During the previews of the 2009 Globe production of Troilus and Cressida, Achilles’ Myrmidons murdered the unsuspecting Hector with a machine-gun. The rest of the production was set reasonably firmly in the ancient world, achieved through the lavish set, pseudo-Greek costumes, tattoos and hairstyles and the props themselves, which were deliberately designed to be temporal signifiers. However, the introduction of the machine-gun seemed to rupture the audience’s sense of place and time, and the gun’s lack of transhistoricity was a cogent reminder of the intrusion of the materials of the present when performing the past; but the rupture may have been too great, according to the director (Matthew Dunster), who felt he had lost ‘control’ of the theatrical event. He thus removed the offending prop from the rest of the run. What this example illustrates is the role that objects play in constructing an audience’s sense of history. As Andrew Sofer writes, ‘in addition to locale, props silently convey time period’ (21). Equally, one object can change the entire temporal meaning of a production and remove a director’s ‘control’. By the very nature of its materials and its reconstructed design, the Globe Theatre imposes history on to its performers, actors and audience alike. When directors are invited to create a production there, they are forced to consider the historical implications of the space.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number