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Vocabulary activities


1. Read the following extract. Fill each of the gaps with a correct word.


significant education expertise facilities primary opportunity behaviour habit performed entertainment loss  


Theatre is a powerful instrument of 1. The theatre has always been very strong in Britain. Its centre is, of course, London, where successful plays can sometimes run without a break for many years. But every large town in the country has its theatres. Even small towns often have “repertory” theatres (rep), where different plays are 2 for short periods by the same group of professional actors (a repertory company). Another 3 feature of English theatre is the way in which the actors have brought drama to young people, even into 4 schools.

It seems that the conventional format of the theatrical play gives the undemonstrative British people a safe 5 to look behind the mask of accepted social 6 The country’s most successful and respected playwrights are usually those who explore the darker side of the personality.

In contrast, the cinema in Britain is often regarded as not quite part of “the arts” at all – it is simply 7. Partly for this reason, Britain is unique among the large European countries in giving almost no financial help to its film industry.

Therefore, although cinema-going is a regular 8 for a much larger number of people than is theatre-going, British film directors often have to go to Hollywood because the resources they need are not available in Britain. As a result, comparatively few films of quality are made in the country. This is not because 9 in film making docs not exist. It does. American productions often use studios and technical 10 in Britain. Moreover, some of the films which Britain does manage to make become highly respected around the world. But even these films often make a financial 11.


2. For Questions 16-30, read the text below and think of the word which best fits each space. Use only one word in each space. There is an example at the beginning (0).


The Globe Theatre

The Globe theatre (0) was built in 1598 by the Burbage brothers, (16)............... inherited it from their father, James. It was (17)............... west of London Bridge on the south bank of the River Thames, (18)............... another two theatres, the Swan and the Rose had already been founded. William Shakespeare was one of the original seven owners of the Globe and he not (19)............... wrote theatrical plays that were performed there, but he also performed in these plays as an actor (20)................ In 1613, (21)............... a performance of Henry VTII, the thatched roof caught fire and (22)................ entire theatre was destroyed within one hour.

The foundations of the original building (23)...............found much later and they were studied by the architects who were responsible (24)............... the design and reconstruction of the Globe theatre. To keep the atmosphere and reality of the XVI century, (25)............... is no electronic equipment, microphones or stage lighting, apart from floodlights that give the impression of daylight. Traditionally, performances in outdoor playhouses like the Globe took (26)............... in daylight. Similarly, there is no scenery except for (27)............... furniture, such as a throne for the king, a few stools and chairs.

Performances have (28)............... held since 1980 and the aim has always been to recreate the spirit of the Elizabethan theatre, following traditional methods and (29)............... traditional materials. The motto of the theatre is still “the whole world is a stage”. A flag still flies above the theatre (30)............... summer during performances representing Atlas carrying the globe of the world.


3. For questions 1-6, read the text below and decide which answer (А, В, С or D) best fits each gap.



The transfer to London from Stratford of an exceptional production of Shakespeare’s play Othello allows me to make (1)... for an unfair review that I wrote when the show opened last spring. Back then I complained that Ray Fearon was too young to play the title role and I was guilty of running down his acting. I still think it’s a distortion of the tragedy to remove the age difference between Othello and Desdemona but I eat my (2)... about the rest of Mr Fearon’s magnificent performance.

Indeed the whole cast is magnificent. Memorable scenes include the one where Cassio’s competitive games with the other young officers get dangerously out of (3)..., and the moment when lago begins to lose control and has to struggle to get a (4)... on himself. And I challenge anyone not to be (5)... to tears during the scene where Emilia prepares Desdemona for bed. The (6)... and tension throughout are terrific. Do not miss this production.


  a) confessions b) amends c) compensation d)recourse
  a) thoughts b) words c) ideas d) comments
  a) turn b) place c) reach d) hand
  a) brake b) grasp c) rein d) grip
  a) drawn b) sent c) moved d) cried
  a) pace b) dash c) rate d) haste


4. You are going to read an article about music and thetare. For questions 1-7, choose the answer (А, В, С or D) which you think fits best according to the text.


Music and theatre

Up until quite recently, I would have said that opera is first and foremost theatre. Not any more. After a brief spell working at a national opera house, I learned that opera is, in fact, only secondly theatre. The music comes first. That's as it should be, of course. But I come from a different world, the world of the theatre, where the word and the actor speaking it have primacy, where there is nobody out front directing the action once the event is under way, and where performer and audience (mostly) speak the same language.

At any musical performance, whether in concert hall or opera house, there will generally be a substantial minority of people who, like me, have little technical or academic understanding of music. Some of them will be aware of, possibly even embarrassed by, how much they don't know. Most will be awestruck by the skill of the performers. A dazzling coloratura or an impeccable string section are easy to admire. Even a moderately good musician is showing us the results of years of punishingly hard work. Being in the audience for top-class music is not unlike watching an athletics match – we know athletes are doing something broadly similar to what we do when running for a bus, but we also recognize by how much it exceeds our best efforts.

