Begin forwarded message:
From: "Nelson, Colleen" >
Date: April 23, 2016 at 10:09:49 AM GMT+1
To: "Gabriel, Brian" >
Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 -- theater performance
At Shakespeare's Globe, the president headed straight to the open-air theater for a quick tour and then a short performance. Obama and his tour guide stood on the stage chatting, as they surveyed the ornate replica of the original Globe Theatre.
Most of the conversation was inaudible, but Obama asked a steady stream of questions, inquiring about what time performances generally occurred and seeking other details about Shakespeare.
The small theater has an open area in front of the stage and simple wooden benches in the round on multiple levels for seating. Elaborate murals and gold accents cover the walls.
After just a couple minutes, the tour concluded.
"It was so nice to meet you," the president said to the guide. "You did a great job."
Fifteen actors then took the stage for a brief performance.
"Mr. President, good morning," one of the actors said.
"Good morning,"Obama said.
The president, Josh Earnest and Ben Rhodes stood in front of the stage during the performance. The president watched with rapt attention, a slight smile on his face.
Obama was treated to a couple instrumental songs and excerpts from Hamlet, complete with a little "to be or not to be..."
As the performance concluded, Obama said,"Hey!" and began clapping.
One of the actors told the president it had been an honor.
"Absolutely." Obama said. "I don't want it to stop. Apparently I have to work."
With that, the pool was led out of the theater. At 9:58, the president's motorcade was rolling.
The White House provides additional background about the theater:
The original Globe Theatre was built not far from the site of the current theater in 1599, by Shakespeare's theater
company. The original was first destroyed by fire, rebuilt and eventually demolished in 1644. American actor and director, Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993), worked for decades to realize his dream of a reconstructed Globe; ultimately the theater was only finished in 1997, four years after Wanamaker died. Queen Elizabeth II opened the theater, which holds 1400 and is considered to be a faithful replica of the original theater; it has the only thatched roof allowed in London since the Great Fire of 1866. The President visits on the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard. Among the Globe's commemorations this weekend is the homecoming of a "Globe To Globe" production of Hamlet, a traveling troupe which has attempted to perform Hamlet in every country in the world. Globe to Globe will be performing songs and excerpts from Hamlet for the President this morning.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal