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Topical Vocabulary
theatre, n: refers only to drama.
e.g. Do you like opera and ballet?
- Not very much. I prefer the theatre.
to go/to attend/to frequent the opera/ballet/theatre/cinema
syn. playhouse
theatrical, adj.: theatrical circle/world
opera-house, puppet theatre, open-air theatre, repertory theatre (ant. non-repertory)
variety theatre (syn. music hall) a hall or theatre used for variety of
entertainments (e.g. songs, dances, acrobatic performances, juggling, etc.)
Note: music hall must not be confused with concert hall.
production, n: a version of a play. to put on a production
e.g. a new production of Hamlet. John Gielguds production of King Lear
provoked a lot of controversy. This theatre is known for its imaginative productions.
performance, n: a single enactment. to deliver/to put on/to give a performance
a breathtaking/inspired/superb/listless performance; a never-to-be-forgotten
first performance (syn. first night, opening night, premiere)
e.g. Ive seen that production several times but I think tonights performance
was the best
show, n: any theatrical entertainment
variety show, n: one consisting of a series of numbers, such as songs, dances and
other musical items. The show has a comere.
e.g. The show was compered by ...
acting, n: the art of representing a character, esp. in a play or for a film or on
e.g. What do you think of his acting?
- The acting was good/brilliant/mediocre/amateurish/terrible/poor
play, n: a drama, as the plays of Shakespeare
to present/produce/put on/stage/rehearse/revive a play
e.g. Lets go to the play (= to the theatre). He has written a new TV play.
The college drama society are going to put on a play. I didnt like the play but I was
impressed by the acting. The play ran for two years on Broadway.
playwright, n: a writer of plays
play/appear/be in, v:
e.g. He has appeared in many successful productions.
- I saw King Lear yesterday.
- Oh, yes? Who was in it?
rehearse, v: practise a play for public performance
rehearsal, n. dress rehearsal. to put a play into rehearsal
play, n (syn. role) the main/leading part. a supporting part, a male/female part
e.g. In the play I take/play the part of a policeman. He spoke/acted his part well.

The Main Genres of the Theatre

tragedy, comedy, tragi-comedy, farce, drama, historical play/drama, melodrama, opera,
musical/musical comedy, ballet, variety-show
Theatre Staff
cast, n: the actors in a play, film, etc. an all-star cast, a supporting cast
e.g. The cast is/are waiting on the stage.
actor, actress, n.
(stage) director (syn. producer), n: a person who arrange for the stage production of a
dramatic work.
stage manager, n: a person in charge of a theatre stage during a performance
stage/set designer, n: a person who designs the props and scenery
costume designer, n: a person who designs clothes for the actors
a make-up artist, n: a person who puts make-up on the actors
understudy, n: an actor who is ready to play as a substitute
extra, n: an actor who has a very small part
e.g. We need a lot of extras for the big crowd scene.
prompter, n: one who prompts actors on the stage
attendant, n: (syn. usher/usherette) one who shows people to their seats
stage-hand (syn. scene-shifter), n: one who moves scenery
Inside the Theatre
foyer, n: an entrance to a theatre
e.g. They arranged to meet in the foyer ten minutes before the play started.
box-office, n: a place in a theatre, cinema, concert hall, etc. where tickets are sold.
e.g. Lets meet at the box-office. The play got bad reviews, but in box-office
terms it was great success. (= it was popular and therefore profitable)
cloakroom, n: a room, e.g. in a theatre where hats, coats, etc. may be left for a short
auditorium, n: (syn. theatre, house) the space in the theatre where people sit when
listening to or watching the performance
e.g. The theatre was full.
House full (Sold out, All tickets sold) a notice outside the theatre
Parts of the Theatre
stage, n: a raised platform in a theatre on which a performance takes place
e.g. The actor was on stage for most of the play. Hed always wanted to go on
stage. (= to become an actor)
scenery (syn. set), n: furniture, etc. placed on a stage to represent the scene of the
action of the play
e.g. In addition to designing all the sets, he did the scene painting
scene, n: 1) part of a play or production, e.g. Scene 1, Scene 2.
e.g. In the first scene the family are preparing to welcome the youngest son
home. The scene where John says godbye to Susan is very moving.

2) where the action takes place

e.g. The scene is set in pre-war Moscow. There was no change of scene during the
curtain, n: a sheet of heavy material to divide a stage from the part where the
audience sits
e.g. The curtain rises/goes up/comes down/drops/falls
wings, n: the sidesof the stage where an actor is hidden from view. In the wings.
footlights, n: a row of lights along the front edge of the floor of the stage
orchestra pit, n: a place assigned to musicians in front or partly under the stage
the stalls, n: the front rows of the auditorium
e.g. Id like to have a seat in the stalls.
- Sorry, the stalls are sold out.
pit, n: the back rows of the stalls
box, n: a small enclosed space with seats in a theatre, separate from the main seating
area, e.g. a royal box
dress-circle (Am. balcony, mezanine), n: the lowest curved row of raised seats in a
gallery (syn. the gods, balcony), n: 1) the highest upper floor in a theatre
e.g. We wont get a very good view from the gallery.
2) the people in these seats. To play to the gallery (= to try to win popularity by
appealing to low taste)
row, n: a neat line of people or things side by side
e.g. We sat in the third row of the stalls
aisle, n: a narrow passage between rows in a theatre
e.g. Give me two seats in the aisle, please
Buying Tickets
ticket, n: free/complementary/standing/unsold tickets. A ticket for a concert
e.g. Have you got any tickets for tonight?
to book a ticket to buy a theatre ticket, as to book a seat for a performance
e.g. All seats are booked. We dont take telephone bookings. Youll have to
book (up) well in advance if you want to see the show. Im sorry, the play is sold out.
(= all the seats have been booked)
The Audience and its Reaction
audience,n: the people listening to or watching a performance, speech, television,
show, etc.
e.g. The local drama group gave a really good performance. What a pity that
there was such a thin audience. The audience applauded loudly at the end of the
to attract/draw/pull a large audience
to electrify/grip/move an audience
Note: spectator is not used in conncetion with the theatre, cinema, etc. It is used in

conncetion with outdoor events, such as matches, races, etc. If we mean one person, we
may use one/a member of the audience.
e.g. Some members of the audience were shocked by the scenes of violence.
applaud,v: to show approval by hand-clapping (Syn. to give a hand)
e.g. The actor was loudly applauded.
applause, n: heavy/lengthy/light/weak/polite/enthusiastic/loud/thunderous applause
to get/win applause for
a strom of applause
applause broke out
e.g. The band got a big round of applause at the end of the concert. The
applause at the end was terrific.
to bring the audience to their feet, to bring down the house to gain an enthusiastic
approval of the audience
curtain call, n: the appearance of the actors at the end of a performance for applause
e.g. Curtain call followed curtain call as the performance ended. The leading
actress took seven curtain calls.
encore, n: an additional performance given esp. by a musician at the end of a
e.g. The violinist gave three encores. His performance evoked an enthusiastic
handcuffed, n: said of an audience which doesnt applaud
e.g. They seemed to be handcuffed.
hiss, n: a noise made by the audience for ones acting
e.g. Hisses rose from all parts of the audience.
Success or Failure
success, successful
e.g. The performance was very/rather/quite successful. It was a
great/tremendous success. He was a great success as Macbeth. The play is popular with
the public.
to get over the footlights to be a success
click, v (coll.) to be a success
e.g. The new show clicked with the public.
hit, n (coll.)
e.g. Their new production was a big hit.
capacity, n: the amount that smth can hold or contain
e.g. The seating capacity of this theatre is 500. The play drew capacity
audiences. They played to capacity.
good (bad) box-office said of a successful (unsuccessful) production
e.g. The show will be a good box-office.
flop, n: an utter failure
e.g. They put on a musical, but it was a total flop/fiasco
flop, v
e.g. The new play flopped after only three weeks. The performance failed to catch the
public/to establish itself as an audience hit. The performance was so boring that the

audience got up and left/only a few people could stand it to the end.
review, n: a newspaper article that gives a judgement on a new play, show, etc.
e.g. What sort of reviews did it get? - It got good/ favourable/ poor/
terrible reviews.
recieve, v:
e.g. The play/production/performance was well/ favourably/ enthusiastically/ poorly
The actor recieved wide acclaim for this role.
praise, n: expression of admiration
e.g. The play has aroused wide interest and almost unanimous praise from the
No praise could be too high for the brilliant acting and staging of the play.
Impressions of the Performance
The Scenery
The sound and light effects helped the audience to concentrate on the dialogues and
the acting;
I was delighted by the costumes and scenery;
The scene was laid in the woods, (in the castle, in ancient England ...);
Though being symbolic, the scenery produced a favourable impression on the
The scenery was magnificent, realistic, symbolic, beautifully decorated, beautifully
illuminated, fading, bright, colourless;
Staying opportunities were endless, but there was a concomitant challenge to the
director to swim and not to sink in this great theatrical expanse;
Decor and properties were pleasing and exceedingly well suited to the narrative;
The scenery was unexpressive, fading and didnt help to create a tense atmosphere
on the stage;
It was a lavish production, with well-staged lights, real horses and an atmosphere of
battle you can almost smell;
Some truth to life, the costume comedy theatrical artificiality, the realistic play held
the attention of the audience.
The Music
The music, though old-fashioned, fitted perfectly all the scenes and dances;
I was enchanted/charmed away by the music;
The music helped to create a tense atmosphere on the stage;
The music intensified the impression of the actors playing;
The music was sweet (melodious, deep, impressive, amusing, expressive, tender) and
went to the spectators hearts;
The singer was touching in his tragic ardour, singing with a warm soft power;
The actress gave us a wonderfully affecting;
Willow Song, most delicately moulded and firmly intoned;
The music was madly eclectic in style and modern-fashioned;
The Prokofiev classic was handsome and imaginative;

The famous prelude to the last act of La Traviata depicts the abandoned and dying
woman in her final hours with softly falling harmonies.
The Acting
I was moved by the performance of S. The actor moved the audience to tears.
Every gesture of the ballet-dancer went straight to my heart;
She played her part convincingly (artistically, with convinction and passion);
N. Quite touched the heart with his sensitive portrayal of the hero.
The actress confirmed her early promise with a delightful rendering of the leading role;
The actors who brought the characters to life so successfully well - deserved the
tremendous cheers which they recieved on the opening night;
The actress appeared to understand the role thoroughly and, in consequence, one drank
in her words and watched her with growing respect;
The actress was a touching Desdemona;
The action was beyond admiration;
The dancing was superb (effective, impressive, touching, natural, true to life, moving,
The cast of actors was excellent (distinguished);
The rendering was good, the actor gave an excellent portrayal of the main character;
There was much of emotion in the actors playing;
The actress should have shown more inspiration in the scene ... there was a lack of
feelings in the acting of ...
The character of ... was treated convincingly;
The actress (actor) played her (his) best that evening;
The playing of the actors was so natural and realistic that I began to feel for her as in
real life;
I liked the style of acting;
The actors didnt even know their lines properly;
Some actors just rattled off their text without the slightest regard for its meaning;
The actress was aching in a completely naturalistic way, not creating any obvious
theatrical dimensions;
The actress managed to create a character of such depth and pathos that half the
audience was weeping;
The dancer danced beautifully and charmingly;
The ballerina was excellent both in classicism and in character;
He is an elegant dancer with dramatic talent and an accomplished technique,
exceptional light elevation and forceful personality;
The singer has a temperament, subtle, artistic intuition, charm and excellent voice;
She is a real primadonne with a voice of rare lyric beauty;
Vivien Leigh confirmed her early praise with a delightful rendering of the leading role;
Michael Redgrave touched the heart with his sensitive portrayal of the hero;
Laurence Oliviers first appearance as a never-to-be-forgotten Othello in the National
Theatres production was brilliantly successful. Othello was played magnificently,
Oliver really entered into the part;
The technique of the ballet dancer was faultless (immaculate, precise, graceful,

remarkable, brilliant);
The part (role) of King Lear played by Laurence Olivier is a prodigious, triumphant
achievement, crowning the career of the great actor.

The Bolshoi Theatre -

The Moscow Art Theatre - ()
The Maly Theatre -

The Performance
There came a strom of applause after the final scene;
I enjoyed the performance immensely;
The play was dull (uninteresting, bored me to death, captured my imagination ...);
The play was a success with the public (was popular with the public);
There was no end to the applause when the perfomance was over;
There were exclamations of admiration after the performance;
The play was moving (too lovely for words);
The performance was too long, it seemed that even the actors energy was failing;
It was an uneven performance, eloquent in places, ineffective in others;
I felt like walking out;
The performance flopped due to the poor directorship, let alone the sloppy scenery
and strange unsuitable music;
The admiration of the audience knew no bounds ...
The play (performance) reflected (dealt with, was devoted to, told of, depicted the
life of, was based on historical facts) events;
The plot moves backwards and forwards ...
The production of the play is controversal, I must presume;
The play was played as a dressy melodramatic charade;
The wit of Halls approach lies in treating Wildes Victorian staginess lightly and his
comedy totally serious;
The performance was marvelous;
As a producer he showed a keen and kind sense of humour, recurrent sparks of visual
and literal imagination and a solid gift for getting a story told;
The satire of the production is tough, but the humanity is still present;
The play has aroused wide interest and almost unanimous praise from the critics;
No praise could be too high for the brilliant acting and staging of the play;
The ballet was too exotic, pure classical;
The now-famous mesmering entry;
The comic vein of the play is very rich;
All the characters were endowed with crude vitality but had few distinguished traits;
Great acting, direction and design have achieved an unforgettable feast for ear and
It was a memorable performance;
All praise to the corps de ballet and soloists.

Much Ado About Nothing
Romeo and Juliet
Twelfth Night
The Queen of Spades
The Three Sisters
The Sea-Gull
Cherry Orchard
The School for Scandal
Don Quixote [don kwikst]
Swan Lake

Covent Garden (The Royal Opera House) - (
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre -
Old Vic -

Language Work
1. Make comparisons, using the model:
Models: 1. The play is (much) more interesting than the book on which it was based.
2. In fact its the best play of the season.
3. It is produced (much) better than many other plays. (This play isnt produced as well
as some other plays.)
4. N. plays best (of all).
5. The first act is as (is not so) interesting as the second.
2. Compare two plays, using the adjectives and adverbs from the vocabulary
3. Compare two actors, using the vocabulary list.
4. Match the words to produce word combinations or compound nouns.
5. Complete the following sentences using prompts.
When you want to see a play you go to the ...

The plays are performed on the ...

