The play’s the thing!

The play’s the thing!

The Globe Theatre was built in 1599 and destroyed by fire in 1613. “Shakespeare’s Globe,” a modern reconstruction opened in 1997 and is located approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theatre in London.

History tells us the first live plays were performed in Athens, Greece, at the Theatre of Dionysus at the beginning of the 5th century. The first Shakespeare play performed in London’s Globe Theater was probably “Julius Caesar” in 1599, and here we are 421 years later, some of us still struggling to understand exactly what the Bard of Avon meant when he created his body of work centuries ago.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of literary history, why not spend these free evenings at home coming to grips with the complete works of Shakespeare? The best way to enjoy any play is by watching talented actors bring the lines to life, and since theaters are dark, The Show Must Go Online is live-streaming readings of the Complete Works of Shakespeare in the order they were written. This week’s show is “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and next week is “The Taming of the Shrew.”

If you got all the Shakespeare you wanted in high school but enjoy the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber, you can stream his musicals on The Shows Must Go On. This weekend the channel presents one of Webber’s lesser-known musicals – “By Jeeves!” It’s a show-within-a-show format revolving around a lost banjo and an impromptu tale of thwarted love and mistaken identity. The show will be available for free for 48 hours beginning the evening of Friday, May 8.

If you’re more into ballet and opera than banjos, the Royal Opera House is streaming free ballet and opera from some of the industry’s most talented dancers and singers on their Our House to Your House playlist on YouTube. Complete performances of “The Winter’s Tale,” “Gloriana,” “The Metamorphosis” and others are available now.

If you don’t want to commit to a full performance but would like a bit of culture before you turn in for the night, there are many other resources available online. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several 360-degree virtual tours of their spaces. You can also view more than 25,000 works of art, searchable by the artist’s name, medium and more at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Smithsonian Institution has a wealth of content available online! Take a virtual tour the Museum of Natural History, the National Museum or 10 other museums around the world. The list includes the Vatican Museums, the London National Galleries, the NASA Research Centers and the Louvre.

Isn’t technology amazing? You can explore performance and art from the comfort of your living room and maybe even plan a trip to see some of these fantastic works up close and personal in the future.