|Talking about your free time
Use the correct form of these expressions to complete the dialogues:
meet up with go round get together have a part come along bring
1. What are you doing at the weekend?- Some friends of mine have just moved into a new flat and they're .......... on Saturday night. Why don't you .......... too? You can .......... Sally, if you like - I'm sure she'd like Tony and Jane. 2. Are you doing anything tonight? - Nothing special. I'm just.......... a few friends for a drink. 3. What are you up to this evening? - Not much really. I might .......... to see Steve and his wife later. 4. Have you got anything special on this weekend? - Yes, I have actually. I'm seeing some old school friends. We all try to ............. every couple of years and have a big night out in London.
3 Let's have a night out. Match these ideas with one of the activities below:
1. I haven't been to see a play for ages. 2. Let's go out for a meal at the weekend. We haven't eaten out for a long time. 3. Shall we go and see a band? I haven't seen any live music for ages. 4. Do you fancy going out for a drink later? 5. Do you fancy going clubbing tonight? 6. Shall we go and see a film later?
a. going to the pub b. going to the cinema c. going to the theatre d. going to a restaurant e. going to a nightclub f. going to a concert
Now use the correct form of these expressions to complete the dialogues:
g. have a quiet night in h. go to a party i. have a very active social life j. be stuck indoors k. have some fun
7. Is everything OK with your new flatmate? > Yes, he seems to ............ . He's been out every night this week. 8. Are you going out tonight, Alison? There's a new club opened in the High Street. > Not tonight. I've been out every night this week. I want to ............ for a change. 9. How's the exam revision going? I bet you're getting a bit tired of it, aren't you? > Absolutely! I've ............ all week. I want to go out and ............ . 10. Are you doing anything exciting this weekend, Mark? > Yes, I'm ............ up in London. Some friends of mine have just moved into a new house.
Act, acting, balcony, box, cast, company, costumes, director, dress-circle, gallery, interval, lighting, matinee, orchestra-pit, pit, produce, producer, production, properties (props), repertoire, row, stage-manager, stalls, (theatre-) house, treatment, professional theatre, repertory company, amateur theatre, dramatic society, the setting of a scene, light and sound effects, to produce a play, run, poster (AmE: bill-board), box-office, ticket agency, seating plan, full house, "House full", be all sold out, box-office play, show, variety show, ballet, opera, musical comedy, drama, tragedy, concert, choir (chorus), boy's choir, script, producer, director, conductor, playwright, prompter, usher, spectator, audience, performance, be a success (be popular with the public), be a failure, leading part (role), drama theatre (playhouse), opera and ballet house, puppet theatre, variety theatre, travelling company, touring company, tour, on tour company, actor, actress, ballet dancer, singer, go on the stage, amateur theatre, amateur actor, (dress) rehearsal, first night, matinee idol, orchestra, tune up (v), overture, cloak-room, cloak-room ticket (check), foyer, auditorium, stage (n), stage (v), scenery, make up (v), make up (n), wings (backstage), in the wings, aisle, in the (orchestra) stalls, on the front, back row, in the fifth row, in the box, on/in the balcony, tier, "the gods", curtain (rises, falls), lights (go down, go up), be about to begin, (play)-bill, programme, cast (n), permanent staff, scene, applaude (v), applause (n), burst into applause, encore, curtain call, stage fright.
TEXT A. DRAMA, MUSIC AND BALLET IN BRITAIN
The centre of theatrical activity in Britain is London. There are about 50 principal theatres in professional use in or near the West End and some 20 in the suburbs.
Most of these are let to producing managements on a commercial basis but some of them are permanently occupied by subsidised companies, such as the National Theatre which stages classical and modern plays in its complex of three theatres on the South Bank of the River Thames. The former Old Vie Company, which was Britain's major theatrical touring company, has now taken up residence in the National Theatre, changing its name to the National Theatre Company. In addition the Royal Shakespeare Company presents Shakespearean plays at Stradford-upon-Avon and a mixed repertoire in London.
