sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

Reading test: Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

Todays the literary world is commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. We would like to join this momentous occasion by making Shakespeare the topic of today's reading test.

The task is based on The Guardian's article Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary: 'man of Stratford' to be celebrated in 2016, by Maev Kennedy. Read this text and choose the best sentence (A - K) for each gap. Two of the sentences do not correspond to any of the blanks. 0 is an example.

A - has never been filled 
B - if his friends and fellow actors had not gathered together 
C - it is more a mount with a hole where the birthplace should be
D - North Korea is still holding out 
E - The world has not agreed with him 
F - to open as a permanent visitor attraction 
G - under which the writer is said to have sat and worked 
H - when Shakespeare and his fellow actors dismantled a theatre
I - where he died on 23 April, the same day as his birth 
J - where he lived and read and thought – 0 Example
K - which are all slightly different

The world shares him and London claims him, but Stratford-on-Avon intends to spend 2016 celebrating William Shakespeare as their man: the bard of Avon, born in the Warwickshire market town in 1564, and who died there 400 years ago.

Stratford remained hugely important throughout Shakespeare’s life, argues Paul Edmondson, the head of learning and research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. “People have seen Shakespeare as a Dick Whittington figure, who turns his back on Stratford and his family, goes to London to earn his fortune and only comes back to die,” he said. “[But Stratford is] where he bought land and property, where he kept his library, (0) … . We are going to spend the year re-emphasising the importance of Shakespeare, the man of Stratford.”

The 17th-century diarist, antiquarian and gossip John Aubrey, born 11 years after Shakespeare died, was at pains to point out there was nothing so very special about the bard. Aubrey, university educated unlike Shakespeare, said that he acted “exceedingly well” and that “his Playes took well”. (1) … . The anniversary of the death of the man from Stratford, the most famous and the most performed playwright in the world, will be marked across Britain and the globe.

Macbeth is about to open in Singapore, Romeo and Juliet in Brussels. Shakespeare’s Globe is completing the first world tour in the history of theatre, in which it has taken Hamlet to almost every country –(2) … . The production will arrive back in London for the anniversary weekend of 23-24 April. They are also creating a 37-screen pop-up cinema, one screen to showcase each of Shakespeare’s plays, along the South Bank.

For a man famous in his own lifetime there is little documentary evidence for Shakespeare’s life and times. The plays would scarcely have survived (3) … every scrap of every play they could find – drafts, prompt scripts, scribbled actors’ parts, and 17 plays not known in any other version – into the precious First Folio published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

Some of the most precious surviving documents will be gathered together in an exhibition at Somerset House in London, opening in February and jointly organised by the National Archives and King’s College London, including four of his six known signatures, (4) … .

The outgoing Globe director, Dominic Dromgoole, recently jokily claimed Shakespeare as a true Londoner – albeit conceding “some spurious claim” by Stratford-on Avon. Stratford, however, will be insisting that the town made and educated Shakespeare His old school room is being restored with a £1.4m Heritage Lottery grant, (5) … .

Shakespeare bought the splendid New Place, the second best house in the town, (6) … . “You don’t buy a house like New Place and not live there,” Paul Edmondson said. “The general public and many academics have consistently underestimated the importance of Stratford to Shakespeare.” Edmondson believes that after Shakespeare bought the house in 1597, all his thinking time was spent there, and that the late plays, including The Tempest, were at least planned in his library and probably written there.

Shakespeare’s house was demolished 300 years ago, and the house that replaced it, probably incorporating some of the original fabric, was flattened in 1759 by an irascible clergyman, Francis Gastrell, in a row over taxes. He had already cut down Shakespeare’s mulberry tree, (7) … , because he was irritated by all the tourists peering into his garden.

The gap in the Stratford streetscape (8) …, but a five-year archaeology project has peeled back the years, and the news that Shakespeare’s kitchen had been found in the partly surviving cellars went round the world. The whole site is being redisplayed for the anniversary, with the foundations marked and the garden restored.

“Without Stratford,” Edmondson said, “There would have been no Shakespeare.”

 Portrait of Shakespeare, 1598
Photograph: Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive/Corbis
from The Guardian

1E 2D 3B 4K 5F 6I 7G 8A