Each act consists of several ...
Before the play is ready to be performed the actors must practise their parts in ...
Rehearsals, theatre, stage, scenes
6. Who is in the theatre? Match the words (1-16) on the left with a suitable
definition (a-p) on the right.
1.actor, actress
9. prompter
2. audience
10. make-up artist
3. cast
11. set designer
4. company
12. stage hand
5. choreographer
13. stage manager
6. critic
14. understudy
7. director
15. usher, usherette
8. playwright
16. costume designer
a) the person who writes reviews of new plays, musicals, etc.
b) all the people who act in a play or a musical
c) learns another actors part in order to be able to take his place if he or she is ill
or unable to perform
d) reminds the actors of their next line in a speech if they forget it
e) shows people coming to watch the play or musical to their seats
f) puts make-up on the actors faces
g) makes up or arranges the steps for the dancers who perfom on stage
h) designs the scenery, etc. on stage
i) a group of actors, singers or dancers who work together, e.g. The Royal
Shakespeare ______
j) the people who come to watch a play or a musical
k) helps behind the scenes during a production, e.g. by moving scenery, etc.
l) a person who writes plays
m) is responsible for everything that happens on stage during a performance
n) a person whose job is acting
o) decides how a play is performed; tells the actors what to do
p) designs the clothes the actors wear
7. Insert the missing words in the sentences below. Choose from the
Aisle, applause ,auditorium, box office, circle (or balcony), curtain, dress,
rehearsal, dressing-room, first night, foyer, interval, matinee, (orchestra) pit,
performance, programme, rehearse (verb), row, stage, stalls, wings
1. We picked up the tickets we had ordered at the theatre ______________.
2. The ___________ is the large area just inside the main doors of a theatre where
people meet and wait, while the ____________ is the part of a theatre where the

audience sit.
3. He was given the Evening Standard Actor of the Year award for his _________ in
Cyrano de Bergerac.
4. We walked down the __________ behind an usher as he showed us to our seats in
______ F.
5. The ___________ was terrible. Several of the actors forgot their lines, one or two
dancers fell over and there was a problem with the lighting. Lets hope the plays a lot
better when it opens on Saturday.
6. When you buy tickets you can choose to sit downstairs in the ________ or upstairs
in the ____________.
7. If you cant get to see the plat in the evening, you can always go to the
__________ or afternoon performance.
8. The audience really loved the new musical, as they showed by their loud
__________ at the end.
9. The ___________ is the area where the actors stand and perform.
10. I never go to see a play on its _________ . I prefer to wait a few weeks. Its
usually better then.
11. In front of the stage is an area where the musicians sit. This is called the
12. If you want to know more about the play or the actors in it, you can always buy a
__________ before the performance.
13. The audience became silent as the __________ went up and the play began.
14. Before going on stage, the actors often wait in the _____________, that is, the area
to the side of the stage, hidden from the audience.
15. There is usually a short _____________ of about 15-20 minutes between the acts
of a play.
16. They normally _____ for at least two months before they perform in public.
17. The actors put on their costumes and make-up in the ____________.
8. Say what they usually do: a dancer, a conductor, a ticket-taker, a prompter, a
spectator, a playwright, a musician, a composer, an usher, a ticket-taker.
9. Explain in English: a theatre- goer, a spectator, a drama, a theatre, a musical
comedy theatre, the stalls, an actor, the cast, a curtain call, a rehearsal, a prompter, a
box-office, scenery, to applaud.
10. Make sure you know the English equivalents for the following:
(), , , , , ,
, , -, , , ,
, , , , , , (), .
11. Answer the questions.
What do we call a person who shows people to their seats in the theatre? What do
we call the performance which takes place in the day-time? What does the sign House
Full at the entrance of the theatre mean? What will you do if you want to go to the

theatre very much but cant buy the tickets beforehand?

12. Make up situations or dialogues to illustrate these sentences:
1. Well, I do know him. 2. What do you take him for? 3. Are you so sure of his
failure? 4. They have nothing in common. 5. Do you know what hes getting at?
13. How will you act and what will you say if:
You want to know what is on;
You dont know how to get to the theatre;
You come to the box-office to buy tickets;
You cant find your seat;
You want to know the cast;
You are eager to listen and your neighbour is talking all the time;
You come home very late.
14. Change the sentences into the opposites:
They say his new play is a complete failure with the public.
Everybody agrees that Johnson was at the worst yesterday.
This play is still on at the Art Theatre.
My friend said that he had enjoyed every minute of the play.
Her acting today was true to life.
When one sits on the front rows one has a good view of the stage.
The play was so dull that the spectators were bored to death.
My brother often goes to matinees.
15. Fill in the blanks with articles if necessary and retell the text.
Ira Aldridge, famous tragic actor of ... 19th century, was ... American Negro. He
paid his first visit to Russia at ... end of 1859 when he was at ;.." height of his fame.
His first appearance on ... Russian stage made ... deep impression on ... great
Ukrainian poet Shevchenko who was particularly impressed by ... actor's convincing
performance of ... tragic parts. Soon they became friends. ... great Ukrainian
painted ... picture of .;. great Negro, and gave it to him as ... present. ... leading
Russian actors of ... time never missed ... opportunity to go to ... performances in
which Aldridge took part. During ... month's stay in St. Petersburg, Aldridge
played ... roles of Othello, King Lear and Shylock. In 1863 Aldridge came to
Moscow, where he appeared for over ... month with ... Maly Theatre company.
Aldridge was particularly friendly with great actor Mikhail Shchepkin, ... son
of ... peasant, and himself ... former serf. On ...picture of himself which he presented
to Shchepkin, Aldridge wrote ... following words: "To ... father of ... Russian stage,
Shchepkin, with the lasting respect of Ira Aldridge. Moscow, 27th October, 1863."
16. Put one of the following words in each of the spaces below:
To, in, behind, during, at, on
We sat ___ the stalls.

The usherette showed us ___ our seats.

There were two actors ___ the stage.
Youd better ask ___ the box office.
My favourite actress was ___ the play.
During the performance, work is going on ___ the scenes.
People usually have a drink or a cigarette ___ the interval.
Our seats were ___ the third row.
He prefers to sit ___ the front; she likes to be ___ the back.
I like to sit ___ the middle.
17. Put each of the following words or phrases in its correct place in the
passage below
Reviews, performances, audience, rehearsals, first night, director, run, theatregoers, parts, hit, cast, flop, critics, playwright, matinees, applause, auditions
The person who directs the preparation of a play is the __________. Sometimes
the _________, who wrote the play works with him. One of the first things to be done
is to choose _______, the actors and actresses. For this purpose, _______ are held at
which actors perform short pieces and the most suitable are chosen for the _______ in
the play. Before the play is performed in front of an _______ of hundreds of ________,
of course there are a lot of __________. At last, the _________! When the curtain goes
down at the end, will there be enthusiasm ________ or silence? Will the newspaper
_________ be good or bad? What will the _________ think? Everyone hopes for a
________ that will ____________ for months or even years, but the play might be a
_________ and only last for a few days. Its hard work in the theatre. There are evening
__________ six nights a week and afternoon shows, called ________________, once
or twice as well.
18. Replace the underlined words with one of the following phrasal verbs, in
the appropriate form: come on, get across/over (to), get in/into, go up, pack out, put
on, sell out/out of, sit through, take off.
1. The National Theatre is staging a new version of Pigmalion by B. Shaw.
2. The new musical was not very original and audiences were so small that it was
removed after a month.
3. They didnt manage to get tickets for the theatre, as all the performances were
fully booked.
4. The Opera House was absolutely full for the first night of The Queen of Spades.
5. A few minutes later the curtain rose.
6. At last the famous actress appeared on the stage.
7. The cast communicated the hopelessness of the unemployed very well.
8. The play was so boring that I hardly managed to stay in my seat till the end.
19. Change the following sentences into the opposites.
1. They say his new play is a complete failure with the public.
2. Everybody agrees that X was at the worst yesterday.
3. This play is still on at the Art Theatre.


My friend said that he had enjoyed every minute of play.

Ns acting was true to life.
When one sits on the front rows one has a good view of the stage.
The play was so dull that spectators were bored to death.
My brother often goes to matinees.

20. Complete the sentences.

1. Lets take the opera-glasses ...
2. The best seats are ...
3. Ill try to get tickets ...
4. Lets buy a programme ...
5. The public admires ...
6. It is not easy to get tickets for this play as ...
7. The bell is ringing, lets ...
8. Lets ask the usher ...
9. The play is very popular ...
10. The theatre was so full that ...
11. When the curtain rose we saw ...
12. I was deeply impressed by ...
13. I enjoyed the play greatly because ...
14. Id have enjoyed the play much more if ...
15. The performance was a failure because ...
16. Since/as the play was boring I ...
17. I should prefer the theatre to start later as ...
18. Never arrive late at the theatre because ...
19. I like old theatres best because ...
21. Make up dialogues using the words and word combinations given below.
I Intending to go to the theatre: to read a poster, to be on, to be worth, to praise,
in my opinion, an excellent idea, to look up the time of, to see an announcement, to
be in great demand, to choose to prefer, to look forward to
II Booking a ticket for the theatre: a row, the stalls (the gallery, the pit, the
balcony, a box), as a matter of fact, to prefer, these seats will do
III Going to the theatre: to wear, to look nice to keep somebody waiting, hurry
up, Id rather, to take a taxi, to be held up, nearly, neednt
IV Impressions of a play: to be worth, expressive, cast, excellent, opinion, to
look upon as, to do well, to be impressed, to find interesting, as a matter of fact,
a plot, to be familiar, to look forward to
22. Describe the preparations for the amateur performance, using some of
these words and word combinations:
An amateur performance, to look forward to, to discuss, to complain, to think of,
to take an interest in, to choose, acting, the leading roles, to take advantage of, the
attitude, to put down to, to be cross, to try to convince, to agree, to give in, to be
excited, a rehearsal, at the expense of, as a result, fame, to spread, to be eager, to

23. Translate into English.
1. ,
, .
, , .
, .
2. ? ? -
, . . ,
3. .
. .
4. . . ?
. , .
5. ?
. , ,
6. . ,
. ,
? .
7. . , ?
, .
8. ? . ?
. -, ,
, .
9. . ,
10. , ?
? -, . ,
. ,
. ? .
11. , - . ?
. , , .
( ).
. , . , ,
, . .
, .
Read and tell these jokes:
Once, when a young musicians concert was poorly received by the critics,
Sibelius patted him gently on the shoulder. Remember, son, he consoled the young

man, there is no city anywhere in the world where they have erected a statue to a
Jimmy Saphier, the talent agent, answered his phone recently and was asked for
a job. I can sing, dance, balance a banana on my nose said a voice.
Im sorry, but its a slack season. I dont have any spots for novelty acts.
Wait, Jimmy, dont hang up! I can play the musical saw while sawing a girl in
half, and I do a swimming act where I play a ten minute harmonica solo under
Sorry, Jimmy told the voice. Not unusual enough.
Wait, dont hang up, Jimmy. Theres one more thing Im a dog!
Where do you suppose those Hollywood scenario writers get their ideas?
Well, judging by their productions, I should say they get them from each
Dramatist: I wish I could think of a big strong situation that would fill the
audience with tears.
Theatre Manager: Im looking for one that will fill the tiers with audience.
Read the joke, think of its beginning and tell the joke with as many details
as you can add to it.
During the performance a man in the pit was much annoyed by a young couple
next to him, who kept on whispering.
Excuse me, he said, but I cant hear a word that is being said.
I like that, exclaimed the talkative young man. Its no business of yours, sir,
what Im telling my wife.
Ask your partner the following questions.
1. Are you keen on theatre? 2. Which do you prefer: cinema or theatre? 3. Which
of the Minsk theatres do you like best? 4. When did you last go to the theatre? 5. Did
you book a ticket in advance or on the day of the performance? 6. What performance
did you see? 7. Who was in the cast? 8. Did you like the acting and the sets? 9. Was
the house full? 10. Did you see the stage well from your seat? 11. Do you enjoy
opera and ballet? 12. Do you often go to the Opera and Ballet House? 13. What did
you like in particular: music, singing, dancing, the sets? 14. Do you think theatre is
becoming less popular nowadays? 15. Who are the most popular actors, singers and
ballet dancers in your country? 16. Who is the most prominent playwright of today in
your country? Are his/her novels staged? 17. Do the cinema and theatre have an
educational role? If so, what? 18. Have you ever performed? Did you enjoy doing it?
Reading. Speaking
1. You are in London. You have a free evening. Youd like to go to the
theatre. Study the information how to book your theatre tickets in London.


Go in person to the Theatre Box Office generally open from 10.00 am until the
start of the evening performance. Pay in cash, by credit card, cheque or West End
Theatre Gift Tokens.
Write to the Theatre Box Office stating the performance you wish to see, with
alternatives if possible, and enclosing a cheque, postal order or West End Theatre Gift
Tokens, plus s.a.e.
Telephone the Theatre Box Office to make a reservation. Then either pay in
person or send payment, usually within 3 days.
Use your credit card most theatres accept credit card bookings by telephone. You
will be asked to present your credit card when you collect your tickets. You can also
book by credit card at ticket agencies, who may add an additional booking fee to the
cost of your ticket. Telephone numbers to call for credit card booking at Box Offices
and ticket agencies are listed in this guide.
Be aware of ticket touts a ticket should always have its original face value
clearly displayed. If you are sold a ticket at more than its face value, and if that value is
not shown or made known to you, please let the Society of West End Theatre know by
calling 071-836 3193.

2. Develop the following statements into situations or short stories.

Will you go and buy tickets for me?
Id rather go to the Drama Theatre.
I wonder if somebody would join us.
I suggest we start at 6 oclock. The doors of the House shut at 7.
Its a shame you cant go with us tonight. What about next Sunday?
We are going to see a new ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre. would you join us?
I wonder if anybody would like to go with me to book the tickets for the play?

3. Role-playing
Theatre-Goers Roles:
1. You are calling the Palace Theatre to book two tickets for the concert next
Wednesday evening. You want two seats in the circle. Check that the performance
begins at 7.45.
2. You are calling the Grand Theatre about the ballet on Friday and Saturday.
Find out the cost of tickets and if they have any left. Book one seat on either Friday or
Saturday if you can.
3. You are calling the Grand Theatre. You want tickets for the performance of
Antony and Cleopatra on Friday. (If not Friday, then Thursday.) You want 4 seats
together in the stalls. (If there are none in the stalls, then in the circle.)
Information for the Booking Clerks/Operators:
1. You are in the Palace Theatre box office. There are plenty of tickets for the
concert on Wednesday, which begins at 7.45. You accept bookings by phone but tell
callers that they must come and get their tickets tomorrow.