Outside London there are many non-repertory theatres which present all kinds of drama and also put on variety shows and other entertainments. Recently there has been a growth in the activity of repertory companies which receive financial support from the Arts Council and the local authorities. These companies employ leading producers, designers and actors, and the standard of productions is generally high. Some companies have their own theatres, while others rent from the local authorities.
Music of all kinds — "pop" music, folk music, jazz, light music and brass bands — is an important part of British cultural life. The large audiences at orchestral concerts and at classical music.
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, which receives financial assistance from the Arts Council, gives regular seasons of opera and ballet. It has its own orchestra which plays for the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. Both companies have a high international reputation. The English National Opera which performs in the London Coliseum gives seasons of opera and operetta in English. It also tours the provinces.
There are several thousand amateur dramatic societies in Britain. Most universities have thriving amateur drama clubs and societies. Every year an International Festival of University Theatre is held. (From Britain 1983. Lnd. 1984)
TEXT B. AT THE BOX-OFFICE
— 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! It's near the orchestra-pit. My wife can't stand loud music.
— Then I could find you some seats in the pit.
— I'm afraid that won't do either. My father-in-law is terribly short-sighted. He wouldn't see much from the pit, would he?
— Hm... Perhaps, you'd care to take a box?
— Certainly not! It's too expensive. I can't afford it.
— Dress-circle then?
— I don't like to sit in the dress-circle.
— I'm 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 couldn't dream of letting her walk up four flights of stairs, could we?
— I find, sir, that there isn't a single seat in the house that would suit you.
— There isn't, is there? Well, I think we'd much better go to the movies. As for me, I don't care much for this theatre-going business. Good day!
TEXT C. PANTOMIMES
Sally: Tony, there's an advertisement in the local paper saying that the theatre in the High Street is putting on "Cinderella". I haven't seen a pantomime for years and years. Do you fancy going?
Tony: Yeh, that sounds good. I don't think I've seen one since I was about fourteen — except for one on ice when I was crazy about skating, and that's not quite the same thing, is it?
Sally: No. Ice shows don't have all the wonderful traditional scenery and that gorgeous theatre atmosphere.
Tony: Pantomimes are awfully old, if you think about it aren't 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. I've never seen "Cinderella". I suppose the stepmother and the ugly sisters are the men's 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 today's pop songs into pantomime stories?
Sally: Well, why don't we get tickets and find out?
Tony: Yes, OK. Come on, then.
I. Answer the following questions:
A. 1. What is the centre of theatrical activity in Great Britain? 2. Which theatrical companies receive financial support from Arts Council? 3. What is meant by a repertory theatre? 4. What do you know about the Royal Shakespeare Company? 5. What kind of performances are staged in the Royal Opera House? 6. Are there many theatres in or near the West (East) End of London? 7. What kind of music is popular in England? 8. Are there any amateur theatres in Great Britain? 9. What leading actors of the British theatre do you know?
B. 1. How is the Russian theatre organized? 2. What Russian theatres are best known in Russia and abroad? 3. Is attendance at our theatres high? 4. How many times a month (a year) do you go to the theatre? 5. Are there any amateur theatres in Russia?
III. Learn Text B by heart. Act out this dialogue.
IV. Speak on your favourite genre (opera, drama, ballet, comedy, musical, etc.). Why do you like it?
VI. Read the following and either agree or disagree with the statements. (See the Reminder.):
1. The house is the part of the theatre where the members of the orchestra usually sit. 2. An auditorium is a building or a part of a building in which the audience sit. 3. The audience include both spectators and actors. 4. When the audience is pleased it keeps silent. 5. We say "the house is full" when not all the seats in the auditorium are occupied. 16. The pit is nearer to the stage than the stalls. 7. You prefer seats in the gallery, don't you? 8. Wings are the sides of al stage with the scenery. 9. You wouldn't like to go behind the stage, I believe. 10. The cheapest seats are in the boxes. 11. The most expensive seats are in the orchestra stalls. 12. Students always buy seats in the orchestra stalls. 13. By the cast of the play we mean all the actors belonging to the theatrical company. 14. The role of the producer is not very important. 15. You don't know who Stanislavsky was, I believe. 16. It doesn't take many people to produce a play. 17. I believe you clap to show your appreciation of the acting or the play as a whole.
