The Theater That Shakespeare Stole ….!!!

On a cold, snowy December night in 1598, about a dozen men armed with swords, daggers and axes quietly broke into a recently vacated theater in Shoreditch, located just outside the city of London. With the aid of what modest light their lanterns could throw, the men worked tirelessly all throughout the night, dismantling the theater beam by beam and nail by nail, and loading the stripped timber onto wagons. By the time the darkness of the night gave way to the first light of dawn, the theater was gone.

The vandals in question were the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the theatrical troupe to which William Shakespeare belonged. For the past several years, the Chamberlain’s Men had been playing at Shoreditch’s Theatre. This theater, built in 1576, was the second permanent theater ever built in England, and the first successful one to be built for the sole purpose of theatrical productions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London. Photo credit: Diego Delso/Wikimedia

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men was founded in 1594, and within a short period of time it became one of the leading theatrical companies in London. Shoreditch’s Theatre was their home, and over the years, the Chamberlain’s Men played many of Shakespeare’s most famous plays on this stage.

In 1596 the lease for the property on which the Theatre was built expired, and the Chamberlain’s Men tried hard to negotiate an extension with the stubborn owner, Giles Allen. Not only Allen refused to renew the lease, he threatened to take possession of the theater as well. The dispute dragged on for two years, during which time the company performed at the nearby Curtain playhouse. It was at Curtain Theatre that Shakespeare debuted what is arguably his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Theatre of Shoreditch, the one that Shakespeare’s men dismantled.

When it became clear that Giles Allen wasn’t going to give back the land, the Chamberlain’s Men leased a new plot by the Thames, and on 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, the men stole into the Theatre and carefully tore it down. A talented carpenter named Peter Street, who would later build another historic London theater named Fortune Playhouse, recycled the old pieces of wood into an astonishing new theatre—the Globe, capable of holding up to 3,000 spectators.

The romanticized version of the story holds that the Theatre was dismantled during the course of a single night, but historians believe the job could not have been completed in such a short time. Also, there is no proof that Shakespeare was present during the night, although he most certainly would have been following the proceedings closely, for he did have a tremendous interest in having this job done right.

Initially the timber was stored in a warehouse near Bridewell, until the following spring, when the materials were ferried over the Thames and used to construct the much larger Globe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reconstruction of the Globe theatre based on archeological and documentary evidence.

The Globe was up and running by early 1599, and for the next 14 years it presented many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, a misfired stage cannon ignited the thatched roof and the theatre burned to the ground. Although the theatre was quickly rebuilt, Shakespeare probably never wrote for the second Globe. Eventually, like all the other theaters in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642.

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe”, now stands on the Thames approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theater. It was built in 1997, based on an approximation of the original design, but with only half the capacity.

The new theater was designed to be as authentic as possible to Shakespeare’s 16th century theater. The structure is made of timber alone without any steel support, and it is the only building in London with a thatched roof, since that material was banned after the Great Fire of 1666. Seats are simple benches, although spectators can request cushions during shows. No spotlights, microphones or any kind of modern audio equipment are used. All music is performed live, most often on period instruments, just like it was in the 16th century. Only recently, the Globe began experimenting with lighting and sound rig.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

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From China to Chennai, meet three generations of dentists who are as Tamil as Chinese…

Their families moved to Chennai from Hubei province and set-up dental clinics in the Evening Bazaar in the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glass doors of the tiny dental clinic swing open to green tiles, wooden panels, lots of dental instruments and neatly stacked bottles and medicine packs. Dr Shieh Hung Sen is inside, dressed in a green linen shirt, attending to a patient with practised deftness, while directing his assistant Nila in flawless Chennai Tamil.

Dr Shieh, who is better known by his Christian name Albert Shieh, is a second-generation Chennaite of Chinese origin. He runs Dr Shieh’s Bright Smile, a 75-year-old clinic, the oldest among the 8 such compact Chinese dental studios dotting the sides of Evening Bazaar Road, Park Town.

“My parents moved from Hubei province in China to Madas some time before the World War II. The Chinese communists were forcibly recruiting people to the army. It was either abscond or die. So my parents along with 8 other families left in the cover of the night to Burma, from where they came to Chennai in boats,” says Albert.

His father, Saw Ma Seng, among others who fled the country, were traditional Chinese dentists who established their business in Park Town in the 1930s. Now, their children and grandchildren are running the operations.

“Dental colleges started in the city only around the 1950s. Yet, our fathers had set up thriving businesses way back in the ’30s and we sons took over when they passed on,” says Albert, who went on to a acquire degree in dentistry from Annamalai University, after finishing his schooling in Bishop Corrie School, Parrys.