2. You are in the New Theatre box office. There are plenty of tickets for the
ballet on Friday and Saturday. You have seats in the stalls at &3.50 and in the circle
at &2.50. you do not take telephone bookings.
3. You are in the Grand Theatre box office. All tickets for the Performance of
Antony and Cleopatra are sold out on Friday, but there are a few tickets left for
Thursday. But you do not have four seats together, either in the stalls or in the circle.
4. Study the booklet. What information can you get from it? Dou you find it
Eugene Onegin
Text Shilovsky and Tchaikovsky, after Pushkin
November 26, 28
January 13, 17, 22, 24, 30
February 4 at 7.30pm
January 22 - a sign-interpreted and audio-introduced performance
'Alexander Polianichko of the Kirov Opera,.. beautifully conveying the tender
melancholy of the score as well as its brilliant passages'
Michael Kennedy. Sunday Telegraph
Julia Hollander's beautiful new production of Onegin does everything Tchaikovsky
would want his opera to do'

Alexander Waugh, Evening Standard

Eugene Onegin coasts a country house party, a St Petersburg ball and a fatal
duel, but it is the warmth, intimacy and tenderness which the composer lavishes on
the characters that make it not only Tchaikovsky's most popular opera. but also one
of the best-loved of all Russian operas.
The composer himself fell in love with Talyana, the shy country girl whose
crush on the moody. Bored Onegin is brushed aside - until they meet again years
later. The famous 'Letter Scene' in which the young girl pours out her soul in a rapt
admission of love is one of opera's great moments.
Alter successes at home and abroad, Vivian Tierney returns to ENO to sing
Talyana. Onegin is sung by the young American baritone Andrew Schroeder. whose
European debut at Toulouse in the same role won immense praise.
friend he kills alter a senseless quarrel, is Company Principal Mark Le Brocq.
distinguished in a host of roles, and the flirtatious Olga is Christine Rice, making her
house debut.
Julia Hollander's traditional production is conducted by Alexander Polianichko
of the Kirov Opera, whose interpretation was much admired in 1994. Michael Lloyd
conducts at later performances.
Performances end at approximately 10.30pm
Eugene Onegin - Andrew Schroeder
Tatyana - Vivian Tierney
Lensky - Mark Le Brocq
Olga - Christine Rice
Prince Gremin - John Connell
Madame Larina - Anne Wilkens

Filippyevna - Nuala Willis

Monsieur Tricjuet - John Graham-Hall
Zaretsky - Mark Richardson
Conductor - Alexander Polianichko/ Michael Lloyd (from January 30)
Director - Julia Hollander
Set Designer - Fotini Dimou
Costume Designer - Tahra Kharibian
Lighting Designer - Jenny Cane
Choreographer - Nicola Bowie
Translation David Lloyed-Jones

5. Make a dialogue on the topic.

You take a foreign friend to an opera, play, ballet, musical comedy. Show and
tell him the brief contents of the libretto or the programme.
6. Act out the following dialogues. Make up similar dialogues. Retell the
dialogues in the indirect speech.
Mike: Hello, Jack. Why the rush? Where are you going?
Jack: Hello, Mike. Im on my way to meet Joyce at the station. Were having dinner at
a Chinese restaurant and then were off to the theatre.
Mike: Do you often go to the theatre?
Jack: Yes, Joyce and I usually go at least once a fortnight, sometimes more. Do you
ever go?
Mike: Yes, but I dont often find time these days. There are so many other things to do.
Jack: True, true.
Mike: Listen, perhaps Janet and I can arrange to meet you and Joyce one Saturday
evening. We can have dinner together and go on to a theatre.
Jack: Thats a good idea. Look, I forget the name of the play, but theres a good
comedy on at the Theatre Royal next week. If you like, I can book four seats for next
Mike: All right. Im meeting Janet later this evening so I can make sure that shes free
next Saturday. Ill ring you tomorrow to confirm if we are coming.
Jack: Fine. I must fly now. Its six oclock already and Joyces bus arrives at ten past.
She hates waiting around and I dont want to spoil everything by upsetting her before
we start our evening.
Mike: Ill phone you tomorrow then. Give my regards to Joyce. Have a good evening.
- I want four seats for Sunday, please.
- Matinee or evening performance?
- Evening, please.
- Well, you can have very good seats in the stalls. Row F.
- Oh, no! Its near the orchestra-pit. My wife cant stand loud music.
- Then I could find you some seats in the pit.

- Im afraid that wont do either. My father-in-law is terribly short-sighted. He

wouldnt see much from the pit, would he?
- Hm... Perhaps, youd care to take a box?
- Certainly not! Its too expensive. I cant afford it.
- Dress-circle then?
- I dont like to sit in the dress-circle.
- Im afraid the only thing that remains is the gallery.
- How can you suggest such a thing! My mother-in-law is a stout woman with a
weak heart. We couldnt dream of letting her walk up four flights of stairs, could we?
- I find, sir, that there isnt a single seat in the house that would suit you.
- There isnt, is there? Well, I think wed much better go to the movies. As for me, I
dont care much for this theatre-going business. Good day!
Agent: Hello, Agency Booking Office.
Client: Hello, my names Peter Robinson, and Id like to enquire about the plays at
Stradford at the moment.
Agent: Just a minute, Mr Robinson. Yes, here we are. Stradford. There are two plays
during the present season, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream.
Client: Oh. You mean I cant see A Winters Tale?
Agent: Im afraid not, Mr Robinson. It doesnt start until July.
Client: I see. Well, can you give me some details about A Midsummer Nights
Agent: Certainly the leading roles are played by Richard Easton and Amanda
Harris. The production is directed by Bill Alexander. When do you want to see the
Client: At the end of May. The last week.
Agent: In that case we have tickets on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th only. The
other days are booked up, Im afraid. On both days performances start at 7.30 in the
evening. We suggest that you arrive half an hour before the performance as
latecomers cant be allowed in until the interval.
Client: Yes, I see. And how much are the tickets?
Agent: Well, we have just a few seats available at &9.00. But there are quite a few at
&12.50 and &14.00.
Client: What are the &9.00 seats like?
Agent: Theyre at the side of the stage, but the more expensive ones are right in front
of it. Youd have a better view.
Client: Right then. Can I book three seats at &12.50 for the 7.30 performance on
Thursday 29th May.
Agent: Very well, Mr Robinson. If you send us a cheque for &37.50 well send you
the tickets. You have our address?
Client: Yes...
Sally: Tony, theres an advertisement in the local paper saying that the theatre in the

High Street is putting on Cinderella. I havent seen a pantomime for years and years.
Do you fancy going?
Tony: Yeh, that sounds good. I dont think Ive seen one since I was about fourteen
except for one on ice when I was crazy about skating, and thats not quite the same
thing, is it?
Sally: No. Ice shows dont have all the wonderful traditional scenery and that gorgeous
theatre atmosphere.
Tony: Pantomimes are awfully old, if you think about it, arent they? I mean with a girl
playing the part of the principal boy, all dressed up in tights and tunic.
Sally: Mm, and the dame parts taken by men. Ive never seen Cinderella. I suppose
the stepmother and the ugly sisters are the mens parts in that.
Tony: Aladdin used to be my favourite, when a comedian played the Widow Twankey.
And when Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp an enormous genie appeared.
Sally: And the audience booing the wicked uncle, and joining in the singing of the
popular songs they always manage to get into the play somehow.
Tony: Yes! I wonder how on earth they manage to fit todays pop songs into
pantomime stories?
Sally: Well, why dont we get tickets and find out?
Tony: Yes, OK. Come on, then.

7. Role Play.
Divide into groups of three. Two of you should discuss which Broadway play you
would like to see. Decide when you would like to go. Have a second choice in mind,
just in case your first pick is sold out. When you have made these decisions, call the
theater box office for tickets. The third person in the group is the ticket agent.

In the earliest theatrical performances, the dramatist performed all artistic

functions, including acting. Gradually different theatre arts emerged. In the modern
theatre, a director is used to integrate all aspects of production, including scenery,
costumes, lighting, sound effects, music and dancing, but perhaps his most important
job is to guide the performers.

OH KAY! - A fun musical with all your favorite Gershwin songs! Menskoff
Theater 555-0374 Tues.-Sat. at 8:00, Wed. and Sat. at 2:00, Sun. at 3:00 - $40-560
(2hrs. 20 mins.)
CATS - The famous Broadway musical that has warmed hearts around the
world. The Spring Garden Theater 555-4895 Tues.-Sat. at 8:00, Wed. and Sat. at
2:00, Sun. at 2:00 S25-S60; 200 discounted tickets are available at the box office for
students and senior citizens. (3hrs. 15 min.)
THE SOUND OF MUSIC - A romantic musical about the Von Trapp family and
their unusual governess. Kentucky Theather 555-9370 Tues-Sat. at 8:00, Wed. and
Sat. at 2:00, Sun. at 3:00 S55-S55 (2hrs. 30 mins.)
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE A Pulitzer Prize winning play about moral
tensions in the South. Martin Buck Theater 555-0102 Mon.-Sat. at 8:00, Wed. and
Sat. at 2:00 $3750-550 (2hrs.)

9. Read the text and say what drama is, when drama began and what forms of
drama are differentiated.
Drama is an art form that tells a story through the speech and actions of the
characters in the story. Most drama is performed by actors who impersonate the
characters before an audience in a theatre.
No one knows exactly how and when drama began, but nearly every civilization
has had some form of it. Drama may have developed from ancient religious ceremonies
that were performed to win favour from the gods. In these ceremonies, priests often
impersonated supernatural beings or animals, and sometimes imitated such actions as
Another theory suggests that drama originated in choral hymns of praise sung at
the tomb of a dead hero. At some point, a speaker separated from the chorus and began
to act out deeds in the heros life. This acted part gradually became more elaborate, and
the role of the chorus diminished. Eventually the stories were performed as plays, their
origins forgotten.
According to a third theory, drama grew out of a natural love of storytelling.
Stories told around campfires re-created victories in the hunt or in battle, or the feats of
dead heroes. These stories developed into dramatic retellings of the events.
Among the many forms of Western drama are tragedy, serious drama, melodrama
and comedy. Many plays combine forms.
Tragedy maintains a mood that emphasises the plays serious intention, though
there may be moments of comic relief. Such plays feature a tragic hero, an exceptional
individual who is brought to disaster and usually death. The heros fate raises questions
about the meaning of existence, the nature of fate, morality, and social or psychological
Serious drama, which developed out of tragedy, became established in the 1800s.
It shares the serious tone and often the serious purpose of tragedy and, like tragedy, it
concentrates on unhappy events. But serious drama can end happily, and its heroes are
less imposing and more ordinary than the tragic hero.
Melodrama involves a villain who initiates actions and that threaten characters
with whom the audience is sympathetic. Its situations are extreme and often violent,
though endings are frequently happy. Melodrama portrays a world in which good and
evil are clearly distinguished. As a result, almost all melodramas have sharply defined,
oversimplified moral conflict.
Comedy tries to evoke laughter, often by exposing the pretensions of fools and
rascals. Comedy usually ends happily. But even in the midst of laughter, comedy can
raise surprisingly serious questions. Comedy can be both critical and playful, and it
may arouse various responses. E. g. satiric comedy tries to arouse scorn, while

8. Read the text and say what theatre is. Where does the word theatre
come from? Is theatre the same as drama?
Theatre, also spelled theatre, is a live performance before an audience. It
includes all every form of entertainment form the circus to plays. In more traditional
terms, theatre is an art form in which script is acted out by performers. The
performers, usually with the help of a director, interpret the characters and situations
created by a playwright. The performance takes place before an audience in a space
designated for the performance.
The word theatre comes from a Greek word meaning a place for seeing. In this
sense, the word refers to the space where performances are staged. However, theatre
in a broad sense includes everything that is involved in a production: script, the
stage, the performing company, and the audience. In addition, theatre refers to a part
of human culture that began during primitive times.
Theatre is not the same as drama, though the words are frequently used
interchangeably. Drama refers to the literary part of a performance that is, the play.
Some critics believe that a play is not really a play until it has been performed before
an audience. Others argue that the script is only a blueprint that the director and other
interpretative artists use as the basis for performance.
The theatre is one of the most complex of the arts. It requires many kinds of
artists for its creation. These specialists include the playwright, performers, director,
scene director, scene designer, costumer, lighting designer, and various technicians,
and a choreographer are needed. The theatre is sometimes called a mixed art because
it combines the script of the playwright, the environment created by the scene
designer, and the speech and movement of the performers.

romantic comedy tries to arouse joy.

Farce is sometimes considered a distinct dramatic form, but it is essentially a
type of comedy. Farce uses ridiculous situations and broad physical clowning for its
humorous effects.
10. Read the text. Answer the questions that follow.
A play is a story devised to be presented by actors on a stage before an audience.
This plain statement of fact presents an exceedingly simple definition of the
drama, - a definition so simple indeed as to seem at the first glance easily obvious
and therefore scarcely worthy of expression. But if we examine the statement
thoroughly, phrase by phrase, we shall see that it sums up within itself the entire
theory of the theatre, and that from this primary axiom we may deduce the whole
practical philosophy of dramatic criticism.
It is unnecessary to linger long over an explanation of the word story. A story is
a representation of a series of events linked together by the law of cause and effect
and marching forward toward a predestined culmination, - each event exhibiting
imagined characters performing imagined acts in an appropriate imagined setting.
The phrase devised to be presented distinguishes the dramasharply from all
other forms of narrative. In particular it must be noted that a play is not a story that is
written to be read. By no means must the drama be considered primarily as a
department of literature, - like the epic or the novel, for example. Rather, from the
standpoint of the theatre, should literary method be considered as only one of a
multitude of means which the dramatist must employ to convey his story effectively
to the audience. The great Greek dramatists needed a sense of sculpture as well as a
sense of poetry; and in the contemporary theatre the playwright must manifest the
imagination of the painter as well as the imagination of the man of letters. The eppeal
of a play is primarily visual rather than auditory. On the contemporary stage,
charactersc properly costumed must be exhibited within a carefully designed and
painted setting illuminated with appropriate effects of light and shadow; and the art
of music is often called upon to render incidental aid to the general impression. The
dramatist, therefore, must be endowed not only with literary sense, but also with a
clear eye for the graphic and plastic elements of pictorial effect, a sense of rhythm
and of music, and a thorough knowledge of the art of acting. Since the dramatist
must, at the same time and in the same work, harness and harmonise the methods of
so many of the arts, it would be uncritical to centre studious consideration solely on
his dialogue and to praise him or condemn him on the literaryground alone.
It is, of course, true that the very greatest plays have always been great literature
as well as great drama. The purely literary element the final touch of style in
dialogue is the only sure antidote against the opium of time. Now that Aeschylus is
no longer performed regularly as a playwright, we read him as a poet. But on the
other hand it must be granted that many plays that stand very high as drama do not
fall within the range of literature.
(From: Hamilton C. The Theory of the Theatre. N.Y.,1939.)

