Guy Fawkes at the Globe

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Shakespeare and the King's Men were quick to perform Macbeth in 1606 to demonstrate their loyalty to James I after the attempt on his life. The profound influence on Shakespeare of the 17th-century's equivalent of 911 is explored in "He Who Whispers: Shakespeare and the Gunpowder Plot" at Shakespeare's Globe until February 2006.

Co-organised by the National Archives and the Metropolitan Police, it asks visitors to re-examine the evidence and "forget, forget everything you think you know" - for example, Guy Fawkes was not arrested in the cellar surrounded by gunpowder barrels.

Police files on the wall identify 24 key players, including fall guy Fawkes and Robert Cecil. Did Cecil, the Spymaster General, use the plot for his own ends, and was intelligence concealed until the last minute? Was Shakespeare's London justifiably paranoid about invasion from the European Catholic superpowers? On display are the suspects' confessions and original Crown prosecution evidence, including the controversial letter to Lord Monteagle, warning him to stay away from Parliament on November 5.

* www.shakespeares-globe.org

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