Growing up in Chennai

As he reminisces of the Chennai of his youth, Albert, who specialises in denture making, prods open his patient’s mouth and fixes a perfect set of lower front dentures on his gums.

“The best days of my life in Chennai were my school days. We used to play cricket in the Park Town grounds until late evenings. I spoke English and Tamil with my friends group and at home we spoke Mandarin (Hubei dialect),” smiles Albert, who can also read and write Tamil. Albert also understands Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, and even attempts speaking them occasionally.

“Today is Tamil New Year. You must be celebrating Vishu since you are a Malayali, right?” he asks this reporter with a smile.

Now married with two children, a son and a daughter, Albert reveals that his family speaks Tamil, Chinese and English at home.

“I got married to my wife, Hu Yu Kwan, who is from one of the families in the community itself. However, now the community is not as close-knit as we were, with the older generation passing on,” he says.

In his childhood, the families would get together every Chinese New Year and feast.

“The Chinese New Year’s Eve is a special day for us and the entire community gathers for a feast, which is a grand affair with Wuhan (Hubei cuisine) delicacies of Changyu fish and Sou Chin (stir fry) Chicken. It’s nothing like what you get in the Chinese restaurants in the city,” says Albert, who shares an equal and impartial love for south Indian cuisine too.

“Ïdly, dosa, sambhar and all other dishes I relish. My wife makes the best rasam and kaara kolambu, I feel. In fact, my son’s friends used to ask him if his mum was Tamilian or Chinese after tasting the lunches she used to pack for his school,” he adds with a shy smile.

Albert’s son, Joshua, is a practicing dentist in Canada and, interestingly, is married to a Tamil woman.

“When I was a kid, my mother used to threaten me that if I married outside of the community she would disown me. When I got married, I had a traditional two-day Chinese wedding and a church wedding. Now, times have changed; my daughter-in-law is Tamil and we had a register marriage along with a reception here in Chennai,” says Albert.

The family members are practicing Seventh Day Adventists who had earlier adopted Roman Catholicism. Over the years, many from the community have diverged to different denominations within Christianity.

In the next clinic, David Ma, also known as You Chang Ma, Albert’s nephew, is a Jehovah’s Witness and runs Venfa, a clinic started by his father. Unlike Albert, David belongs to the third generation of the Chinese diaspora settled in the city.

“I don’t have many ties to Hubei. All my life I have known this city. My favourite food is the karuvattu kolambu or the dried fish that you get here. I’m married to an Indian girl, who is from Sikkim. In fact, I had an arranged marriage and went all the way to Sikkim to find my wife, since they look similar to us,” David says with a chuckle.

From Kung fu to Kollywood

Emphasising that they don’t watch Chinese films but for the occasional Jackie Chan Kung fu movie that is released in Chennai, Albert and David reveal that they enjoy Tamil cinema, especially the songs.

“I love old Tamil songs. There are some beautiful songs from Mudhal Mariyathai,” says David as he hums ‘Poongatre’ from the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer.

While David had no qualms about breaking into song, his uncle is more of a closet musician.

“He is usually singing all the time. He loves SPB and sings very well,” his assistant Nila tells TNM.

Albert is a fan of Suriya too and says he is excited about Kamal Haasan’s entry into politics. Apart from this, the dentist also boasts of a few famous friends from the industry.

“Prabhu, Sarathkumar and drummer Sivamani are all my close friends. I became close Prabhu and Sarathkumar as an athlete in school when we met at an inter-school sports competition. We meet once in a while when I am in town,” says Albert, who migrated to Canada with his wife a few months ago and shuttles between Chennai and Ontario.

The future

The Chinese clinics like Albert’s and David’s cater to the local population in Park Town.

“We have a thriving business and clients who have been consulting us and our fathers before us. They trust us and we have sort of established a brand here in Chennai,” says David.

Although many of their relatives have migrated to the US, Canada and other parts of the world, David and Albert remain rooted to the city.

“Although I keep going to Canada, I can’t let go of my business here and most of the year I’m in Chennai,” says Albert.

And despite this mass migration to several parts of the world, none of the Chinese in Chennai have returned to their home province of Hubei.

“I once visited China on a packaged tour with my wife. We couldn’t visit our native place as we couldn’t break away from the others.I have a few cousins there and I hope to visit them once in my lifetime,” says Albert.

However, Chennai remains in their hearts even as they search for better prospects elsewhere.

“I have never felt like an outsider. Chennai has and will always remain one of the most welcoming cities here. My sentiments for this city, in IPL language would be Namma Chennai-ku oru whistle podu,” David concludes with a grin.