1) Why is the theatre sometimes alluded to as a synthetic art? 2) What arts are
involved in the production of a play? Which of them do you consider especially
important for a successful presentation of a play? 3) Do you share the authors opinion
that the dramatist must manifest the imagination of the painter as well as the
imagination of the man of letters and that he should possess a sense of music and a
thorough knowledge of the art of acting? One might say that these aspects of the play
are rather the concern of the director producing the play than of the author, arent they?
4) Does drama belong to literature? What is the authors opinion? What is your
Summarize in one paragraph the main ideas of the extract.
Confirm or refute:
1. The appeal of the play is primarily visual rather than auditory.
2. The dramatist must be endowed ... with a clear eye for the graphic and plastic
elements of pictorial effect ... .
3. ... many plays that stand very high as drama do not fall within the range of
Define the role and place of music in the drama production. What is your opinion
about the modern tendency of using music in the theatre to the extent when the drama
runs into a kind of variety show?
11. Do you agree that musical is a special art?
Have you ever been to the music-hall? Describe a musical performance you have
seen and heard. What instruments were played? Were there any attributes of the
performers that you admired? How did the audience respond to the performance?
12. Read the text and say:
What most famous theatres are mentioned in the text?
What playwrights are familiar to you?
There are 300 professional theatres in Britain. London is the theatrical centre with
100 theatres in the West End and suburbs. The National Theatre Company performs at
the National Theatre on the south bank of the Thames. It also tours the provinces. The
Royal Shakespeare Company performs at the Barbican Theatre in the City of London
and the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon. The Round-house and
Royal Court and Mermaid Theatres in London put on modern plays.
The National Youth Theatre whose members are all young people, produces plays
at home and abroad during the summer.
Amateur theatre: it has been said that the level of amateur involvement in the arts
is higher in Britain than anywhere else. Certainly amateur theatre is very popular:
productions take place in nearly every town in Britain. Even small villages may have a
group of players who produce a play once or twice a year. Local opera groups all over

the country present light operas, particularly the comic operas of Gilbert and
A selection of playwrights 1920-50: G.B. Shaw (d. 1950), John Galsworthy (d.
1933), Sean OCasey (Irish writer of symbolic plays about the miseries of Irish life
d. 1964), J.B. Priestly (d. 1984), Noel Coward (light comedies d. 1973), T.S. Eliot
(born in USA but lived in England d. 1965), Christopher Fry, W.H. Auden (d.
1973), Christopher Isherwood (d. 1986), Somerset Maugham (d. 1965).
Active since 1950: Samuel Beckett (Irish writer, living in France, who usually
writes his plays in French), John Osborne, Arnold Wesker, Joe Orton (d. 1967),
David Mercer, John Whiting (d. 1963), Brendan Behan (d. 1964), Shelagh Delaney,
Giles Cooper (d. 1966), Harold Pinter, Robert Bolt, Christopher Hampton, Alur
Owen, Henry Livings, David Storey, John Arden, Edward Bond, Alan Ayckbourn,
Dennis Potter, David Edgar, Caryl Churchill, Andrew Lloyd Webber (musicals).
13. Read the text and say:
What is the attitude of the British towards the theatre?
What kind of theatres are there in Britain?
What British theatres are the most famous?
Most British cities have a theatre, but London has the greatest number. There are
over 50 theatres in Londons West End, the aria in London with most theatres, and
about 35 smaller fringe theatres.
In recent years, musicals have been very successful. About 5 million people,
many of them tourists, go to see a musical every year in London.
Going to the theatre in Britain is not only popular, but also expensive. Not many
young people can afford to go. It is possible to get cheaper tickets by going to
afternoon performances called matinees or by buying stand-bys, half-price tickets
which are sold half an hour before a performance starts.
Britain has a long tradition of drama. British theatre began in the thirteenth
century, before the time of Shakespeare, with a series of short stories from the Bible
called The Mystery Plays. Even today, every four years in York and Chester, ordinary
people still perform these plays.
Acting, both by amateur and professionals, is still very much alive in Britain.
British professional actors are usually highly respected and well-trained.
The most famous British theatres are the National Theatre and the Barbican. The
Royal Sgakespeare Company performs at the Barbican in London and in Stradfordon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born. These theatres receive money from the
government so that they can perform several different plays a years. In spite of this
money from the government, many theatres, including the National Theatre and the
Barbican, find it difficult to survive.
There are many smaller theatre groups in Britain. Some of them receive money
from the government to perform plays which are contemporary and experimental.
From In Britain by M.Vaughan-Rees
14. You know that London is famous for its theatres. The most famous one

is the National Theatre. Study the text about it.

The National Theatre
The new Natioanal Theatre opened its doors in March 1976. Since then it has been
an andoubted success with the public as well as with visitors to London. It has three
theatre: the Olivier, a large open stage with an auditorium that seats 1,100; the
Lyttelton, a proscenium theatre accomodating 900; and the Cottesloe, a small
technically adventurous space with a sitting capacity about 400. in 1938 Bernard Shaw
wrote: I want the State Theatre to be what St Pauls and Westminster Abbey are to
religion something to show what the thing can be at its best. And this is what NT is.
It is a showcase for the best in British theatre, offering a programme of classical
revivals, new plays and experimental work.
The Olivier is similar to the great amphitheatres of Ancient Greece. Here you can
see the best of the classical repertoire. In the Lyttleton there are new plays by leading
British playwrights and the best of continental theatre. the Cottesloe houses more
avantgarde plays, as well as the best of the fringe theatre throughout the country.
15. Look at the title of the passage and write down ten words which are likely
to occur in this text. Work in pairs and compare your lists. Do you have any words
in common?
Read the text and match the headings with the numbered paragraphs.
Final rehearsals
Opening night
Early rehearsals
The Plays the Thing
1. The Royal National Theatre on the south bank of the Thames contains three
theatres with nearly 2500 seats in all. The National performs a wide variety of plays,
offering at least six different productions at any one time. It takes about twenty weeks
to put on a new play
2. The director of the play has overall responsibility for the production. One of
the first things he or she has to do is work out a budget for the cost of the play. Next
comes casting; the actors are chosen mainly from the Nationals company. Meanwhile,
the director and the designer plan sets, costumes and music.
3. The director meets the cast in the rehearsal room to discuss the play, and the
designer brings in costume drawings and a model of the set. Then there is usually a full
read-through of the script. Actors may refer to their script for the first two weeks, but
after that they are expected to know their words. Early rehearsals are largely spent
working out the actors entrances, exits and movements.
4. The stage sets are constructed either in the in-house carpenters workshop or,
in the case of larger items, outside the building. The scenery is painted on the
Nationals paint frame, the costumes are made by the wardrobe department, and the

props, such as crockery and table lamps, are bought or constructed by the
properties department.
5. Now it is time to advertise the new production. The press office keeps the
media informed about what is happening, and tickets are sent to the critics. An
illustrated programme is produced. The marketing department organises advertising
campaigns, has leaflets and posters printed and distributed, arranges the price of
tickets with the box office, and offers advance booking through the mailing list.
6. Rehearsals become more frequent, using real furniture and props, and
costume fittings are arranged. With the transfer from rehearsal room to stage, there
are extensive lighting and sound rehearsals, followed by full-scale dress rehearsals.
Production photographs are taken for issuing to the media and for display in the
theatre foyers.
7. On the first night, the play usually begins early, to give the critics time to
write their reviews for the next mornings newspapers. Good luck cards and
telegrams are taken from the stage door to the actors dressing rooms. After the
performance the cast normally celebrate with a first night party. A new production
has been launched.
8. It is twenty weeks before the opening night. Make sentences saying what
has to be done. Use some of these verbs: choose, construct, design, distribute, make,
print, publicise, rehearse.
9. It is now half way through the rehearsal period. Make sentences saying
what is being done.
10. Read the text again and check whether you have left anything out.
16. Can you guess what fringe theatre is?
Fringe theatre is the performance of plays that are unusual or that try to make
people think differently.
Presenting live theatre in an informal, accessible and inexpensive environment,
the Fringe strives to break down traditional boundaries between audience and artist,
encouraging open dialogue between theatre-goers and theatre-creators. Audiences are
invited to experience the work of seasoned veterans alongside that of emerging
artists. Local, national and international performing companies benefit from working
together and learning from each other in a vibrant and exciting festival atmosphere.
In order to stimulate artistic innovation, applications for participation in Fringe
festivals are accepted on a non-juried, first-come, first-entered basis.
Fringe Festivals have been entertaining audiences for over 50 years beginning
with the original festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In time these artistic celebrations
spread around the world. Over the past 20 years, the Fringe movement in Canada has
grown to include 18 festivals and you now can enjoy the presence of more 'Fringes'
than any other country. The Edmonton Fringe Festival is Canada's oldest and largest
festival. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival has enjoyed tremendous growth and
success since its inception in 1987 and is the second largest event of its kind in North

Are there any experimental theatres in Belarus? What do you know about them?
Have you ever seen an avant-garde play? What were your impressions of it?
If you had a chance, which of the London theatres would you go to?
17. Read the text and say:
What is the center of theatrical activity in New York?
What famous American playwrights are mentioned in the text?
How is the theatre in the U.S. financed?
Theatre in America is especially healthy in the hundreds of regional and university
groups around the country. But it is Broadway with its some 40 major professional
stages and the over 350 off-Broadway experimental theatres that bring to mind
American playwrights such as ONeill, Miller, Saroyan, Williams, Inge, Albee, Jones,
Simon, and Shephard. There are over 15,000 professional actors in New York alone,
and another 20,000 or so in the state of California. Over 15,000 professional musicians
and composers live in New York, and almost 23,000 more in California. The
competition is intense.
The theatre in the United States, by the way, is not state supported. Americans feel
that each person should be willing to support and help pay for his or her own favourite
cultural activity, whatever it may be.
The Met, the Metropolitan Opera Association, is a good example. The 14-acre
Lincoln Center whose buildings also house the New York Philarmonic and equally
famous Juilliard School of Music was paid for largely through gifts and donations
from thousands of individuals, private groups, corporations, and non-profit
(extracted from The Art Capital of the World)
18. Read the following text. Make an outline of it. Retell the text according to
the outline.
What are the most peculiar features of American theatres? Do they have anything
in common with our theatres?
American theatre
Time was when the brightest lights of the American stage gleamed only on
Broadway, New York City's legendary theatre district where all new plays were born
and nurtured, where stars were made, where the best theatrical talent in the country
vied for the chance to have their visions and their names lighting up "the Great White
But in the short period, of a few decades all that has changed. A fundamental
transformation has overwhelmed, the once-staid Broad-way scene, as a vast and
remarkable, network of professional regional theatres has sprouted up across the nation
and begun to flex its collective artistic muscle. Few would, deny that Broadway
remains the prima donna of the American theatrical experience, a powerful magnet for

the country's finest performers. Yet in terms of creativity,' productivity, and

originality, Broadway presently is no more than a first among equals as the upstart
regionals have transformed, themselves into the crucible in which virtually all new
work for the American stage is being molded. Now these theatres have slowly but
surely challenged the: might and main of Broad-way by regularly sending the best of
their seasons to New York. Examples abound:
- Go west to the Seattle Repertory Theatre and you might witness the world
premiere of an Important American play. In 1988 the Seattle Rep presented Wendy
Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, a play about a woman's rites of passage in the
modern world. It moved on to New York and won both the pulitzer prize and the
Tony Award for the best play of the season.
-Go southwest to Texas to the Alley Theatre in Houston and you may see
something as unexpected as a guest group from the State Theatre of Vilnius,
Lithuania, presenting a production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Similarly, the
Alley Theatre has exported its own production of William Gibson's The Miracle
Worker' to 17 cities in the United States and Canada.
- Go south to Sarasota, Florida, to the Asolo Theatre and catch Terrence
McNalley's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune or enjoy a revival of that
perennial favourite Cyrano De Bergerac. Watch for the opening of their new facility,
an authentic Scottish playhouse rebuilt and reborn on Florida soil, but equipped with
the latest in stage and lighting equipment.
- Take a short trip from New York to the Hartford (Connecticut) Stage Company
and see a production of the newly translated Pear Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, a play that
Broadway hardly ever has a chance to do. Or wait for the premiere of a new
American play, like Jerry Stemer's Other people's Money, a wry comedy on big and
little wheels in the American stock market that has since taken up residence Off
Broadway and promises to be in for a very long run.
- In Los Amgeles, California, at the Mark Taper Forum you might see American
premieres of plays from other countries, part of that theatres ongoing program of
international productions. Playing recently was the Mystery of the Rose Bouquet by
an Argentinian writer, Manuel Puig.
This is just a small sampling of what is happening at all points of the compass
around the United States, and it explains with mute eloquence why Broadway no
longer can lay claim to being the heart of American theatre. This decentralization
from the primary New York arena to a galaxy of outlying stages is a turnaround, of
such profound proportions that it almost defies comprehension. Just 25 years ago,
fledging regional theatres depended entirely on tried and true Broadway-produced
shows and a smattering of classics to round out their repertory seasons. Few
regionals had either the audacity or the resources to produce a new play or introduce
the work of a new playwright. This was purely the province of New York.
Now just the opposite is true. An influx of financial support from a variety of
sources the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, local
corporations, private patrons, and ticket sales to a widely expanded, audience has
infused the regional theatres with a vitality that has transformed them into the engine
that drives Americas creative theatrical machinery. This shift has had a deep and

reverberating impact not only on the process of taking a play from script to stage, but
on the demographics of American theatre life everything from hiring patterns,
production opportunities, training methods, and perhaps most important, a broadly
expanded market-place for writers, actors, directors, and technicians.
The regionals are now a powerhouse of theatrical activity. They have brought live
theatre to millions. They have planned to include children and the elderly. They have
included local citizens on their boards to give a sense of community involvement. They
have lured young talent by offering a decent wage and a chance to grow artistically.
They have attracted seasoned professionals by providing opportunities to experiment
and do something different. They have brought stagecraft and lightning to new heights
in modern well-equipped playhouses.
The regionals now employ more theatrical professionals than Broadway and Off
Broadway combined. Broadway, on the other hand, has become dominated by
stunningly lavish, highly technical, large-cast musicals with proven box-office appeal.
Because of the expenses involved in mounting a production in New York and the
accompanying financial risks of the commercial theatre, Broadway reasonably enough,
is loath to gamble on anything but the most sure-fire hits. Par better, the reasoning
goes, to pluck the most popular plays from regional theatres around the country (or
from abroad), with much of fine-tuning and publicity chorea done in advance, and turn
them in Broadway spectaculars. And why not? It is proving to be a viable system
perhaps even a more natural hierarchy than the exportation of hits from Broadway, and
it promises to continue well into the 21st century.
19. Render the text in English and comment on it.

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Compose a dialogue between a Belarusian theatre-goer and an American one.
20. Do you know anything about the development of theatre in Belarus? Read the
following article and render it in English. Give a brief summary of it.

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21. Read the text and speak about the theatrical life in Belarus. Compare it
with that in Britain and the USA.
Theatre in Belarus
The Yanka Kupala Byelorussian State Academic theatre (the National Theatre of
Belarus) is the oldest in the republic, it was founded in 1920. its famous actors such
as Glebov, Molchanov, Platonov, Rakhlenko, Dzedzushko, Rzhetskaya, Stomma are
well known in this country.
The State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Belarus was opened
in 1933. operas and ballets not only by Byelorussian ( Tsikotsky, Turankov,
Bogatyrov) but also by Russian and foreign composers are staged there.
The Maxim Gorky State Russian Drama Theatre of Belarus was organised in
1932, the State Puppet Theatre in 1950, the Young Spectators Theatre in 1956,
the State Musical Comedy Theatre in 1971.
The repertoire of these theatres is rich and varied. It responds to all important
events in the life of our people.
Is theatreland in Minsk as varied as it is in London?

