But some of the richer people who attended the plays would call them PENNY STINKARDS, because they didn't pay all that much attention to their hygiene. Taking a bath was unheard of, our Real Person Tour Guide said, and it was a good job just to get them to wash their armpits every two weeks.

Well, STINKARDS is my new favorite insult, I think. It is what I will be calling my students when they make me mad. If they really get on my nerves, I will call them PENNY STINKARDS. And then, if any parent says something to me, I can be like, "It's Shakespearean," and they will look at me with awe and respect and forget that I have called their little darlings filthy beasts (who are sometimes cheap). So ... SCORE!

It's just one more reason to love Shakespeare.

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