Reminder. Beyond all doubt. I should think so. I won't deny it. Most likely. I disagree with you. On the contrary. You are wrong. Just the other way round. Not me. By no means.
VII. a) Describe your impressions of a play (opera, ballet) you have seen. Follow the plan below:
1. Going to the theatre. (How did you get the tickets? Where were your seats? Was the house full?) 2. The play. (Was it interesting? What was interesting? What didn't you like about it?) 3. The acting. (Was the cast good? Whose acting impressed the audience? In what scenes?) 4. The production. (Did the production help the audience to catch the main idea of the play? In what points of the production did you feel the work of the producer? Did the general spirit of the production satisfy the demand of the play?) 5. Designing. (Did you like the scenery? How were the light and sound effects used?) 6. The audience. (What kind of people did it consist of? How did they receive the performance?)
Reminder: it is surprising to meet a play about ordinary people caught up in ordinary events, the author shows a remarkable talent for writing dialogue which is entertaining and witty, the characters are pleasant (humorous, ordinary); one brief scene forms the climax of the play, the characters act out a fantasy, the audience is made to think, until almost the final curtain, splendid direction, it was one of the finest renderings of this part I've ever heard, I hear the scenery was planned and designed by ...; his musical talent is quite exceptional his playing sometimes reminds me of..., the highlight of the evening was...
b) Make up dialogues discussing the points above. VIII. a) Supply articles where necessary:
Chekhov's play "... Sea-gull" was first staged in ... Alexandrinsky Theatre in ... Petersburg. It was ... complete failure. ... play was ruined by ... dull and ... clumsy production. It was staged in ... "good old traditions" whereas ... Chekhov's plays were quite unlike any other plays written before and demanded ... new forms and devices. ... Petersburg audience did not understand "... Sea-gull." There was ... laughter in most poetical scenes and many of... audience left long before ... end of ... play. It was ... cruel blow to Chekhov. However, in ... Moscow Art Theatre, which was not ... year old then (it was in 1898), ... same play directed by K. S. Stanislavsky was ... tremendous success. ... Stanislavsky's production of "... Sea-gull" opened ... new epoch in ... history of ... theatre and symbolized ... triumph of ... new and ... progressive forms over ... old ones.
In ... memory of that event ... white sea-gull spreads its wings on ... curtain of ... Moscow Art Theatre.
b) Answer the following questions:
1. When and where was Chekhov's "Sea-gull" first staged? 2. Why did it fail? 3. Why was it that the same play was a tremendous success in the Art Theatre? 4. Why did the Art Theatre choose the sea-gull for its emblem?
X. a) Read Sir Laurence Olivier's answers given by him in a newspaper interview:
Question: How has television affected the theatre?
Answer: Well, its popularity means that millions of people take drama for granted. With hours and hours every week, the viewer can have a bellyful of drama. If you're going to attract a man and his wife away from their TV set on a winter's night, and hold them to a play in a theatre, you've got to grip them and keep them gripped.
Now, you do have certain advantages in the theatre. The telly is perfect for the things that have been specially built for it. But the TV screen cannot give you the peculiar condition of the theatre, where we are allowed to get back to life-size people in relation.
Q.: Is there any particular hobby-horse that you ride in your work as actor and director?
A.: I rely greatly on rhythm. I think that is one thing I understand — the exploitation of rhythm, change of speed of speech, change of time, change of expression, change of pace in crossing the stage. Keep the audience surprised, shout when they're not expecting it, keep them on their toes — change from minute to minute.
What is the main problem of the actor? It is to keep the audience awake.
Q.: How true is it that an actor should identify with a role?
A.: I don't know. I can only speak for myself. And in my case it's not 'should', it's 'must'. I just do. I can't help it. In my case I feel I am who I am playing. And I think, though I speak only from my own experience, that the actor must identify to some extent with his part.
In "Othello" the passage from the handkerchief scene through to flinging the money in Emilia's face is, pound by pound, the heaviest burden I know that has been laid upon me yet by a dramatist.