22. Look at the title and guess who the information is about. What do you
know about this person? Read the following information and answer the
questions following it.
Stratford-on-Avon is the place where the greatest dramatist and poet of the
English literature William Shakespeare was born and died (1564-1616). April 23rd is
the day on which Shakespeare was born and also the day on which he died.
Stratford is a very interesting town in the centre of England. So Shakespeare was
born right in the heart of England and in the midst of the country. There are beautiful
woods, green fields, a Shakespeare was born and died (1564-16161. April 23rd is the
day on which Shakespeare was born and also the day on which he died.
Stratford is quite a busy town, especially on market day when the farmers from
the country-side round Stratford come to buy or sell cows or pigs or sheep.
Of all the buildings in Stratford, none possesses greater fascination and interest
than those associated with Shakespeare and his family. They are maintained as a
memorial to the poet.
The main centres of interest include the Birthplace itself, Anne Hathaway's
Cottage (the early home of Shakespeare's wife), the foundations and gardens of New
Place (where Shake
speare died), Hall's Croft (the home of his daughter, Susanna), Mary Arden's
House (the home of the poet's mother) at Wilmcote, the red brick Shakespeare
Memorial Theatre and the beautiful Holy Trinity Church (which is Shakespeare's
burial place),
'William Shakespeare was born in the house in Henly Street preserved as his
birthplace. There is the very room where Shakespeare was born. Lots of people who
had visited the house had written their names on the walls. It seems a wrong thing to
do although among the names are Walter Scott, and Thackeray.
In one room is a little wooden desk, the very desk Shakespeare sat in when he
went to the grammar school in Stratford. There is a garden behind the house, in it are
growing all the flowers, trees and plants that are mentioned in Shake
speare's plays.
When Shakespeare became successful in London he bought the biggest house in
Stratford, a house called New Place, to retire to. Now there is nothing left of it but a
few bricks and the garden. The man who owned it, Mr Gastrell, was so badtempered, because so many people came to see the house that he pulled it down (in
In Stratford is the church where Shakespeare is buried. There's a bust of
Shakespeare that was carved by a Dutch sculptor who lived near Shakespeare's
Globe Theatre and must have seen Shakespeare many a time, and on the stone of
Shakespeare's grave are the lines written by Shakespeare himself.
About a mile out of Stratford is Anne Hathaway's Cottage. (Anne Hathaway was
the woman that Shakespeare married at the age of 18.) This cottage is just as it was
in Shakespeare's time. In that little house one feels as if Shakespeare has come
walking down the narrow stairs.

The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre is also in Stratford-on-Avon. Shakespeare's

plays are performed for eight months each year and thousands of people from all parts
of the world come to see them. Shakespeares 400th birthday was widely celebrated in
1964 all over the world.
Ben Johnson, who lived from 1572 to 1637, and who was also a famous writer of
plays, called Shakespeare "Sweet Swan' of Avon". Shakespeare has been known as the
"Swan of Avon" ever since.
William Shakespeare, the greatest English poet and dramatist, was born on April
23, 1564 in Stratford-(up)on-Avon, Warwickshire, in England. Not much is known of
Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare. He was a man of some importance in
Stratford. He was one of the town officers and a dealer in corn, meat, leather, and other
products of the farm.
The poets mother, Mary Arden, was one of the eight daughters of Robert Arden, a
rich farmer in the village of Wilmcote, where the Arden farmstead may still be seen.
John Shakespeare and his wife lived in a well-built house: of rough stone which
was two storeys high with small windows cut in the roof. The house is still standing. It
is now a museum.
William Shakespeare was born here in a small room. He was the eldest son and
third child of the marriage. Very little is known about the life of William, especially
about his early years. At the age of seven William was sent to Stratford Grammar
School where he studied for six years.
In 1577 a change came over his father's fortunes. John Shakespeare fell into debt
and had to sell the larger part of his property. William was taken from the school and
for some time had to help his father in the trade. He never went to school again.
Just what he did between his fourteenth and eighteenth year is not known. We
know nothing about these five years of his life.
When still at Stratford, Shakespeare became well acquainted with theatrical
performances. Stratford was often visited by travelling companies of players.
Shakespeare may have also seen miracle plays in the neighbouring town of Coventry.
In 1582, when little more than eighteen, William married Anne Hathaway, a
daughter of Richard Hathaway who belonged to a well-respected yeoman family. Ann
was eight years older than her husband and it is said that the marriage was not a happy
one. In 1583 their daughter Susanna was born and in 1585 their twins named Hamnet
and Judith were born.
When William was about twenty-one, he left for London, where he had to go
through many difficulties. Probably the first work he did there was at one of the two
theatres that there were in London at that time. Then he became an actor and soon
began to write plays for the company of actors to which he belonged. Very many of his
plays were acted in a London theatre called "The Globe".
There is a story that when Shakespeare reached London he went straight to the
theatre, determined to get work of some sort there; and that finding nothing better to
do, he began by holding the horses of the fine gentlemen who came to see the plays. It
is said that a little later he was employed to call out the names of the actors and the

pieces, and after a time was given a small part to act. But he soon showed that he
could make himself most useful in changing old plays which the actors themselves
could not do. Every old play that Shakespeare took in hand, he made into something
different and far better. Then he began to write plays himself.
Shakespeare wrote 37 plays altogether. He is also known as the author of two
poems and 154 sonnets.
By an odd chance, England's greatest writer, William Shakespeare, was born on
St. George's Day, 1564, in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, and also died on the
saint's day in 1616. Every 23rd April is now a day of special pageantry in Stratford.
The birthday always begins early in the morning with the ringing of the bells of
Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried. Flags from many nations are
unfurled; they are on all the shops and houses. Along the main street about 100 tall
poles have been put up. Soon bugles are blown and then one after another a flag
appears at the top of each pole. Each flag is of a different country.
In the afternoon a band playing music and followed by many people marches up
the street. The Mayor leads a distinguished procession to lay flowers on
Shakespeares grave at Holy Trinity Church.
After seeing this ceremony many people go to see the house where Shakespeare
was born. The house is still the same as it was when he lived in it.
At night people go to the beautiful theatre by the side of the River Avon. Here
they see one of his plays acted by some of the greatest actors in the country. And
every night from April till October every seat in this theatre is filled by people from
all parts of the world.
There is a very old hotel in Stratford that was probably there in Shakespeares
time. It has some Tudor beautiful tables and chairs; and the rooms have no numbers
on the doors as most hotels have. Instead every room has the name of a
Shakespeares play on it the Hamlet room, the Romeo and Juliet room and so on.
Shakespeare was probably proud to celebrate his birthday on the feast of great
St. George. In one of his plays he shows how ordinary English people were stirred by
their brave patron saint. Just before his soldiers go into battle, their King, Henry V,
tells them to shout: God for Harry, England and Saint George!
Visitors to the little house in Henley Street now approach from the garden,
having passed through the reception foyer of the modern Shakespeare Centre. The
centre itself was opened in 1964 as an international tribute to the 400th anniversary
of the bards birth.
Visitors take their time, get a sense of period by seeing the costumes used in the
BBC television productions of the plays and see the work of celebrated sculptors and
artists. Next door, in the main building, headquarters of the Shakespeare Birthplace
Trust, the glass frontage has been engraved with Shakespearean characters by John
Hutton, who did the Saints on the west window of Coventry Cathedral.
The library here is an amalgamation of the Trusts own rare books and those of

the Royal Shakespeare Company. Here youll find acting editions of the plays and
other theatrical material in 70 languages, including Japanese, Icelandic, Tamil and
Most of the books are not available for general browsing. Visitors see catalogues
of the titles and request that specific works are brought up from the humiditycontrolled strongroom in the centers basement. The Trust also maintains a records
office with archives going back to medieval times and, at the other extreme, video
tapes of productions of the plays.
But the Shakespeare Centre sees its leading role as a teaching and study centre.
Upstairs there is space for lectures and seminars. Students come from all over the
world to listen or do original research while looking down over the house and garden
of Shakespeares childhood.
Answer the questions:
1. What places connected with W. Shakespeare are there in Stratford-on-Avon?
What is Henly Street famous for? Where is Shakespeare buried?
2. What can you say about William Shakespeares parents? What were Williams
early years in Stratford?
3. Speak about William Shakespeares life according to the main periods of his life:
early years (1564-1582);
marriage (1582);
the lost years (1586-1592);
the Great Globe (1599);
the Kings Man, romance and reconciliation (1603-1608);
final years and retirement (1611);
death (1616).
4. What can you say about the ceremony of William Shakespeares birthday in
5. What is the aim of Shakespeare Centre and the Library?
Talking points:
1. How could it happen that William Shakespeare having only six-year-school
education and in spite of all difficulties of his life could become the greatest writer
famous the world over? What do you think about it?
2. Does school always help people to become great? Are there any other sources to get
knowledge? What is the parents role in giving education? What is your opinion?
3. The Shakespeare centre sees its leading role as a teaching and study centre. How do
you understand it? Do you know any other centres like this? Is there any difference
between the Shakespeare Centre and any Public Library? What is it, if so?

23. Romeo and Juliet are two of the most famous lovers in history, and their
story is one of the greatest tragedies. Before you read the summary of
Shakespeares play, say what you know about the story.
Read ROMEO AND JULIET and answer these questions;
Why did Romeo and Juliet marry in secret?
Why did Romeo kill Tybalt?
Why did Romeo leave Verona?
Why didnt Romeo know that Juliet was alive?
Why did Romeo kill himself?
Why did Juliet kill herself?
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet lived in Verona, and when they met, it was
love at first sight. But the Montagues and the Capulets were enemies, so Romeo and
Juliet were married in secret by Friar Lawrence.
Shortly afterwards, Mercutio, a close friend of Romeos, met Juliets cousin,
Tybalt, in the street. They started arguing, and although Romeo tried to stop them,
swards were drawn and Tybalt killed Mercutio in the fight. Romeo was so upset that
he attacked and killed Tybalt. He then went to see Friar Lawrence, who told Romeo
that he must leave Verona if he valued his life. Romeo visited Juliet secretly that
night, and at dawn he left Verona and went to Mantua.
Meanwhile, Juliets parents decided that she should marry Paris, a relation of the
Prince of Verona. Juliet was horrified at this, so she asked Friar Lawrence for help
and he suggested a plan. He gave her a drug to make her sleep for 42 hours so that
people would think she was dead, and he promised to write a letter to Romeo
explaining the plan. When Juliet woke up, she could join Romeo in Mantua.
The following night Juliet took the sleeping drug, and when she was found
everyone believed she was dead. Unfortunately, Romeo returned to Verona without
getting the Friars letter of explanation. He found Juliets body and he killed himself
in despair. When Juliet woke up and saw Romeo lying dead beside her, she killed
herself with his dagger.
Complete these sentences:
If the Montagues and Capulets had been friends,
Romeo wouldnt have killed Tybalt if
If Romeo hadnt killed Tybalt,
Romeo would have known that Juliet was alive if
If Romeo hadnt thought Juliet was dead,
Juliet wouldnt have killed herself if
Write a different ending for Romeo and Juliet (for example, give it a happy
Work in groups. Talk about events that have changed the course of history.
Then write sentences using the third conditional.

24. Read and dramatize the verse with clear intonation demonstrating the
attitudes of the two speakers which should be dramatically exaggerated, as
Romeo and Juliet
So I said lo her, 'What's your name?' (Arrogantly)
She said to me, 'What's your game? ' (Coolly)
So I said to her, 'I think you're great.' (Enthusiastically)
She replied Youre too late.' (Dismissively)
So I said to her, 'Will you come out tonight?' (Persuasively)
She said to me. 'Are you all right?' (Sarcastically)
So I said to her, 'Let's make a time.' (Persuasively)
She replied, It might be nine.'(Coolly)
So I said to her, 'Where shall we go?' (Excitedly)
She said to me, 'How should I know?' (Dismissively)
So I said to her, 'We'll go in my car.' (Boastfully)
She replied, 'Will we go far?' (Slightly interested)
So I said to her, I drive a Rolls Royce' (Boastfully)
She said to me, 'I like your choice' (Admiringly)
So I said to her, 'I've got lots of money' (Coolly)
She replied, 'I love you, Honey' (Passionately)
Answer the questions:
Does he like her?
Does she like him?
What happened in the end?
Can we call them Romeo and Juliet? Hasnt the meaning of the expression
Romeo and Juliet changed? What does it mean today?
25. Shakespeare was a keen observer of human behavior, which is illustrated
in the rich and varied language he used to describe it. Test your knowledge of
Shakespeare and the English language.
Read these statements and decide which are true and which are false.
1.Before Shakespeares time, many English writers preferred to write in Latin.
2.Shakespeare introduced over 600 new words to English.
3.New English words were usually taken from Latin of French.
4.Many titles of films and novels are taken from Shakespeare.
5.We rarely use expressions from Shakespeares plays in everyday language today.
Quickly read the text below, ignoring the gaps. How many of your answers
were correct?
Shakespeare had a word for it
Many of Shakespeares phrases have passed into our everyday language. When
you have a sleepless night (0) and complain that you did not sleep a wink, you can

console (1) ____ that even in your exhausted state you are using Shakespeares
words. I have not slept one wink is from the play Cymbeline, (2) ____
Shakespeare wrote in 1610. Even (3) ____ it is not a popular play, we are using his
line in (4) ____ daily lives four hundred later.
When a guest devours absolutely (5) ___ in your kitchen cupboard, you (6)
___complain that you have been eaten out of house and home. It is Shakespeare
again. He hath eaten me out of house and home comes from Henry V.
Lines from Shakespeare crop (7) ____ in all kinds of places, (8) ____ titles of
films and novels. Shakespeare was writing when it had (9) ____fashionable for
authors to give up Latin in favour of English (10) ____ the language of literature.
But there were not enough English words to express all their ideas, (11) ____ writers
began making words up. Shakespeare introduced about 600 new words into English.
These include many that we could hardly imagine (12) ____ without: admirable,
educate, generous and tranquil. He also made up compounds such as lack-lustre and
Words were usually made up from Latin, but writers also turned (13) ____
French. This is (14) ____ we have so many words to describe almost the same thing,
and in nearly all of (15) ____ there is a slight difference of feeling. For example, we
have the English word end, the French-derived finish and the Latin-derived
Complete the text by writing one word in each numbered gap.
Here are some more expressions taken from Shakespeare. They are all used
in modern English. Discuss what you think they mean, in what type of situations
would you use them?
Hes a tower of strength.
Theres method in his madness.
Hes more sinned against than sinning.
Its neither here nor there.
He loved not wisely but too well.
If music be the food of love, play on.
26. How do you see the role of the theatre in the modern world? Has it
changed a lot since Shakespeares time? Read the following conversation and
say how the speakers understand it:
- criticize the way the play is staged;
- criticize the morality of the play;
- discuss themes that modern theatre should symbolize.

Whats your opinion on the questions discussed?

