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B) Make up dialogues discussing the points above

VIII. a) Supply articles where necessary:

Chekhov's play "... Sea-gull" was first staged in ... Alexan-drinsky 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?

IX. a) Give a free translation of the following passage. Make use of the English phrases given at the end:

Обстоятельства, при которых ставилась «Чайка», были сложны и тяжелы. Дело в том, что Антон Павлович Чехов серьезно забо­лел. У него произошло осложнение туберкулезного процесса. При этом душевное состояние его было таково, что он не перенес бы вторичного провала «Чайки», подобного тому, какой произошел при первой ее постановке в Петербурге. Неуспех спектакля мог оказаться гибельным для самого писателя. Об этом нас предупреж­дала его до слез взволнованная сестра Мария Павловна, умоляв­шая нас об отмене спектакля. Между тем, он был нам до зарезу необходим, так как материальные дела театра шли плохо и для поднятия сборов требовалась новая постановка. Предоставляю чи­тателю судить о том состоянии, с которым мы, артисты, выходили играть пьесу на премьере, собравшей далеко не полный зал. Стоя на сцене, мы прислушивались к внутреннему голосу, который шептал нам: «Играйте хорошо, великолепно, добейтесь успеха, триумфа. А если вы его не добьетесь, то знайте, что по получении телеграммы любимый вами писатель умрет, казненный вашими руками. Вы станете его палачами».

Как мы играли — не помню. Первый акт кончился при гробо­вом молчании зрительного зала. Одна из артисток упала в обмо­рок, я сам едва держался на ногах от отчаяния. Но вдруг, после долгой паузы, в публике поднялся рёв, треск, бешеные аплодис­менты. Занавес пошел ... раздвинулся ... опять задвинулся, а мы стояли, как обалделые. Потом снова рев ... и снова занавес ... Мы все стояли неподвижно, не соображая, что нам надо раскланивать­ся. Наконец, мы почувствовали успех и, неимоверно взволнован­ные, стали обнимать друг друга. М. А. Лялиной, которая играла Машу и своими заключительными словами пробила лед в сердцах зрителей, мы устроили овацию. Успех рос с каждым актом и окон­чился триумфом. Чехову была послана подробная телеграмма.

(Станиславский К. С. Моя жизнь в искусстве)

Use the following:

the circumstances ... were complicated and painful, his deep depression, he might have not survived another failure, implored us to cancel the performance, we badly needed it, to raise the box office returns, the inner voice, murdered by your own hands, the first act concluded amid death-like si­lence, to faint, I was on my last legs, there was an uproar, a crash, a storm of applause, the curtain went up ... then down again, we were standing stunned, we were supposed to take the curtain-calls, melted the ice, to cheer, each act height­ened the success.

b) What can you say about the significance of the event described above for the history of Russian and world theatre?

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.

O.: 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)

b) Try your hand at teaching:

A. Preparation. Think of interesting questions on Sir Lau­rence Olivier's interview.

B. Work in class. Make your friends answer your ques­tions.

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