And Macbeth. Do you know what is the first thing to learn about playing Macbeth? To get through the performance without losing your voice. (From Moscow News, 1969, No 10, Fragments)
XL Role-playing. At a Theatre Festival
St. A.: a famous producer
St. B.: a celebrated actor
St. C.: a talented young actress, who made an immediate hit with her sensitive and moving performance
Rest of class: a journalist, a critic, a playwright and theatre-goers
All are invited to the studio.
XII. Comment on the fragments.
A. There are many people whom the theatre fills with an excitement which no familiarity can stale. It is to them a world of mystery and delight; it gives them entry into a realm of the imagination which increases their joy in life, and its illusion colours the ordinariness of their daily round with the golden shimmer of romance. (W. S. Maugham)
B. In the Theatre we are proud to serve, ideas merely play like summer lightning over a deep lake of feeling; the intellect may be quickened there, but what is more important is that the imagination of the spectator begins to be haunted, so that long after he has left the play-house the actors are still with him, still telling him of their despair and their hope. (J. B. Priestley)
XIII. Speak individually or arrange a discussion on the following:
1. Why is it that people go to the theatre? What do they look for there? 2. What is your favourite theatre and why? 3. The fragment above (Ex. XII B) describes the case when "the imagination of the spectator begins to be haunted so that long after he has left the play-house the actors are still with him..." Is the experience familiar to you? After what play did you have it last time? 4. What is the romantic side of the theatre? 5. What is the educational role of the theatre? Do you agree with Priestley (see the fragment in Ex. XII B) that the theatrical art appeals rather to the spectator's imagination and feelings than to his intellect? Give your reasons.
A government of philistines? Read this extract from the Independent about arts funding in Britain and answer the questions.
Playing to the gallery: not addressing the issue
The British government's attitude to the arts is in many ways lamentable. Public expenditure on the arts is woefully inadequate compared with our European neighbours (£9.80 per person per annum in Britain against £27.80 in Sweden, £24 in Germany, £21.40 in France and £20.50 in the Netherlands). The arts minister is not in the Cabinet; great national projects such as the Royal Opera House development and the National Gallery extension have to rely totally on private money: museums can barely afford to maintain their buildings; and the government rarely expresses pride in the arts as a central part of Britain's achievements.
Yet, despite such legitimate causes for complaint, the arts lobby will achieve nothing by accusing the government of Philistinism. It would do much better to produce a concrete and realistic manifesto for adequte arts funding
1 An actor who plays to the gallery uses the most extreme dramatic effects. Read the whole extract and say if this term is used showing approval. 2 If something is lamentable, is it a good thing? 3 If something is woefully inadequate, is it a) slightly inadequate or b) extremely inadequate? 4 Is a legitimate cause justifiable? 6 Do philistines like and understand the arts?
Premieres, debuts and revivals
Preview, sneak preview, debut, revival
The first performances of a play or opera or showings of a film are often previews. Sneak preview suggests that the audience does not really have the right to see the play, film or whatever before its official opening, but the term is used even when there is no suggestion that the audience is not really allowed to see the preview.
The first official performance, or the first performance in a particular place, is the first night, opening night or premiere. A debut is normally a performer's first public performance, again perhaps in a particular place, but a show's first performance may also be referred to as its debut.
A play or opera, or an opera production, may be new, or it may be a revival.
That's showbusiness. Complete the extracts with the expressions below. Each item is used once.
a run b full houses c cast d opening night e entertainer f performances g shows h sell-out
1. Cher's first New York concert was called off yesterday when she developed bronchitis. The __________ of her __________ of three ______ at the city's Paramount Theatre was postponed until tomorrow. 2 The commercialism of theatre on Broadway had reached such depths, he said, that it was dependent not only on tried and tested material but on appearances by television and pop stars. A David Mamet play that had attracted __________ while Madonna was in the __________ closed as soon as she left. 3 The One could, according to industry estimates, make 7 million for the 45-year old ________ next year. Last weekend, more than 200,000 people paid £22,50 each to watch Eltonjohn and Eric Clapton on stage at Wembley. Then Elton was off to __________ __________ in Birmingham and continental Europe.