- Well, what did you think of the play?
- Terrible. I didnt like the element of cruelty in the play. What about the scene
where one of the patients has his glasses stolen and hes on his hands and knees
looking for them, and the others are standing around jeering at him. That was really
- Well, thats what like is like. As I see it, the theatre has got to be realistic, and
deal with contemporary issues. Its no use pretending that these things dont happen.
Violence and cruelty are features of our life. They concern all of us.
- I dont agree. The vast majority of people live their lives without having such
experiences. Except in the theatre. Theres too much emphasis on violence these
- Well, I agree with you but the theatre should reflect reality, not provide a
means of escape from it.
- It all depends on what you mean by reality.
- But dont you see? That scene you referred to symbolizes the helplessness of
the individual in a society. Its a universal reality of our day.
- Quite so.
- In my opinion, most people are not interested in their relations with society.
Not for most of the time, anyway. They are most interested in personal situations,
family rows, conflicts at the pffice, that kind of things. Many of them are really
- I think showing violence and cruelty on the stage has a bad effect on public
morality. Crimes of violence have increased lately. People see these things performed
and then go out and imitate them.
- Thats nonsense. There is no evidence that violence on the stage or on the
screen influences peoples behaviour.
- Well, speaking for myself. I dont go to the theatre for a lecture or because I
miss violence. I go to see real people in a real situation.
- I cant agree more.
27. Do you remember the last time when you went to the theatre? What
theatre did you visit? Did you like the performance? Who was in the cast?
Describe your last visit to the theatre using the following text as the model.
My Last Visit to the Theatre
There are several theatres in Minsk but Im especially fond of the National
Theatre named after Kupala. I try not to miss the opportunity of seeing a good play
with my favourite actors in the cast. When I saw the poster that would be on, I
booked two tickets for the evening performance at the box-office of the theatre. I
managed two seats on the balcony. I couldnt get better ones as the house had already
been sold out by that time.
On the day of the performance I was to meet with my friend at the entrance to

the theatre at 7.15 p. m. But she appeared only 5 minutes before the performance. She
apologized for having kept me waiting. I said that if she had arrived 2 minutes later, Id
have sold the ticket.
At the entrance to the theatre itself an attendant in a uniform tore our tickets in half
and gave us the halves so that we could find our seats by their numbers. Then we
hurried to the cloak-room where we left our coats and took opera glasses. On the
balcony another attendant showed us to our seats and sold us a programme from which
we found out how many acts there were in the play and what the cast was.
Though our seats were far from the stage we could have a perfect view of it as the
hall was not very large. When we looked around we saw that the house was full. There
was a continuing shuffling of feet, coughing and sneezing. But when the lights went
down a breathless hush settled over the hall.
During the interval my friend and I went to the refreshment room to have a cup of
coffee and some cakes. While drinking coffee we were sharing our impressions of what
wed just seen. My friend said she liked the play and was greatly moved by the
production which was simply splendid. The setting of the play to her mind was
beautiful too, to say nothing of the costumes and make-up, the lights and sound-effects
which helped the audience to concentrate on the dialogue and the acting. But my friend
didnt like the scenery. The scene of the first act was laid in the woods and only a tree
and some bushes could be seen on the stage. In her opinion good scenery might only
make the play more impressive. I agreed with her that the scenery was symbolic but
remarked that it wasnt the thing that mattered. I said that the actor and the word were
the most important things. Then there went a bell and we hurried back to the balcony.
When the last curtain fell there was no end to the applause. We stood applauding
the actors for a long time, there were several curtain calls.
When we were out in the street we walked for a while in silence. We could hardly
put into words what we thought of the play. I enjoyed everything: the production, the
setting and the acting. To my friends mind the cast was excellent except who
played the part of She said she couldnt give a convincing moving performance.
Besides, she had such a weak voice that she could hardly be heard.
But I was of a different opinion. I consider to be one of the talented and
charming actresses at the theatre. I think she was at her best and there was much
emotion in her acting especially in the last scene which was very touching. Regarding
her voice, in my opinion, it expressed the feelings the heroine experienced. In general,
we agreed the play was a success with the public and we were deeply impressed by it.
28. Different people have different opinions about the theatre. The short
monologues that follow will acquaint you with seven persons expressing their
views on theatrical problems. Enact the monologues in the form of interviews.
Use the following conversational formulas encouraging people to speak and
avoiding being misunderstood.
Do tell us what you think about it, will you? Really! So, what do you suggest? You
dont care for it, you mean. and what is wrong with it? What about ...? Its very
interesting indeed. But dont you think ...? Explain it, please. You mean to say that ...
Please, dont misunderstand me. I mean ... Dont get me wrong. You havent got

the point, I think. Now, I didnt say that. No, I mean something different. No ... just
let me finish. I was about to say that ... Im not implying that ... Well, I didnt really
mean that ...

I dont want you to think that I reject the theatre like so many film people. Its not
that. I am simply indifferent. A friend of mine has produced Macbeth in Birmingham,
and I cant make myself go and see it, though everyone says it is a tremendous success.

David Stone, 42, artist:

I am quite fond of the theatre, even though I dont go there too often. In my
opinion, the value of the theatre is rather the same as of art in the broad sense of the
word: it is the focus of the spiritual life of the nation. As for the contemporary
theatre, I think that it sadly lacks genuine poetry, harmony and heroic spirit. The
prevailing tendency of today is to stage the tragedy in such a way that it loses its
noble spirit and lofty passions. I dont think that is the appropriate way to bridge the
gap between, let us say, Shakespeare and the contemporary audiences. Somehow,
Shakespearen atmosphere should be preserved. I am all for high tragedy.

Irene Finch, 50, teacher:

Today the theatre means nothing to me. Yet, there was a time when I was a
passionate theatre-goer. I remember going home once, after the first night of Othello
with Laurence Olivier. I was actually crying. The emotional impact was immense. I
still remember every detail of that performance.
Of course, I was young then. Probably, that is the reason. But no: I dont think so.
Ask the young people today: are there plays that affect them so? I dont think so. The
houses are certainly full, and one cant get a ticket for love or money. But, to my mind,
the theatrical passions of today do not spring from a genuine love of the theatre but
from other, less pure sources: fashion, prestige, idle curiosity.

Charles Sanders, 30, musician:

The theatre is a splendid art. It is also a very difficault art, and a defenceless one,
because everyone sees only the tip of the iceberg but is quite sure that he sees it all,
and has something to say about it.
Personally I am not a passionate theatre-goer. I prefer to sit at home and read the
play. The theatre dictates to me: they put their dish before me and insist on my
swallowing it. I wont have it. I prefer to have my own vision of the play.
Of course, one mustnt lose sight of the educational role of the theatre. but
education should by no means become the primary aim, it shouldnt be too obvious,
too didactic. The educational aim is best achieved when suddenly some secret spring
is touched, and the spectator feels: here is the moment of Truth. It is for this precious
moment of Truth that people go to the theatre.
Eugene Morris, 25, worker:
Ive never given a thought to the reason why I go to the theatre. My parents took
me when I was a child, and the habit stuck.
With me, the theatre is rest, work and a festive occasion. A good play makes one
think: is it true to life? What should I have done in his place?
What I dont like in our contemporary theatre is the prevailing insistence on the
character who is a hopeless failure. What is the purpose of such plays? I want to see
a hero on the stage, a man whom I could admire and try to imitate. Of course, I dont
mean an ideal hero: no one is likely to believe in him. I mean a strong, honest man,
but also kind and tolerant. It is difficult for me to dictate to dramatists, but I hope you
see what I mean.
Peter Wyndham, 35, producer:
When a child I didnt go to the theatre. once or twice my grandmother took me
to the opera. One day we were late and arrived at the moment when a terrible
thunderstorm had just broken out on the stage. Certainly an imitation thunderstorm,
but I was so terrified that I screamed and ran away. After that I refused pointblank to
go to the theatre, and I grew up absolutely outside its influence.

29. Do you think the theatre is dying?

Whats Theatre? Why has it lasted so long? What does it mean to us? We know
that it offers amusement and pleasure, but then so do lots of other things. Is there
something special to itself that it offers us? Clearly there is, otherwise the Theatre
would not have gone on so long and in so many different places.
During the last thirty years the Theatre has had to meet three challenges from
radio, cinema, and television. All three produce drama of a sort, all possess important
As a rule it doesnt cost as much to see as it does to see a play, and films can be
seen in a great many places that have never known a theatre. Radio and television can
be enjoyed at home, with a minimum of effort, turning the living room into a
And all three, because they are produced, for a mass audience, can offer casts of
players that only the best theatres could afford.
Already many people tell us that with their television sets at home and an
occasional visit to the movies, they no longer need the Theatre and do not care whether
it lives or dies.
Such people do not understand that the Theatre is the parent of thses new dramatic
forms. Without a living Theatre where writers, directors, designers and actors could
learn their jobs, movies and television plays would be very crude indeed.
In a very good restaurant we have a dinner that is specially cooked for us: in a
canteen we are merely served with standard portions of a standard meal. And this is the
difference between the living Theatre and the mass entertainment of films, radio and
television. In the Theatre the play is specially cooked for us. Those who have worked
in the Theatre know that a production never takes its final shape until it has an
With films, radio, television, the vast audience can only recieve what is being
offered. But in the Theatre the audience might be said to be creatively receptive, its

very presence, and intensely living presence, heightens the drama.

The actors are not playing to microphones and cameras but to warmly
responsive fellow-creatures. And they are never giving exactly the same
performance, if the audience tends to be heavy, unresponsive on a wet Monday,
perhaps the company slightly sharpens and heightens its performance to bring the
audience to life, and vice versa if the audience is too enthusiastic.
Film and television acting is much smaller and quieter than that of the Theatre.
Nevertheless, with a very few exceptions the best performers of film and television
are actors and actresses from the Theatre, which has taught them their art.
It is the ancient but ever-youthful parent of all entertainment in dramatic form.
Much of its work, especially under commercial conditions, may often be trivial and
tawdry; but this means that the Theatre should be rescued from such conditions. For
itself, as it has existed on and off fot two-and-a-half thousand years, the Theatre is
anything but trivial and tawdry. It is the magical place where man meets his image. It
is the enduring home of dramatic experience, which is surely one of the most
searching, rewarding, enchanting of our many different kinds of experience.
(From the book by J.B. Priestly)
Make up the situation using the vocabulary from the text.
Answer the following questions:
1. The author says that lots of other things besides the theatre offer amusement
and pleasure. How many other things do you know that offer us pleasure and
2. What argument does the author use to justify his statement that there is
something special that the theatre can offer us?
3. What important advantages do radio, cinema and television possess that the
theatre does not?
4. Does the author approve of the people who say that with television and
cinema they no longer need the theatre? (Refer to the text to support your answer.)
5. What part, according to the author, has the theatre played in the creation of
radio, movies and television drama?
6. Whats the difference between watching a movie at the cinema and a play at
the theatre?
7. What do you appreciate more in the theatre: acting, music, costumes and
props, or the atmosphere?
8. Comment on the following statement: But men must know, that in this
theatre of mens life it is reserved only for God and Angels to be lookers on (Francis
30. In the extract that follows several actors are discussing their trade. Read
the text carefully making notes of the main problems raised in the conversation:
When they had finished with parts and personalities, they started off on the
theory of acting. They were talking, this time, about that ancient problem of whether
one should, while acting, be more aware of the audience or the person or persons
with whom one is playing the scene. David, of course, was taking the line that one

should concentrate wholly on ones co-actor, on what is going on between two people
on the stage: he was being opposed principally by Michael Fenwick, who was an
avowed believer in techniquer.
Its all a question of truth, David was saying, you cant tell the truth if you have
one eye on how its being taken all the time, can you? You have to narrow your circle
of concentration down to the situation youre playing, you cant keep listening for
But the whole art of acting, said Michael Fenwick (and who else but actors ever
claim that acting is an art?) consists in communication. You have to convey your
ideas to the public, you have to adjust your performance to what they can take.
Thats just dishonesty, said David, thats all that is. You mean that if youre
playing Tennessee Williams in Cheltenham you gloss over all the punch lines, for fear
of offending the old ladies. What good does that do anyone? They dont get a
performance, they dont even get the play. You might as well give them what you
believe to be true, not what you believe they believe to be true, mightnt you?
You seem to forget, said Michael, forgetting in an instant his last statement about
art, that acting is basically entertainment, the actor isnt there to instruct, hes there to
amuse, and you cant amuse people unless you pay attention to their reactions.
Thats just nonsense, said David, you must be talking about pantomime or
something. What I was talking about was acting. I must say Ive no particular desire to
amuse anyone, I just want to get on with it, thats all.
Its easy to tell, said Michael, that youre not used to playing for live audiences.
Youve spent all your life in front of cameras, thats whats the trouble with you. Thats
whats the trouble with the theatre these days, people like Wyndham Farrar keep
importing all these great stars of screen and telly, and expect them to be able to turn out
a good stage performance, just like that. Stage acting is an art, a lsot art, its been
ruined by all you lot who think its just an easy way of earning a lot of money.
What in Christs name do you think you are talking about? said David
belligerently. Ive played in just about everybody rep. in this bloody country, Id been
at it three years before I ever saw the inside of a television studio.
Three years, said Michael, who had been on the stage for twenty-three years;
Do you think you can learn anything in three years?
Of course you can, said David, if youve got your wits about you. And what I
learned was that you must always, always be yourself. Whether youre playing to fifty
in Oldham or five million or fifty million, there is nothing else you have to offer but
yourself, so thats what you have to give. And to tell with inflections and upstaging and
all that bloody moronic nonsense, thats all a bloody waste of time if you ask me.
Michael was too annoyed to reply immediately, and Julian took up this bristly
challenge in a reedy, girlish voice.
I dont see why, he said, you should think that yourself is so wonderful? After
all, the publc pays to see a play, doesnt it, not to see David Evans or er Laurence
They may not pay to see David Evans, said David, ignoring as well he might the
other example offered, but thats what they see when they get there just the same, isnt
it? And if I cant believe in myself as myself, I dont see what else there is to believe in.

I dont want to spend my life covering myself up in wigs and muck. I dont believe
acting has anything to do with imitation.
I cant imagine what youre an actor for then, said Michael. If you dont have
any interest in the parts youre playing, or the people who are watching you, then
what are you doing it for?
Oh, for myself, said David. For myself. To discover about me. With each
new part I play, I find out more about me. And if people will pay to see it, thats their
outlook, not mine.
(From: The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble. Abridged.)
Find in the extract the main points of argument. State with which of the
speakers you agree. Motivate your opinion.
Reproduce the dialogue.
Debate the following. Keep it in mind that some of the statements are
The actor, when on the stage, should wholly concentrate on his part and on
his co-actors. He should act as if the audience didnt exist. Note: it is actually the
problem of the fourth wall raised in his time by Stanislavsky. There is a
pronounced tendency in the contemporary stage-direction to try and destroy the
fourth wall, i.e. to play for the house.
The actor should convey to the audience his own vision of his part and not
what he thinks they expect from him.
Acting is an art.
Acting consists in communication. Note: the important point here is
whether communication can be achieved only through playing for the gallery.
Acting is basically entertainment, the actor isnt there to instruct, hes there
to amuse.
The actor must always be himself. Acting has nothing to do with imitation.
The actor is not supposed to adjust himself to every new role.
Stage acting is a lost art; it has been ruined by films and TV.
31. Read the text and answer the questions following it.
Straining Every Nerve
The whole day from the moment you get up to the moment you hit the sack is
like no other. If anything it's like some peculiar birthday. Everybody is extremely
nice to you. There will be telegrams and cards possibly presents and flowers. Your
dressing room begins to resemble a hospital ward or a funeral parlour. Whether the
director has called you in or not you're unlikely to be able to resist the magnetic pull
of the theatre. Youll pick at your lunch. You'll drink many cups of black coffee.
There will be a number of people in the audience most of whom will have seen it
before when they didn't laugh. Now they won't laugh again. Those who haven't seen
it before won't laugh either or if they do, it'll be in quite the wrong place. The play