Source…… https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Many Historic Buildings in The UK Have Bricked Up Windows?…!!!

There was a time in Great Britain when having windows in homes and buildings were prohibitively expensive.

That time began in 1696 with the introduction of the much-despised window tax, that levied tax on property owners based on the number of windows or window-like openings the property had. The details of the tax kept changing with time, but the basic premise was that the more windows the house had, the more tax the owner had to pay.

In the eyes of the legislature the window tax was a brilliant way to put the burden of tax on the shoulder of the upper class. The rich usually had larger houses with more windows, and so were liable to pay more taxes. Poor people, on the other hand, lived in smaller houses and so paid less. To make the system even more attractive to the poorer class, those houses with fewer than ten windows were exempted from the window tax altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

The adage ‘free as air’ has become obsolete by Act of Parliament. Neither air nor light have been free since the imposition of the window-tax. We are obliged to pay for what nature lavishly supplies to all, at so much per window per year; and the poor who cannot afford the expense are stinted in two of the most urgent necessities of life.

One year later, in 1851, the window tax was repealed—156 years after first being introduced.

The window tax was just one of scores of absurd taxes designed by the British government to raise money. Another one was the brick tax introduced in 1784, during the reign of King George III, to help pay for the wars in the American Colonies. Again the people responded by increasing the size of the bricks so that fewer bricks are needed to raise a house. Many buildings built with oversized bricks still stand in Measham, Leicestershire.

Similarly, between 1662 and 1689, tax was levied on the number of hearths or fireplace in a dwelling, encouraging people to crowd into smaller dwellings and go without fire in some cases to avoid the tax. But the window tax was by far the longest lasting and the most hated.

Even today, the legacy of the window tax can seen be seen in the bricked-up windows in many historic buildings across Britain.

Bonus fact: The term “daylight robbery” is believed to have stemmed from window tax since it essentially amounted to robbing people of daylight through an unfair mean. However, the first printed use of the phrase didn’t occur until 1916, and even then the context didn’t explicitly link it to unfair overcharging. It was only after 1949 that the phrase was firmly associated with “unfairness”. Because of this disconnect—both in time and in meaning—between window tax and the phrase, some etymologistbelieve that the relation between the two is a myth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A satirical cartoon titled ‘The Revolution of the Planets Against the Tax Upon Light’ in response to the window tax introduced in 1696.                                                                                 A family looking forward to seeing more of the Sun when the Window Tax would be repealed. Cartoon by Richard Doyle, 1754.

Source……..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajam

 

The Secret of Boxing icon…Mary Kom”s Success….

‘If I am super fit till 2020, I will compete but if I am not fit I will not.’                               

IMAGE: MC Mary Kom celebrates with her coaching staff after winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal. Photograph: PTI

Almost every medal that is there to be taken is in her kitty but M C Mary Kom says she still trains like a maniac, the latest result of the regimen being a gold on debut at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday.

The 35-year-old mother-of-three, who has five world titles and an Olympic bronze medal, is seen as a sporting icon not just in India but also in other countries.

Crowned Asian champion just months ago, Mary Kom added the light flyweight (48kg) Commonwealth crown to her tally.

“The secret to my success is my fitness and I am very quick. I plan well before bouts. I am lucky that I can catch my opponents within seconds, I am able to read them very quickly,” a giggling Mary Kom said at the end of her CWG campaign.

“I don’t have injuries, all I have is minor issues like cramps sometime,” she added.

And the secret to her fitness levels and to an extent her calm demeanour in the ring is a training regimen that she refuses to let go even one day.

“When I decide something with my head and heart than even my husband cannot stop me. He sometimes tells me to take it easy after competition but I can’t help it,” she said.

“I have to train to keep myself calm. It’s a a strong urge, it’s a habit and training makes me happy. When I don’t train I feel sick sometimes,” she added.

But despite the high fitness levels, she wouldn’t commit on whether the outlandish possibility of a 2020 Olympic appearance is on her mind.

“2020 is difficult to say, but I will try my best. 48kg is not there and I will have to put on weight to be in 51kg which is never easy. If I am super fit till 2020, I will compete but if I am not fit I will not,” said the accomplished boxer.

Elated at being India’s first woman boxer to claim a Commonwealth Games gold, Mary Kom said scripting history makes her happy.

“I have won everything and all of my medals are very important. Do I need to say more? Which other boxer can claim that, now I would not be scared of anyone. I am very happy that I created history. I have got everything,” she said.

“I still think about Olympics gold but other than that I have got everything. Even in Olympics, I do have a medal. I haven’t left out anything,” she signed off.