Clapping, heckle, heckler, boo, ovation
Audiences traditionally show their appreciation at the end of a performance (and sometimes during it) by clapping. Clapping is also referred to as applause, which if loud may be described as tumultuous, rapturous or thunderous. In a standing ovation, an audience stands up to applaud, perhaps shouting its appreciation, or cheering, at the same time.
An audience wanting to hear more at the end of a performance demands an encore.
(Rhythmic clapping, curiously, indicates disapproval in some cultures, such as English-speaking ones, and approval in others.)
Audience displeasure. Two articles from The Times about booing audiences have been mixed up. Put together the two articles by rearranging the sections. Each article contains three sections.
HOT UNDER THE COLLAR / DUCHESS OF YORK AT DUTCH NATIONAL BALLET
a A royal gala with an empty royal box and not even a note of the national anthem? It happened at the Coliseum on Tuesday night when the Duchess of York turned up spectacularly late for the Dutch National Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet.
b The fans allege that the hotel deliberately delayed the concert to maximise its drinks sales before it began. The hotel vigorously denies this.
c When the singer, Julio Iglesias, finally appeared on stage at 9.30 pm, his first song was drowned out by the fans'jeers and boos. No explanation was given for the delay and, according to the American National Law Journal, 2,000 of the disappointed fans are suing Iglesias and the owners of the Hyatt Grand Champion Hotel for the refund of their money.
d 'But it was still a royal gala,' insists a spokesman. 'She was in the audience.' Some of the time.
e It does not pay to be late in America, especially when the people waiting for you have paid $100 (£60) for the pleasure of hearing you sing. It is a big mistake when those fans are Californians and are kept waiting in the sweltering desert heat for over two hours.
f The house management proposed awaiting her arrival, but a storm of hissing and booing persuaded them to start without the royal guest. Eventually the Duchess slipped into a box at the back of the house and the theatre tactfully decided not to risk the ire of its audience further by playing the national anthem at either the interval or the performance's end.
Hit, review, bad reviews, mixed reviews, rave reviews, notice
If critics like something a lot, it attracts, draws, earns, gathers, gets, receives or wins rave reviews and critical acclaim. Hit is an informal word for a success.
Something that gets very bad reviews is panned or savaged by the critics.
Broadway is New York's main theatre district, even if all its theatres are not actually on the street of that name. Broadway is used to refer to mainstream productions: commercial, non-experimental ones, increasingly of musicals. Broadway is also referred to, sometimes affectionately and sometimes derisively, as the Great White Way.
Likewise, the West End is used to refer to a style of production usually found in the West End of London, even if some West End theatres are geographically elsewhere.
More experimental, unusual work is referred to as Off-Broadway in New York. Something even more experimental may be referred to as off-off-Broadway, or as the fringe elsewhere. (The term fringe originated at the Edinburgh festival in Scotland to indicate productions that were not part of the main programme.)
Useful adjectives for describing works and performances
not as good as people say
It's an overrated film/play.
done so often it is boring
The plot was so hackneyed!
complex and impossible to understand
His films are impenetrable.
unconnected and not in a clear order
The play was disjointed and difficult to follow.
impossible to believe
The film Green Aliens from Mars was a bit far-fetched.
slightly immoral and likely to shock some people
The play was a bit risque, and some religious leaders criticised it.
exciting and keeping your attention the whole time
It was a gripping film from start to finish.
It was a harrowing documentary about war and refugee camps
making you feel strong emotion, especially pity or sadness
It's a moving story about a child whose mother dies.
you remember it long after
That was a memorable performance.
done or expressed in a simple but attractive style
The whole ballet is really understated.
B Success and failure
1. His latest opera was panned by the critics, which is strange, since all his previous works have been universally lauded. 2. The play bombed in London's West End, but was more successful in New York. 3. Her latest CD has won three awards. 4. Anthony O'Donnell won the award for 'Best up-and-coming actor' of 2001. 4. The critics generally agree that her new symphony is a masterpiece. 5. Novak was definitely miscast as the father in that film. 6. She has become typecast as a middle-aged mother. 7. He was given several encores for his performance of the violin concerto. 8. She got a standing ovation for her performance of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
Nouns relating to performing
I liked her interpretation of the song 'Yesterday'. I prefer the original version by the Beatles. He gave an excellent rendition of Hamlet's speech. The actor's portrayal of the mother in the film was very tender.
