This is truly one of my favorite things to discuss with my students (because there's such a shock-factor involved)! Here are my responses (although there are many more differences than these):
- Today every theater is required to have a bathroom, while in Elizabethan England the theater was a very unsanitary place indeed (with no bathrooms to be found).
- Today women are, of course, able to participate in any theatrical productions, while in Elizabethan England no woman was allowed to perform (and men played the women's roles in drag).
- Today we don't have to worry about the plague, while in Elizabethan England someone dying from the plague was not uncommon.
- Today society rewards both women and men for being thin, while in Elizabethan England society rewarded both women and men for being chunky (because it meant you were wealthy and always had enough to eat).
- Today anyone can wear purple whenever they want, while in Elizabethan England only a count or a countess could wear that color because the expensive dye was made by crushing thousands of sea snails.
- Today a writer may use his or her computer to write virtually for free, while in Elizabethan England a writer's biggest expense would have been paper and candles.
- Today women are considered equals, while in Elizabethan England they had very low status with no legal rights (and weren't even able to act on the stage)!
- Today we pay big-bucks to go to a production of a Shakespearean play, while in Elizabethan England a groundling could watch one of Shakespeare's plays at the Globe for only a penny.
- Today rich people wear clothes by fancy designers or designer brands, while in Elizabethan England wearing certain kinds of fabric (like silk, satin, or velvet) showed your status.
- Today our theaters have standard lighting that allow us to see shows at night, while in Elizabethan Enlgand productions had to be held during the day because they needed to be lit by the sun.
- Today we have toilets that take our waste away both in a quick and hidden way, while in Elizabethan England people's waste ran in the true gutter right down the side of the road.
- Today theater productions are encouraged in order to promote tourism and the like, while in Elizabethan England the city officials hated the theater because it took people away from their jobs as well as encouraged pickpocketing and prostitution.