For my second night in London, I decided to go to the Globe Theatre and see some Shakespeare. Unfortunately, there is a world Shakespeare festival on at the moment and nothing is being performed in English until June. So, I saw ‘Henry IV Part 2’…in Argentinian Spanish.
Although disappointed at first, I found that, because of my knowledge of the play, I managed to follow on perfectly well. In saying that, I don’t really see the point of Shakespeare in different languages in England. As work that is written to sound beautiful in English, much of the magic in the verse is lost when it’s translated and this is to it’s detriment. The sound of the language Shakespeare used is what makes him so different to every other playwright and in removing it, you make the work like everything else.
The performances were all entertaining, with inventive physicality and clever use of a performance space that allows you no cover at all from set or lights. A particular standout was Falstaff who would galavant around the stage much like an old Comedia dell’Arte character and delivered his lines with a flamboyancy that gave the character an energy that seemed to rub off on everyone else.
Despite it’s language change and the freezing cold of London nights, ‘Henry IV Part 2’ was my first trip to the Globe and that will make it special to me for a long time. And anyway, there’s nothing quite like paying five quid to stand in rain and wind to watch a bunch of actors speak in a language you don’t understand. One hell of an experience!