задания к книге “Britain in Brief” В.В. Ощепковой и
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.
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
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
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
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
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),
Peter Hall Питер Холл (р. 1930), английский
театральный и кинорежиссёр, возглавлял труппу
Королевского Шекспировского театра в
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.
II. WORD STUDY
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
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.
III. GRAMMAR PRACTICE
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.
IV. COMMUNICATION PRACTICE
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
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