will seem to last eight and a half hours. You will barely be thinking of your
performance because you're haunted by the fact that the lighting plan appears to have
been designed by Rembrandt. You can't see your fellow actors so how can the
audience? All in all. you just long for the whole thing to be over.
Theatre auditions generally take place in the auditorium of a theatre other than the
one in which the play will go on. The director, the assistant director, the casting agent,
possibly the theatre's artistic director, probably the producer are all lounging in the
stalls with their feet on the back of the seat in front? There are twenty or thirty plastic
cups with cigarette butts lying in an inch of coffee littering the aisles. The air is thick
with smoke and raucous laughter. The director has been telling a joke. About the
previous actor you think darkly and they'll have a little joke about you too when you've
gone. People leap up to greet you, the casting director introduces you to everyone, you
shake the director as firmly by the hand as you can without betraying your tension.
Your voice is trembling oddly. You long for a cigarette even though you don't smoke
but you don't take the one offered to you because it might seem unprofessional and
your mouth is already so dry that it's painful to swallow.
"You deserve a rest." No. The only thing I deserve, I hope is a job. If you have a
job a few weeks hence, then a gap of a few weeks will be most welcome. But any time,
any day not working and without the prospect of work, is dead time, grey time anxious
and haunted times. You could learn German, take driving lessons, night classes in the
History of Art. No, you couldn't. Even if you've got any money, which is unlikely, it's
impossible to settle to anything. There's something wrong, something missing.
1. Is being an actor a vocation or can anybody do this? Does it require special
education? Why?
2. Have you ever thought of becoming an actor? Why?
3. Describe your experience of acting.
4. Write an argumentative essay on the topic Advantages and disadvantages of
being an actor.
34. Speak about your favourite actor/actress.
1. Work in small groups. Give reasons for your views and discuss them with
your partner(s).
The theatre in the United States is not state-financed. Theatrical activity is paid
through donations from individuals, private groups, corporations, and nonprofit
foundations. Is it true for your country?
What do you consider the greatest play of the year (of the decade)?
Which do you prefer: comedies or dramas? Why?
How do TV plays compare with stage plays (screen play)?
Do you prefer grand opera in a foreign language or in your mother tongue? Can
you give reasons for your preference?
Do we give enough recognition to our artists in general?
It is often believed that TV and the cinema are eclipsing theatrical art which is

actually dying.
Many people believe that its much more convenient to watch a performance on
TV at home. You dont have to bother about the tickets, a baby-sitter, transport, etc.
2. Arrange discussions and round-table talks on the following.
Why do people go to the theatre?
What is a play? Amusement? Instruction? Just a story enacted on the stage?
The educational role of the theatre.
The theatre versus films and TV.
The actor and the problems pf play-acting.
Dialogue. Its role in the play.
Scenery and music. Their role in the play.
3. Discuss the following statements with your partner(s) and comment on
All the worlds stage,
And all the men and women merely players ...
Shakespeare, William
Theatre is a magnifying glass.
M. Neyelova
My character must live inside me for quite some time and I must believe in this
identity more strongly than even the director does.
V. Tikhonov
An actor certainly needs success and popularity.
L. Gurtchenko
I can see poetry everywhere, even in the grass.
A. Demidova
A director is a person employed to set up the fact of actors disabilities to play.
Jame Eigat
4. Role-play
Roleplay 1.
Role card for St. A: You want your colleagues impressions of a play (TV play). Ask
why he liked or disliked it. Were the characters true to life? Were the situations
dramatic and at the same time credible? Were the background scenery and minor
characters well drawn? Was the authors style simple or complicated? etc.
Role card for St. B: Share with your collegue(s) your impressions of a play (TV
play) you have seen. Answer his (their) questions.
Roleplay 2.
Role card for St. A: You want to take your foreign guest to the theatre in your home
town. Find out his tastes and together with him choose a performance you will see
(use brochures or advertisements in newspapers).
Role card for St. B: You are a foreign guest in this city. Your friend wants to take

you to the theatre. Say what you would like to see and together with him choose a
Roleplay 3.
Role card for St. A: You are calling the New Theatre about the ballet on Friday and
Saturday. Find out the cost of tickets and if they have any left. Book one seat on either
Friday or Saturday if you can.
Role card for St. B: You are in the New Theatre box office. There are plenty of tickets
for the ballet on Friday and Saturday. You have seats in the stalls at 3.50 and in the
circle at 2.50. You do not take telephone bookings.
Roleplay 4.
Role card for St. A: You are calling the Grand Theatre. You want tickets for the
performance of Antony and Cleopatra on Friday. (If not Friday, then Thursday). You
want 4 seats together in the stalls. (If there are none in the stalls, then in the circle.)
Role card for St. B: You are in the Grand Theatre box office. All tickets for the
performance of Antony and Cleopatra are sold out on Friday, but there are a few tickets
left for Thursday. But you do not have four seats together, either in the stalls or in the
1. Read the following review published in an English newspaper and write a
similar review of a play you have seen lately. Here are the words you may need:
to abet -
prop ,
fop ,
buffoon ,
There is a sense of excitement about a new production of Hamlet that does not
attach to any other English play, for every Hamlet is different and there is no such thing
as a definitive performance. Alan Rickman looks, speaks and moves as if he has been
waiting to play the part all his life. He has come to it at the right time. His Hamletlooks
genuinely youthful. He is better educated, better looking, more sensitive and more
civilised than any one else in the Danish Court. The more modern English phrase is
effortless superiority.
Rickman plays the role very quietly. There are no gimmicks. The moment of real
passion comes when he sees Ophelias burial. This Hamlet loves Ophelia.
Rickmans simple approach is abetted by an equally simple set. There are few
props not much more than the odd chair. There is, however, a metal balcony running
across the top of the back of the stage and abbuting T-shaped high into the centre. It
also allows a marvellous use of space. Characters can enter high up on the balcony.
Hamlet is sitting with Ophelia on the T while the players perform beneath.
There is a lot of space on the ground, allowing Hamlet to walk about. plenty of

room, too, for the gravediggers and the final fight. The impression is more of a
mixture of desert and prison than a formal court. The use of lighting by Giorgi
Meskhishvili who also designed the set, has moments of sheer brilliance.
If Rickman is a quietly convincing, almost conventional Hamlet, the direction
by Robert Sturua has its surprises. Osric is played not as a precious young fop, but as
a fussy middle-aged man with foppish tendencies, bowler hat and spats. Laertis is
different from any previous conception known to this reviewer. He wears spectacles,
is much smaller than Hamlet and, whether in sports jacket or old leather and jeans,
looks like a student who would genuinely prefer to be at the Sorbonne rather than the
court of Denmark.
One weakness is Polonius. English production have tended traditionally to play
him as a buffoon. Modern east European productions have portrayed him as a state
bureaucrat. This Polonius falls between all stools and is nothing in particular. I also
wonder whether it is wise to have David Burke playing both Claudiu and Ghost,
since one of the play is meant to be Hamlets perception of how different his uncle
and his father were.
Among the strengths are Geraldine McEvans Gertrude who shows to perfection
the narrowing experience of ageing overnight. Among the smaller parts Steven
Crossley is an outstanding first player.
Malcolm Rutherford
2. Write an essay on the following topic: Theatre a source of energy or an
energetic vampire?
3. Write a letter to your favorite actor/ actress asking him/ her to give you a
piece of advice concerning the actors career.

Supplementary reading
1. Do you know where the British theatre comes from? Read the text and
speak about the history of the development of theatre.
Roman theatres and Amphitheatres as a Model for the London Playhouses
The idea that the theatrical architecture of Elizabethan and Jacobean London
owed something to the example of the ancients is a suggestion we first find in the
diary of Dutch traveller Johannes de Witt. Writing in 1596 and having visited The
Swan playhouse, as well as three other theatres, he commented on its 'outstanding'
appearance, its 'wooden pillars which, by their painted marble
colour, can deceive even the most acute observers' and suggested that 'its form
seems to bear the appearance of a Roman work'. This seems to offer an important
connection between the English Renaissance and the classical world.
Greece is commonly accepted as the originator of theatrical performance, a form
of performance where human fate rather than religious ritual lay at the centre of the
action, giving it what may be termed 'a humanist perspective'. Aristotle's analytical
essay Poetics introduced the genre classification of tragedy and comedy which are

still in use to this day and defined the unities of time, place and action as being the
foundation of drama. The Greeks also endowed us with the words 'drama', meaning
action and 'theatre', from the word to gaze or behold. Finally of course, they produced
the first permanent, purpose built performance arenas, many of which survive in
remarkably fine condition, testament in themselves to the importance that public
performance played in their culture.
The Greek tradition entered the Roman world via Sicily and the former Greek
colonies of Southern Italy. Liviticus Andronicus (c284-c204 BC) is generally regarded
as the founder of the Roman epic tradition, other famous tragedians being Ennius,
Pacuvius, Accius and Senecca whose rhetorical style was widely imitated by the early
Elizabethan playwrights. For the early part of the Roman Empire plays were performed
in temporary structures. The first permanent Roman theatre was built in 54 AD, and
than 100 permanent theatre structures had been built by 450 AD. Many examples of the
arenas they built survive to this day. Notable features of these theatres include:
The performance area is built on level ground with banked seating, often
constructed on a hillside.
The wall at the back, known as the frons scenae , was a departure from Greek
theatre design which had open land behind the players. The frons scenae would be
decorated columns, niches, porticoes, and statues and provided a backdrop to action.
Note the way it joins with the audience to form one architectural unit.
The area in front of the frons scenae is called the proskene (proscenium), and
staged the action of the play. The stage was raised to five feet and was very large (2040 feet deep and 100 feet long) and would often be roofed.
The half circle in front of the proscenium is the Orchestra, used for action in
Greek drama, it was available for spectators in Roman times.
Every spectator in the seating area (the Cavea) would have an unimpeded view of
the action. In hot weather, they would be covered by an awning (vela).
Famously, the Romans also developed a taste for more graphic entertainment, in
the form of sporting events, especially fights. They were staged in huge round
buildings, known as amphitheatres which were the centre of entertainment in Roman
cities, where many remains of amphitheatres can be still found. The largest
amphitheatre in the empire was the Coliseum in Rome which could seat up to 50,000
people -This structure was still attracting attention in the Renaissance.
Following the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, the Theatres closed
in the 5th Century. Groups of itinerant circus performers, using combinations of trained
animal acts (often featuring overt cruelty) survived alongside other entertainers such as
jugglers and mime artists. Ironically, it was the church which provided the impetus for
the revival of theatre on a major scale by commissioning a variety of plays dealing with
religious themes which came to be known as Miracle and Mystery Plays, dealing with
the lives of Saints and Bible Stories respectively. A third kind of religious drama, the
Morality Play appeared around 1400 and is a dramatized allegory constructed to
illustrate ethical issues bearing on conduct and salvation. This type of drama survived
the Reformation and was instrumental in creating a space for a theatre directed towards
entertainment. The early days of commercial theatre involved performances in public
spaces such as town squares and inn-yards such as that of the White Hart in Southwark.

In such a setting, a fee was charged to playgoers for entering the inn yard, and then
an additional fee was added on if they wanted to go up to a balcony level. The finest
surviving galleried inn in England is New Inn, Gloucester, itself a venue for both
Elizabethan and modern performances. It was the commercial success of such
productions that gave rise to the first purpose built theatre in London, appropriately
called 'The Theatre' and built in Shoreditch in 1576.
The age of Early Modern theatre building in London is restricted to the period
1576-1614 and in this time a total of ten building existed. These were as follows:
1576: The Theatre, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch
1576: Newington Butts, Southwark, Surrey
1577: The Curtain, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch
1587: The Rose, Bankside, Surrey
1595: The Swan, Paris Garden, Surrey
1599: The Globe, Bankside, Surrey (re built 1613)
1600: The Fortune, Golding Lane, Clerkenwell
1600: The Boar's Head, Whitechapel
1604: The Red Bull, Clerkenwell
1614: The Hope (the Bear Garden), Bankside, Surrey
While very little of these theatres survive, there are several sources of
information from which facts can be deduced about their appearance. Most common
are the illustrated maps that were popular at the time and several of which survive in
which theatre buildings can readily be identified. Some of these maps offer very little
new information as they tend to be derived from earlier versions rather than new
surveys, but the three referred to below, all from the Southwark area, are considered
to include the most valuable information. There are also accounts of visits to the
theatre taken from the diaries and writings of travellers, the contribution of Johannes
de Witt being the most important as it also offers a visual record. Finally, the 1980s
brought to light some physical remains of two of the Southwark theatres. There is
also an extant copy of the contact for the building of the Fortune and Hope Theatres.
This engraving, Agas, is from the Civitas Londonium map printed in 1633 and
associated with the name of Ralph Agas. It is believed to be based on a map
produced by Braun and Hopenberg, probably produced in the period 1554-1572. The
main features are the bull-bating and bear-bating arenas; these arenas put on
spectacles of violence featuring animals which have much in common with those
which took place in Roman times. Attendance at these shows was not confined to the
lower orders - Queen Elizabeth attended a bull bating in 1575 and the Zoo at the
Tower of London included a collection of bears for this purpose. The physical
similarity of these arenas to the Roman amphitheatres is also apparent.
The bull-bating ring soon disappeared, but the bear-bating was to remain a
feature of the area into the reign of Charles I and, indeed, still lingers in the
contemporary street name 'Bear Gardens'.
This account, which dates from 1596-1598, is probably the single most
important source of our knowledge of the internal layout of the London theatres. It
consists of a diary note together with a sketch of the internal layout of the Swan


There are four amphitheatres in London so beautiful that they are worth a visit,
which are given different names from their different signs. In these theatres, a different
play is offered to the public every day. The two more excellent of these are situated on
the other side of the Thames, towards the South, and they are called the Rose and the
Swan from their signboards. There are two other theatres outside the city towards the
North, on the road that leads through the Episcopal Gate called Bishopsgate in the
vernacular. There is also a fifth, but of a different structure, intended for fights of
animals, in which many bears, bulls, and dogs of stupendous size are held in different
cages and behind fences, which are kept for the fight to provide a most pleasant
spectacle to the people. The most outstanding of all the theatres, however, and the
largest, is that whose sign is the swan (in the vernacular, the theatre of the swan), as it
seats 3000 people. It is built out of flint stones stacked on top of each other (of which
there is great store in Britain), supported by wooden pillars which, by their painted
marble colour, can deceive even the most acute observers. As its form seems to bear the
appearance of a Roman work, I have made a drawing of it. The drawing is of
considerable importance as it gives us our only internal view of a London theatre but
should be treated with caution as it is only a copy of the original. The following
features are apparent:
Circular structure, with open courtyard, hence the frequently used designation of
Seating in galleries around the vertical internal walls.
Large elevated stage, covered with an elaborate roof held up by elaborate classical
Decorations and paintwork imitating marble and creating spectacular effect.
The various sections are labeled with names from the Roman theatre.
Thomas Platter (born 1574) was a Swiss traveller who recorded his experience at
the Globe in an account of his travels. A translation is set out below.
On the 21St of September, after the mid-day meal, about two o'clock, I and my
company went over the water [i.e. across the Thames] and saw in the house with the
thatched roof the tragedy of the first Emperor Julius Caesar quite aptly performed. At
the end of the play according to their custom they danced quite exceedingly finely, two
got up in men's clothing and two in women's [dancing] wonderfully together. At
another time, not far from our inn in the suburbs, at Bishopsgate according to my
memory, again after lunch, I saw a play where they presented different nations with
which each time an Englishman struggled over a young woman, and overcame them
all, with the exception of the German who won the girl in a struggle, sat down beside
her, and drank himself tipsy with his servant, so that the two were both drunk, and the
servant threw a shoe at his master's head, and both fell asleep. In the meantime the
Englishman crept into the tent, and carried off the German's prize, and thus outwitted
the German in turn. In conclusion they danced in English and Irish fashion quite

And so every day at two o'clock in the afternoon in the city of London
sometimes two sometimes three plays are given in different places, which compete
with each other and those which perform best have the largest number of listeners.
The playing places are so constructed that [the actors] play on a raised scaffold, and
everyone can see everything. However there are different areas and galleries where
one can sit more comfortably and better, and where one accordingly pays more. Thus
whoever wants to stand below pays only one English penny, but if he wishes to sit,
he enters through another door where he gives a further penny, but if he wants to sit
in the most comfortable place on a cushion, where he will not only see everything
but also be seen, he gives at another door a further English penny. And during each
play things to eat and drink are brought round among the people, of which one may
partake for whatever one cares to pay. The actors are dressed in a very expensive and
splendid fashion, since it is the custom in England when notable lords or knights die
they bequeath and leave their servants almost the finest of their clothes which,
because it is not fitting for them to wear such clothes, they offer [them] for purchase
to the actors for a small sum of money. How much time they can happily spend each
day at the play, everyone knows who has seen them act or perform.
The site of the Rose was discovered during building works in 1989. After a
major campaign, part of the foundations has remained on view in the basement of a
modern commercial building. The excavations show clearly the polygonal shape of
this building. It was also apparent from a study of the remains that the building had
been expanded in the course of its life. Coincidentally, 1989 also saw the excavation
of a small part of the foundations of the Globe. This gave a good indication of the
shape of the building, being almost circular.
The building contract for the Fortune tells us that the woodwork of the interior
was painted in order to imitate the appearance of marble, like Italian theatres. The
underside of the stage canopy was painted with sun, moon and stars and probably the
signs of the zodiac. The Hope theatre was built on the site of the bear-bating arena
and was a dual-purpose theatre, adaptable to both animal acts and drama.