Source……..www.rediff.com

natarajan

        

 

Meet Gururaja…CWG 2018 Medallist…

‘His victory is our victory,” said his family as they watched him bag the silver medal in weightlifting, in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 7.30 am on Thursday morning all eyes in the Poojary household in Vanse, a tiny village near Kundapur in Karnataka, were glued to the television.

One of their own, Gururaja Poojary, was taking part in the men’s 56-kg weightlifting competition in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After failing to lift the weight of 138 kg in his first two attempts, it appeared as if Gururaja’s medal prospects were slipping away

The 25-year old weightlifter, however, was the very picture of strength in his final attempt to take his final tally to 249 kg and clinch the silver medal.

This medal in the Gold Coast is not only Gururaja’s first taste of success on the international stage right on his debut, but is also the product of a journey where he overcame poverty and personal setbacks to reach where he is.

But for his family members, it came as no surprise.

He comes from a sporting family – all five of his brothers dabbled in Kabaddi and were athletes. “But it was Gururaj who was always going to achieve his dream,” says Manohar Poojary, Gururaja’s elder brother.

Gururaja’s father, Mahabala Poojary, is a goods-truck driver, who struggled to make ends meet to take care of his six sons. “Poverty is something we have lived in all our life. If we were a little bit well-off financially or received the necessary support and encouragement, maybe all of my sons could have made our country proud,” says Mahabala, speaking after his son’s success in Australia.

But due to poverty and unforeseen circumstances at home, Gururaja’s older brothers – Mohan, Manohar, Udaya and Rajendra – had to drop out of school and, with that, from sports. Only Gururaja and his youngest brother, Rajesh, completed their studies amongst the six sons.

His mother, Padhu Poojarthi, is a homemaker.

But his family was not willing to let Gururaja tread the same path. “Our father worked extra hard to ensure that Gururaja strove to achieve his dream. Seeing my father’s and brother’s struggles, even we chipped-in, taking on extra work to help in whatever way we could. Today, his victory is as much our victory,” says Manohar.

While studying at Sri Dharmastala Manjunatheshwara (SDM) College in Ujire, in Dakshina Kannada, Gururaja was looking for a wrestling coach rather than a weightlifting one. This was around the time Sushil Kumar had won his first Olympic medal in wrestling in 2008. While his search for a wrestling coach proved to be fruitless, he met powerlifters at the local gym and was soon representing his college in powerlifting.

It was here he met his coach Rajendra Prasad, who gave him his first lessons in weightlifting.”I still remember, in 2011, Gururaja was a young boy who had just joined a graduation course. He was a Kabaddi player and a wrestler, and did not have any idea about powerlifting. We selected him for the club and, seeing his talent, guided him in powerlifting,” says Rajendra Prasad, who works as a coach at the SDM Sports Club.

He added that Gururaja was proficient at the University level and even broke a record set by him in 1999 by lifting 193 kg (total in snatch and knee jerk) in 2012. He improved to 243 kg in 2015, a record which still stands to this day.

It was only in 2013 that he became a national-level athlete and in 2014, after a gold medal at the national-level, he started becoming a serious contender for a Commonwealth Games berth.

With his superlative rise in the sport, Gururaja also enrolled in the Indian Air Force three years ago, after which the Air Force took care of all the training expenses. “Until then, it was the family, college-mates and generous philanthropists who gave wings to his dream, hoping he would bring glory to the region,” says Manohar.

By the time the financial strain on his family was eased, 25-year-old Gururaja was ready to take on the world stage.

With the win in Australia, he has now vaulted straight into the national limelight and Pramod Madhwaraj, Karnataka Minister for Youth, Fisheries and Sport, who also hails from Udupi, said that Gururaja is likely to get a government job as a group-B officer and also a cash prize for his achievements.

When TNM caught up with Gururaja, he was, understandably, elated. “I am very happy that I have represented India in the Commonwealth Games and won the first silver medal for India (this year). This is my first Commonwealth Games and I want to thank my parents, family, my weightlifting coach Rajendra Prasad, SDM institution and everyone from my village who supported me,” he says.

His family members, who were nervously watching from home, was over the moon. Although his mother says she doesn’t quite understand the world of sport, she adds she is overwhelmed by the media visits.

But Gururaja’s family was quick to add that the journey is still not over. “We want him to make our country proud. Our biggest dream is that he participates and wins in the Olympics,” says Mahabala.

There is still some way to go before Gururaja can qualify for the Olympics. His final tally of 249 kgs will have to improve closer to 300 kgs. But throughout his journey, he has broken barriers and after his latest success in Australia, Gururaja will no doubt be willing to go the mile to chase his Olympic dream.

Source…….Harsha Raja Gatty and Prajwal Bhat in https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan