This month author Eloise Williams takes us on a tour around the Elizabethan London featured in Honesty and Lies.
We’ll be visiting the key places where Honesty and Alice spend their time and Eloise will give you an inside sneak peek into the places as well as what it takes to bring this world to life!
I love to write about the theatre and the Globe is surely one of the most evocative when it comes to historical stages. Don’t get me wrong, I love Victorian theatres with their decorative auditoriums, glittering chandeliers and plush velvet curtains. I’m also a sucker for other great outdoor venues, the Minack in Cornwall springs to mind as being exceptional, as does Regent’s Park. I also love a bit of street theatre, and the work of Brecht in breaking down barriers, or Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed which relies on audience participation. I feel as if I’m needlessly showing off my knowledge of theatres and practitioners now, but the point is, I adore it.
Before I became a writer, I was an actor and from the first professional performance I can remember, I was spellbound. Yul Brynner at the London Palladium is a pretty good place to start and though he meant nothing to me at the time – philistine that I was, I became completely enraptured by the costumes, lights, magic and story of the play. I’ve since been in lots of wonderful theatres, but the Globe is surely one of the most spectacular recreations of our time.
The audience in modern theatres – by which I mean British Victorian and onwards – tend to sit quietly until the end of an act and then applaud politely unless invited to take part in the action. Not so with an audience in Honesty and Alice’s day! There would have been shouting and heckling, ale being consumed in large quantities, cavorting and pickpocketing. The groundlings would have shoved and pushed for their view of the stage, and with their hard lives, poverty, and disease rife, the play had better be good to make it worth their while.
It’s that, which makes it so remarkable that a story could spellbind an audience. Of course, there was swordplay and gunpowder, beating drums and merry jigs, but ‘the play’s the thing’ and beyond these tricks of the trade and smells of the audience, the story soared capturing the hearts of the people and lifting them above the hardship for a while. At least, I like to imagine it did.
As Honesty says, ‘This is everything I ever knew that stories could be. The words curl and romp, frolic and gambol, trip from the actor’s tongues and enchant us all.’
If Honesty says it, it must be true, right?
Find out more about Eloise and Honesty and Lies: