lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016

Listening test: Shakespeare, my hero

Listen to two friends talking about Shakespeare and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence.

1 Melissa
A. has a degree in English studies.
B. has taken part in Shakespearean performances.
C. knows Shakespeare well.

2 Saying Macbeth
A. is preferable to saying ‘the Scottish play’.
B. might make you do silly things if you’re an actor.
C. will usually bring you bad luck.

3 Melissa enjoys Macbeth because
A. it is fast-moving.
B. it is less violent than other tragedies.
C. it is not as profound as other plays.

4 Melissa
A. used to be a teacher before becoming an actor.
B. has played the role of Lady Macbeth
C. says Shakespeare is boring for children.

5 In Melissa’s opinion (…) to remember the lines.
A. actors usually have problems
B. plays with rhyme and rhythm make it easier
C. knowing what you’re saying is key

6 For actors interpreting Shakespeare
A. is always a challenge.
B. is only motivating if they belong to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
C. represents the most successful point of their career.

7 Shakespeare is relevant today
A. because human nature hasn’t changed.
B. despite the fact people have changed.
C. the world’s problems are similar to those in Shakespeare’s times.

Hello, again, Melissa.
What about historical heroes for you… from Britain?
I’d have to say William Shakespeare.
Definitely. Studied a lot at school and at university and I’ve seen performances obviously. But I just think it’s…
What’s your favourite play?
Macbeth, I think.
Well, …
Ah, you’re not meant to say Macbeth!
Oh, the Scottish play.
The Scottish play.
Bad luck, isn’t it, is to say it.
Well, only if you are in a theatre, I think.
And lots of actors are very superstitious about it and may have all these techniques if you say you have to run round the theatre three times or something to cancel the bad luck.
Ok. And, yes, so why, why is that your favourite?
Well, it’s very action-packed, more than the others. I don’t know, that sounds strange when talking about Shakespeare because people think it’s dry and deep…
A bit car-chase.
Yeah, explosions and all sorts… Yeah, it’s quite violent, a lot of the tragedies are quite violent, but it’s sort of got a bit of everything. There’s like the light relief, a bit of comedy, occasionally, so it’s not too much doom and gloom.
Something for everyone.
Yeah, absolutely, a bit with the dong.
Hold on. Weren’t you a bit of a thesp before you were a teacher?
I was, yes, I did a bit of Shakespeare.
Enthralled of the boards.
I did, yes, or tried to.
And you did Shakespeare in plays?
Yes, yeah. I worked with a company who did, well, performed Shakespeare plays in schools, in primary schools around England.
And did the kids get it? Did they understand it?
Yes, absolutely, yeah, yeah, because we didn’t do just the whole play straight with nothing else, because that’s a bit boring for children. We kind of stopped and talked about what was gonna happen next and the characters…
So did you actually do Macbeth?
Yes, yes, we did Macbeth…
So were you Lady Macbeth ouch damned spot?
I unfortunately wasn’t. I’d love to do that scene because it’s fantastic, who doesn’t want to go mad on stage…
… and just run around and scream and all the crazy things she does, it’s brilliant. But I, no, unfortunately I wasn’t Lady Macbeth.
Ok… and what, what were you then?
I was the narrator kind of person. I kind of got the kids involved, they got up and did some lines and…
Oh, really?
… helped them understand what was happening, and things like that I’d say.
And something I’ve always wanted to ask actually for someone who is a Shakespearean actor.
Oh, that is me yes.
How do you remember all those lines? What’s the system?
Well, I suppose everyone has their own system, I don’t think there’s one way, but they’re quite easy to remember in terms of… they rhyme for a start and there’s a regular pattern like a rhythmic, a regular rhythm so you can follow to help yourself as well. And if you understand what you’re saying and why, then it’s natural to say it, so it becomes part of… the emotions.
Ok, and as a thespian, a thespian, do… is Shakespeare the zenith of the acting world?
I guess it is, yeah, it’s like the pinnacle of everybody’s ambitions, especially like working with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford it’s, yeah, it’s very important for a lot of people and rightly so, I think.
And do you think the… ok it’s in all the English, but what about the themes in Shakespearean plays, are they actually relevant anymore?
Oh, yeah, I think so. I mean, have humans really changed that much in the last four hundred years in terms of…
I’ve changed in the last five minutes.
That’s just because you’re a fashion god but like emotionally I don’t think human beings have changed, the world we live in has changed enormously but in terms of our relationships with each other, the things we want, our ambitions, our dark sides, our…
So they are timeless universal themes, eternal truths.
Absolutely, yes, that’s a good way to describe it, yeah.

1C 2B 3A 4C 5C 6C 7A