groundling n : in Elizabethan theater: a playgoer in the cheap standing section
A groundling was a person that frequented the Globe Theater in the early 1600's who was too poor to pay to be able to sit on one of the three levels of the theater. By paying one penny, they could stand in "The Pit", also called "The Yard", just below the stage and watch the play. Standing in the pit was uncomfortable, and most times people were packed like sardines, keeping each other standing. Groundlings were known to misbehave and even throw food at characters they didn't like.
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