Theatre audiences by contrast, come with a different set of expectations. In the main they do not understand the nature of an actor’s skill and are not particularly awed by an activity which, a lot of the time, appears to be very close to what they could do themselves. They are not usually impressed when an actor completes a long and difficult speech (although “how do you learn all those lines?” is the question every actor gets asked). None of this means that theatre audiences are more generous or less demanding than their counterparts in the concert hall; indeed quite a lot of them are the same people. What perhaps it does mean is that audiences and performer meet on more equal terms in the theatre than elsewhere, no matter how challenging the material or spectacular the event. The question is, does music need to learn anything from the theatre about this relationship? I would say yes, partly because I have seen how a different approach can transform the concert-goer’s experience.

Music in live performance is inherently theatrical, full of passion, humour, melancholy, intimacy, grandeur; vulnerable to the possibility that something will go unexpectedly wrong, reaching into the imagination of the listener not just as an individual but as part of a collective. The conventions which still largely dominate music presentation, including strict dress codes and an exaggerated deference to the status of conductors and soloists, emphasise the difference between players and listeners in a way which often feels uncomfortably hierarchical. On the other hand, the tendency of contemporary music audiences to interrupt the momentum of performance by applauding between movements or after a particular piece of virtuosity, while it is often a spontaneous expression of appreciation, can also be insensitive to the dramatic integrity of the whole work.

Is there anything to be done? Of course a huge amount is being done. Pioneering work is going on all over the country to encourage new audiences into concert halls and opera houses, and to break down the barriers that make people feel that “serious” music is not for them. I remember a remarkable event, the staging of Jonathan Dove’s community opera In Search of Angels, which followed the action from location to location within a cathedral and then out into the town. It was a musical experience of the highest order, in which the skills, and the generosity, of the professional musicians were absolutely central and it was also life-changing for many of the audience, who were not just there to see and hear but also to contribute directly.

Perhaps what I yearn for in music is a bit more of the risk and radicalism that theatre at its best can display. Sometimes it can come from the use of unfamiliar or challenging locations, where normal expectations are disrupted. This can have startling effects on performer and audience alike. Comforts may have to be foregone; perhaps the acoustic isn't great, maybe it’s a bit cold, but theatre audiences have learned to be intrepid as they follow artists into the most unpromising spaces. I accept that most plays get put on in a pretty uncontroversial way, not greatly different from what happens in a concert hall. However I remain convinced that something can and should happen to change the conventions of music-going. The only authority I can claim is that of the enthusiast: I love, and live by, the theatre and I spend as much time (and money) as I can going to hear music. I want them both to thrive, and for more and more people to get the pleasure I get from being the audience.


What does the writer imply in the first paragraph?

A) She finds opera difficult to appreciate.

В) She recognises some shortcomings of the theatre.

С) She has re-evaluated her view of opera.

D) She is reluctant to change her view of the theatre.


1) The writer says that a significant number of people who attend musical performances may

A) lack her specialist knowledge.

В) have a sense of inadequacy.

С) be unimpressed by the musicians’ talent.

D) make no attempts to engage with the music.


2) What point is exemplified by the reference to athletes in the second paragraph?

A) Musicians have to train for longer than athletes.

В) Athletes find performing in public demanding.

С) Audiences recognize the particular talent of the musicians.

D) It is harder to become an athlete than a musician.


3) What does the writer say about theatre audiences?

A) Their assumptions are different from concert audiences.

В) They regard the actor’s technique as crucial.

С) Their appraisal of performances is realistic.

D) They are less critical than concert audiences.


4) What is the writer’s attitude towards the conventions surrounding musical performance?

A) It is unreasonable to expect instant changes.

В) They enable the audience to show respect for the performers.

С) It is important to retain some traditions.

D) They can result in a feeling of divisiveness.


5) What was it about the staging of In Search of Angels that impressed the writer?

A) the size of the auditorium.

В) the absence of commercial motivation.

С) the composition of the audience.

D) the opportunity for audience participation.


6) In the final paragraph, the writer expresses a desire to see more

A) cooperation between musicians and actors.

В) suitable facilities at venues.

С) challenging music in theatrical performances.

D) innovation in musical performances.


5. Answer the following questions. Consult the dictionary if necessary.


1) Would you like to go to a play that was universally criticized by all the critics? Why / Why not?

2) Good performers deserve an encore. True? Would you give one?

3) Would you like to see a film that was panned by cinema critics? Why / Why not?

4) Do most actors like to become typecast? Why / Why not?

5) A standing ovation shows that the audience disliked the performance. True? Why / Why not?


6. Make sure you can name all the parts of a typical theatre in English. Picture dictionary may help you.


7. In most lines of the following text, there is one extra unnecessary word. It is either grammatically incorrect or does not fit in with the sense of the text. For each numbered line (1-16) find this word and then write it in the box on your answer sheet. Some lines are correct. Indicate these lines with a (+) in the box. The exercise begins with two examples.



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