1 From memory, give an adjective which is opposite in meaning to the following words.
1 credible/believable 2 original/novel 3 underrated 4 exaggerated 5 coherent/smooth-flowing
2 Now use other adjectives from A instead of the underlined words in these sentences. Make any other changes that are necessary to produce a correct sentence.
1 The musical shocked some people because they thought it was immoral and was attacked by several politicians and religious figures. 2 Her performance was one of those you will never forget, simply marvellous. 3 I can't remember the last time I saw such a film that keeps you in suspense and totally absorbed all the time. 4 It was a play that aroused very deep emotions in me. 5 It's a film that is difficult to watch without getting very upset. 6 Some of his films are absolutely impossible to understand because they are so dense and obscure.
3 Answer these questions.
1 Would you like to go to a play that was universally lauded 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 the cinema critics? Why / Why not? 4 What are the top Hollywood awards for films normally called? What is their more correct name? 5 Do most actors like to become typecast? Why / Why not? 6 A standing ovation shows that the audience disliked the performance. True? Why / Why not?
4. Read the text and underline words or phrases that match the eight definitions. Use a dictionary if necessary.
1 the way an actor creates a picture of a person
2 he/she is the wrong actor for that part
3 a film/book/play that keeps you in suspense
4 keep you in suspense / constantly excited
6 a film which huge numbers of people will go and see
7 a police or crime theme
8 a very great work of art
Cliffhanger not to be missed
In this latest blockbuster cops-and-robbers movie from the Holdart Studios, budding Hollywood star Florida Packlirte plays country-boy Ricky Smart, who gets involved with a. gang of criminals intent upon stealing ten million dollars from a Chicago bank. However, their plans are spoilt by the discovery of a dead body in the tunnel they are digging through to the bank. Who is the mystery dead woman? Is she a stranger, or someone from Ricky's own past? Packline's portrayal of the confused boy from a small town caught up in big city crime is convincing, but Julia Fischer as his long-lost sister is somewhat miscast. Not a masterpiece, but it will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat.
Read this article from The Economist and answer the questions.
BROADWAY PLAYS SAFE
Musical comedies have fascinated New York ever since the supposed inception 100 years ago of 'Broadway', the theatres on and around the Great White Way. But the theatre district's heyday in the Roaring Twenties, when it staged nearly 50 new musicals in a season, is a distant memory.
Far fewer shows open now. They cost a lot more to stage. Too many are revivals or old hits as producers seek to reduce the risk of backers suffering crippling losses.
As a result, interest centres around the finances of the musical theatre rather than the stars and the writer-composer teams. Variety, a show-business weekly, used to be the only source of financial information on the incoming, on-going and out-going musicals.
Today the money troubles of shows are reported in the tabloids, and readers of a gossipy weekly column in the New York Times can learn, for instance, that a prize-winning Gershwin pastiche Crazy for You, took 725 performances to repay its investors their $8.3 million; that Miss Saigon got back its $10 million in less than half that time; and that The Will Rogers Follies did not recoup its original cost during its long Broadway run.
Such daunting statistics strike fear into the hearts of producers and investors alike. Courageous impresarios still exist, even on a Broadway strewn with lavish theatre marquees announcing that shows have closed (or which never arrived) and shuttered glass doors that display ticket refund information.
But this season, more money seems to be being invested in revivals or in imports of proven material than in new, original shows.
Exercise. 1 Is something's or someone's heyday a period when they boom? 2 Is a pastiche a kind of a) parody, b) fruit, or c) dessert? 3 If you recoup the cost of something, do you get back the money you invested? 4 If something is daunting, does it inspire hope and confidence? 5 Courageous means b_____ . 6 A marquee in this context is a kind of tent put up in front of a theatre to advertise a show and to sell tickets. If Broadway is 'strewn' with marquees, are there a lot of them? 7 If material is proven, has it been tried and tested?