To begin, it is worthwhile listing obvious similarities:

- Curved structure, at odds with most contemporaneous buildings, and indeed
modern theatres.
- Large raised stage, roofed over
- Elaborate stage decoration, evocative of general opulence rather than
background to the play
- The yard area is reminiscent of the orchestra pit, being an open area in front of
the stage
- Steeply banked seating affording uninterrupted views for the spectator
- Marbled pillars, evoking classical motifs.
While these factors cover all of the main elements of theatre design, it should be
remembered that the theatres were purely commercial buildings and were
constructed solely with the intention of maximising takings while minimising cost.
In doing so however, it is not inconceivable that the architects, like so many

important Renaissance figures, looked to Rome for their inspiration. A cautionary note
comes from Andrew Gurr, who in The Shakespearean Stage points to the similarity of
the design of the theatres to the animal-bating arenas. He does not however refer to the
close similarity between the design and function of these arenas and the Roman
Amphitheatres. It could be then, that part of the genesis of the popular vibrant and
often violent London stage was not the refined culture of classical theatre which was to
inspire the Italian drama, but the savagery of animal-bating shows, themselves the
successors to the gratuitous violence of the Roman Amphitheatres.
Write an outline of the text.
Retell the text according to the plan (work in groups).
Write an annotation or prcis of the above text.
2. Before reading write at least ten words you associate with the words theatre
and cinema. Is art an important part of your life?
Read the text and retell it according to the plan:
theatres in Britain;
musical life in the country;
cinema and television;
governmental subsidies to art.
London has several dozen theatres, most of them not far from Trafalgar Square. A
successful play can run for many months or even years. Outside London some quite big
towns have no public theatre at all, and hardly any towns have more than three. But
there are private theatres, some attached to colleges or schools. Innumerable amateur
groups produce plays, often with some professional help, in these theatres they hire or
borrow, or in halls temporarily equipped with makeshift stage furniture. Shakespeare is
honoured by a great modern theatre in the small town of Stradford-upon-Avon, where
he was born. But serious theatre needs subsidy to survive.
Several first-rate orchestras are based in London. The largest provincial centres
also maintain permanent orchestras, which give regular concerts. All these orchestras
occasionally visit other places to give concerts, and some financial help is given to
them by the Arts Council or by local authorities. The Royal Opera House at Covent
Garden, in central Lodon, is leased by the government to the Covent Garden Opera
House trust, which receives a government grant. Seasons of opera are performed there
and also of ballet by the Roal Ballet, which has in recent years been one of the most
successful of British ventures in the arts.
Touring opera and ballet companies visit the principal theatres in major towns.
Opera of the highest quality is performed throughout every summer in Glyndebourne,
90 kilometres south of London but visited by people who come from London and its
Local enterprise has been responsible for the development in recent years of
festivals of the arts in several places, of which the best known is the annual
International Festival of Music and Drama in Edinburgh, held in late August. As well
as the performances by musicians, etc. from all over the world, the fringes of the

festival produce an interesting variety of plays by less established companies.

Among other such festivals are those held at Bath, Aldeburgh (connected with the
composer Benjamin Britten), Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands and Llangollen in
north-central Wales. The Three Choirs Festival, which circulates among the three
western cathedral cities of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford, has a continuous
history going back to 1724.
British governments have been less generous than many others with subsidies to
serious or experimantal drama, music and ballet. There a Minister for the Arts (not a
memeber of the Cabinet) and an Arts council which receives a grant from the
government. Part of this money is used to sustain the performing arts, but it is easy to
compain that some performances are helped which do not deserve such help. The
whole question of subsidy to the arts creates s dilemma for politicians dedicated to
the market, and reluctant to use tax revenues to support the expensive enjoyments of
minorities, however worthy. Yet they do not wish to be accused of philistinism.
Meanwhile, some big companies are helping by sponsoring performances.
From about 1930 until quite recent times the cinema enjoyed an immense
popularity, and the large cinemas built in the 1930s were the most inpressive of the
buildings to be seen in the streets of many towns. More recently the rapid spread of
television has brought a great change. In 1946 the average British person went to the
cinema forty times a year, but by the 1980s the figure had fallen to 1, 2 times, and
1,500 cinemas were closed during this period. Most films shown are from
Hollywood, but some British films have won great international success. For foreignlanguage films there is a healthy prejudice against dubbed English soundtracks,
and such films are usually shown with English subtitles.
Cencorship of the theatre for the preservation of good manners, decorum and
the public peace was at least abolished in 1968, but some films are classified as
unsuitable for children. More than half of all households have video equippent,
sometimes used for viewing films on the home TV set. Video-film hiring is a big
3. Give a short summary of the text
A ghost is roaming the theatre, the ghost of premiers, new ideas and
performances. It found refuge in the Russian Academic Theatre.
Boris Loustenko, artistic director of the theatre, has conceived a project of a
spiritual and philosophical Theatre under Cupolas. A small stage in the lobby, rare
chairs for visitors and a tiny hall which can host only several tens people. Scale
models of an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and synagogue will be placed near
each of the stage. Spiritual performances will be staged alongside common ones.
There will be many new and very interesting plays in the theatre this season. For
example, the anti-play Bald singer can be mixed with a common plot play. Though
such measures are unlikely to add anything significant to this performance, as there
is no plot at all, and no one is going to act as a bald singer in the main role. The
genre of the play can be regarded as absurdity.

Aside from this, the theatres conductors are eager to address the classics, and not
just to stage their masterpieces, but to combine them in an incredible improvisation:
imagine Schiller and Pushkin together. A play about Pseudo-Dimetrius is in the stage of
Both authors paid certain attention to this theme and, as the conductor put it, this is
very hot nowadays.
A monoplay John and his Murderer with Aleksei Shedko will be presented at a
festival inGermany. However, the conductor is sure that this work can be on the regular
repertoire of the theatre. This is a story about the killer of John Lennon, who explains
to the ghost of the famous member of The Beatles the reasons for the murder: to
make sure that after such a bright life the singer would not become a Philistine as
everybody else. The killer re-secured John Lennon from old age and frenzy. During the
play, Aleksei Shedko will sing his own songs and those by Lennon. Unfortunately,
these are only speculations.
If you were in charge of the repertoire, how would you choose the plays to be put
4. Read, retell and dramatize this story, using the active words.
The entrance exams at a Moscow school of drama were under way. Dozens of
young men and girls had already presented themselves to the board of examiners, and
the famous; actors who were examining them were already too tired to be attracted by
anything. So when the last candidate finally stepped on to the stage, they were only too
glad to let him go as quickly as possible.
Indeed, there was nothing particular about the young fellow. His manner was
awkward, and the whole performance seemed very amateurish.
His face... Well, it might even have been called ugly if there weren't something
slightly attractive about it. What was it? The smile, perhaps...
In any case he was nothing beyond the ordinary.
The principal of the school, who was a chair man of the board of examiners, rose
to stop the young who was still reciting something.
The young man understood. "I've been turned down then, have I?" he said in a
trembling voice. "Yes, I'm sorry to say; you have," answered the principal, looking him
straight in the face. "You see, it isn't enough to recite poems the way you do. An actor
must act. In the proper sense of the word acting means turning into another person on
the stage, which I'm afraid is beyond your ability."
Going home after the examination, the principal remembered the incident, and
thought for just one moment that he had been too cruel to the last candidate. But then,
he always preferred to be frank with them...
The next evening, when the principal was about to finish work, a late visitor
entered his private room.
It was an old woman wearing a funny old-fashioned hat. She was evidently short
sighted. Her small eyes could hardly be seen through the thick glasses.
The moment she stepped in, she declared that she wanted to talk to the principal in
private, and sat down in an armchair without waiting for permission.
"I'm the aunt and the only relative of the poor boy whom you failed so cruelly

yesterday," she began. "He was the last to take the exam," she added, seeing that her
opening declaration was not sufficient to remind the principal of the young man in
question. Then the old lady went on to say how long her nephew had been practising
the passage for the exam, how upset he was because of his failure, how she had
always shared all his joys and sorrows, etc. "A hard case," the principal said to
himself. He had already realized that the old woman was a remarkable bore, and
thought that it had been very foolish of the secretary to let her in.
The first moment she stopped to take breath, he took advantage of the situation
and hurriedly began:
"You see, an actor must act. In the proper sense of the word acting means
turning into another person, which I think is beyond ..."
He didn't finish his sentence, for the "old lady" took off her hat together with the
gray wig and the glasses, and through the cleverly put on make-up the principal
could see the familiar boyish features which could not be called exactly ugly but
were ordinary, quite ordinary...
Make up a story about the future life of the young man who the above text is

Test yourself
1) Write synonyms, synonymous expressions or English equivalents of:
, , (4)

, (2)

, (2)
, (2)
2) Guess the word /phrase:
Theatrical performance based on fairy tale, with music and jokes usually at
Christmas time.
A person who performs music, plays, etc, for the love of it, not professional.
All the plays, songs, pieces, actor, musician is prepared to perform.
The plays in a theatre for the orchestra.
A theatre for operas.

A separate compartment, with seats for several persons, in a theatre , concert, hall,
Musical entertainment given by players or singers.
To show approval by clapping ones hands.
A number of visit to places made by a theatrical company.
One act, or a short, light musical comedy.
The group of actors taking part in the play.
The back rows of the auditorium (house).
The front rows of the auditorium (house).
3) Match a line from column A with a line from column B to form an English
proverb or saying or idiom with theatre (cinema).
Art is long
You must pay the fiddler
Life is stage
to learn to play your part
If you dance
the quick
A storm of
last legs
To make ones
to heart
To take sth
the lines
To cut sb to
life is short
In high (low)
to whom fortune pipes
To be on ones
keen on sth
Amid death like
To read between
before pleasure
He dances well
makes Jack a dull boy
To be dead
All work and no play
To be at ones
To have (to make)
4. Fill in the blanks with articles wherever necessary.
l. John Arden's new play "Harold Muggins is a Martyr" is to be premiered at ...
London's Unity Theatre in July, with Arden and his wife in ... parts of Mr and Mrs
Muggins. In ... interview to ... newspapermen Arden said he wanted to reach ... more
working-class audience than ... traditional West End theatre-goers. 2. Vivien Lee
won ... acclaim after her first appearance on ... stage. Then she was invited to work
in ... cinema. In 1938 she was awarded ... Oscar prize for ... part of Scarlett in ... film
"Gone with the Wind". 3. Michael returned to ... stage ... much better actor than he left
it. 4.
There is one advantage in reading ... novel before seeing ... screen version; it
makes it more difficult to guess ... plot of ... picture. 5. To ... best of my recollection,
they did not intend to take on ... new make-up artist. 6. It rests with ... public to decide

whether ... new production is ... lasting success. 7. ... young ballerina was ...
revelation. 8. No wonder ... Soviet film "Hamlet" won ... acclaim throughout the
world. Great credit is due not only to ... leading actors but also to ... art director, ...
director of photography, ... make up artists and above all to ... producer of the film.
5. Read the text and complete using the vocabulary. To help you the first
letter of each word is given.
The d____ of a group of amateur a____s has a difficult job. First, he has go find
a c____ capable of working together. It is easy enough to persuade people to take the
p____s of the h____ , h____, and v____, but no one wants a minor r____, and
finding someone willing to be s____ m_____ is even harder. Our last p____ had all
the signs of being a disaster. At the dress r____, the night before the first p____, the
leading a____ fell down, tore her c____ and twisted her ankle. We had not got an
u____, so she had to go on the f____ n_____ with a stick.
As I watched the a____ taking their places in the s____s before the curtain went
up, I feared the worst but it was worse than I had feared. In the first a____, the hero
forgot his l____s, couldnt hear the p____, and made an e____ into the w____s to
find out what he had to say next. The actor on s____ with him didnt notice, and
went on with his next s____. The heroine was wearing a long dress because of her
twisted ankle. She got too close to the f____, saw smoke rising from her feet,
screamed and fainted, just as the villain, making his e____, came on and tripped over
During the i____, my wife, who was helping out by acting as an u____, showing
people to their seats, said: Dont worry! They love it. A man in the second r____
just said to me: I didnt realise this was a c____. I havent laughed so much for
6. Translate these sentences into English using active words.
1. .
3. , ?
4. .
5. ?
6. . .
7. , . .
8. , .
9. , .
10. ?
11. .
12. . ?
13. .
14. ?
15. .

17. , .
18. ? , ?
19. . .
20. .
21. .
22. .
1. Make up dialogues on the following situations:
You discuss with your friend what performance to see next week.
You describe to your small brother (sister) the interior of a theatre.
You talk with your friend about the repertory and the quality of productions of a
particular theatre.
You tell the friend of yours the plot of the performance you saw.
You describe to a visitor to your city (town) its theatrical life and recommend to
see some particular performances.
The house being sold out long before, you fish for a ticket at the entrance of the
theatre asking the coming spectators for an extra one.
You ask a spectator to change seats with you or your friend so as to sit together.
2. Look at the following topics. Choose any you like and speak on it for a
1. The role of the playwright, the stage director and the actor in the present day
2. Advantages and disadvantages of the profession of actor.
My views of the theatre.
My ideal of an actor (an actress).
My impressions of the play.
Theatre and cinema in the modern life.
The educational value of the theatre.
Theatre and drama.
British, American and Belarusian theatres: similarities and differences.
What is more important at the theatre: setting, scenario or acting?
Project Work
Design a theatre ticket. What information will you reflect on it? Try to show there
the most prominent things of that particular theatre, e.g. its history, the place where it is
situated, the architecture of the building, etc.
Divide into groups and think of a theatre of your own (classicaal, modern, etc.),
cast, repertoire, etc.
Choose a piece of literary work and perform it.
Interview an actor/ actress of your local theatre.
Study the history of the development of your local theatre.