Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №12/2007


Дополнительные задания к книге “Britain in Brief” В.В. Ощепковой и И.И. Шустиловой

continued from No. 24, 2006; 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11


Text 7. The Art of Acting

The Birth of English Theatre The Theatre in the Elizabethan Age The Puritans and the Theatre From Artificial to Naturalistic Acting David Garrick Acting in Modern Theatre

From the fall of the Roman Empire until the 10th century, acting hardly existed as an art in Western Europe; only the wandering minstrels provided entertainments in castles and at fairs. In England, the first real actors were amateurs who performed Miracle and Morality plays which were religious in character. In the Elizabethan Age, the first professional theatres were opened. At the time of Shakespeare there were at least six companies of actors. Shakespeare himself joined the Earl of Leicester’s company, which under James I became known as the “King’s Men”. There were also companies of boy actors. All the women’s parts were played by boys. It was very difficult for most actors to earn a living on the stage, even in a London company, and many of them fell into debt. When Shakespeare arrived in London in 1586, the acting was very crude and conventional. There was almost no scenery, and the actors were dressed in the costumes of their day. But when “The Globe” was opened to the public in 1599, it started the Golden Age of the Theatre in England.

Nell Gwynn

Nell Gwynn

In the first half of the 17th century the influence of the Puritans was bad for the popular theatre, and it was not until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 that theatre-going again became a popular pastime. The most popular plays were comedies. The first part played by an actress was that of Desdemona. Nell Gwynn was the first English actress.

By the beginning of the 18th century the most popular type of play was the sentimental comedy. The acting was artificial probably due to the influence of French actors. But, later, under the influence of David Garrick and some other actors, acting became much more naturalistic.

David Garrick was one of the greatest actors known. But even in his time, acting was not very popular. An actor whose acting had offended the audience had to ask their pardon on his knees before a full house before he could continue in his profession.

Henry Irving

Henry Irving

During the 19th century acting became more and more naturalistic. Like in Shakespeare’s time, the best actors understood the importance of the team work of the company. One of the most famous actors of that time was Henry Irving. He was the first actor to be knighted.

By the 1920s naturalistic acting reached a peak in the performance of Sir Gerald Du Maurier. He hardly appeared to be acting at all.

At present most acting still continues to be naturalistic. Designers make the settings as realistic as possible. Modern producers and directors Peter Hall, Peter Brook and others are trying out new styles of acting. Some go back to Greek methods, with a revival of the chorus; others are making use of the audience in helping to interpret the play.


the Puritans пуритане (движение XVI–XVII вв. за очищение англиканской церкви от остатков католицизма; отличаются строгостью нравов и религиозной нетерпимостью)

David Garrick Дейвид Гаррик (1717–1779), английский драматург и актёр, один из реформаторов сцены и основоположник просветительского реализма в европейском театре; возродил интерес к пьесам У. Шекспира

Miracle and Morality plays миракль и моралите (религиозно-нравоучительные представления в средневековом западноевропейском театре, нравоучительные пьесы с персонажами, олицетворяющими различные добродетели и пороки; в настоящее время пьесы жанра миракль можно увидеть в Нью-Йорке, Честере и Ковентри)

Earl граф (титул, степень сословия пэров, ниже маркиза и выше виконта)

James I Яков I (король Англии с 1603 по 1625; вёл борьбу против пуритан, не признававших, в частности, театр; сын Марии Стюарт; род. в 1566 г.)

Nell Gwynn Нелл Гуин (1650–1687), первая английская актриса

Henry Irving Генри Ирвинг (настоящее имя Генри Бродрибб) (1838–1905), английский актёр и режиссёр, ставил пьесы У. Шекспира

Sir Gerald du Maurier сэр Д. Дю Морье (1873–1934), английский актёр

Peter Hall Питер Холл (р. 1930), английский театральный и кинорежиссёр, возглавлял труппу Королевского Шекспировского театра в 1960–1968 гг.

Peter Brook Питер Брук (р. 1925), английский режиссёр-новатор, работал в Мемориальном Шекспировском театре в Стратфорде-на-Эйвоне, Королевском Шекспировском театре


1. Answer the following questions:

A. What was acting like in England before Elizabeth I became Queen?

B. What kind of plays did amateur actors perform?

C. What changes did the Elizabethan Age bring about?

F. What started the Golden Age of the Theatre in England?

E. Why was the influence of the Puritans bad for the popular theatre?

F. Who made the style of acting much more natural?

G. Modern producers and theatre directors try new styles and present plays in new and interesting ways. For example...

2. Are these statements true or false? Comment on them.

A. Wandering minstrels were the first professional actors.

B. The first professional theatres were opened in the Elizabethan Age.

C. All the women’s parts were played by boys.

D. Most actors could hardly make ends meet.

E. The Globe was opened to the public after Shakespeare died.

F. David Garrick introduced a more natural style of acting.

G. Henry Irving, famous in the late 19th century for his theatre performances in Shakespeare’s plays, was the first actor to be knighted.


1. Read the definitions from 1 to 6, and match each of them to one of the words from A to F: A) an amateur; B) a director; C) a designer; D) a playwright; E) a producer; F) a minstrel

1. A person in charge of a film play, etc., who obtains the money to pay for it, and arranges rehearsals, filming, publicity ________________________________

2. A person who takes part in an activity or creates something with artistic skill, etc., without receiving money for it ________________________________

3. A person in charge of a film, play, etc., who supervises and instructs the actors, camera crew and other staff ________________________________

4. A travelling musician (in the Middle Ages) ________________________________

5. A person who writes plays ________________________________

6. A person whose job is designing things _______________________________

2. How about a game of words?
In groups of 3 write as many words as possible that can be used when talking about theatre.
For example, stage, balcony, the stalls, rehearsal, etc. Set the time-limit of 7 minutes.
Make two copies of the list, and give one of them to the teacher.


Put the verb in brackets into the correct form.

W. Shakespeare and the Globe

Shakespeare (1)________ (move) to London in 1588. Soon he (2)_________ (join) a leading theatre company. He quickly (3)__________ (establish) a reputation as a writer of plays for the company and (4)____________ (appear) in his dramas at the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s most famous works are the 36 plays he (5)______________(write) for the London stage. They (6)____________ (write) mainly in verse and (7)________ greatly ___________ (admire) for their poetic language, dramatic technique and literary style.

Most of his plays (8)______________ first _____________ (perform) at the Globe Theatre. It (9)_______________ (build) in 1599 on the south bank of the Thames. It was a round, open-air building with a roof over the stage. It had three levels of seats. Some of the audience could stand in front of the stage. The theatre (10)_____________ (close) by the Puritans in 1642.

An exact copy of the Globe (11)___________ (build) in the 1990s and plays (12)__________again ___________ (perform) there.


Give a talk on one of the topical questions below.

1. Which plays of William Shakespeare have you read or seen? Did you like them? Why?

2. How has the style of acting changed since the first professional theatres were opened in England?

3. What was the influence of W. Shakespeare on British and world theatre?

4. What do you know about the Globe Theatre in London?

5. What theatres in Russia and abroad do you know? Which one do you like the best?

Describe the theatre and your favourite performance.


I. 2. A. F; B. T; C. T; D. T; E. F; F. T; G. T

II. 1. E; 2. A; 3. B; 4. F; 5. D; 6. C

III. 1. moved; 2. joined; 3. established; 4. appeared; 5. wrote; 6. are/were written; 7. are/were … admired; 8. were … performed; 9. was built; 10. was closed; 11. was built; 12. are … performed

By Viktoria Oschepkova, Irina Shustilova

to be continued