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Shakespeare Scene 1

Stephen's got a job as an actor, and he and Ashlie go to the Globe Theatre in London to pick up his costume – and to find out about England's most famous writer, William Shakespeare.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.

Preparation

Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • Do you ever go to the theatre?
  • Have you ever been in a play?
  • Do you ever wear costumes? When and why?

Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they go to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Transcripts

Transcript

Ashlie: You are late!

Stephen: I’m sorry, Ashlie. I’ve got great news. I’ve been offered a real acting job.

Ashlie: Well, that’s fantastic. What’s the job?

Stephen: I’m going to be playing Shakespeare. His plays are amazing.

Ashlie: Oh Stephen, I’m so pleased, that is great news.

Stephen: I know. I’ve got to go and collect my costume from the Globe Theatre now. It’s just round the corner.

Ashlie: The Globe! That is where Shakespeare’s plays were performed in London. I have always wanted to go to the Globe. I’ll come with you.

Stephen: This is my big chance. Every actor wants to be in a Shakespeare play.

Ashlie: I can’t believe you got a proper job as an actor.

Stephen: Can’t believe it? Really?

Ashlie: No, honestly. It’s great. I’m really impressed.

Stephen: Well, I think theatre people can recognise real talent when they see it.

Ashlie: Real talent, eh?

Stephen: It’s all about characters. Shakespeare created great characters. Kings, princes, heroes like Hamlet. I’d make a great Hamlet. To be or not to be. That is the question.

Ashlie: To be or not to be – late. Come on Stephen, get a move on!

......

Stephen: Wow – this is amazing!

Ashlie: I know. Can you imagine life here in Shakespeare’s time?

Stephen: Yes – no mobile phones, no computers, no Facebook. How would we survive?

Tour Guide: Hello. Welcome to the Globe Theatre. This is where the tour begins.

Ashlie: Great.

Tour Guide: So the original Globe was built not far from here in the late 1500s. Shakespeare was one of the owners of the theatre and his plays were performed there for many years.

Ashlie: So what happened to the first Globe?

Tour Guide: The first Globe Theatre actually burnt down in 1613. It was during a performance of Henry VIII and a stage cannon accidentally set fire to the roof.

Tour Guide: OK, it’s this way to the costume exhibition.

Stephen: You can really get a sense of what history was like in a place like this. The whole world’s a stage and all men and women are mere players.

Ashlie: Come on, Stephen, you’re not on stage now. We’re going.

Stephen: Is this really what the actors would have worn?

Tour Guide: Yes, these are copies of traditional costumes as they would have been in Shakespeare’s day.

Ashlie: Can I ask a question? Did they have women in the acting troupe or was it just men?

Tour Guide: No, men and boys acted out all of the female roles so these costumes would all have been worn by men. OK, so moving on...

Ashlie: What’s wrong?

Stephen: I’m not really into history. I’m going to pick up my costume and I’ll see you later.

Ashlie: OK. See you in a bit.

......

Stephen: So, Ash, what do you think of this?

Ashlie: It’s fantastic. I love the hat.

Stephen: I know, it’s a pretty amazing costume. I must be playing a prince or a king or someone really important.

Ashlie: That’s great, Stephen. Maybe you have the lead role?

Stephen: That’s it – you’re right. The director must have seen my star qualities.

Ashlie: Star qualities, eh?

Stephen: Yeah. I was born to be a star. I’ve got so much talent!

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Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hello
(How would we survive)
(they would have been in Shakespeare’s day) .could you please explain the tense in those sentences

Hello fadaasiddig,

The verb forms here are examples of speculation. Both sentences have implied if-clauses:

How would we survive if we were alive in Shakespeare's time?

...these are copies of traditional costumes as they would have been if they had been made in Shakespeare’s day

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

(recognise real talent when they see it.)
What's (it) relate to
(How would we survive?)
What's the tense here

Helo fidaasiddig,

In this sentence 'it' refers to 'real talent':

The recognise real talent when they see real talent.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi, could you please explain to me, in preparation task, why is it "Do you ever go to the theatre?", "Do you ever wear costume?". I think it should have been present perfect tense here "Have you ever...?"

Hi quoc hung,

Both the present simple and present perfect can be used in this way. Using the present simple implies that perhaps you regularly do the action, whereas the present perfect asks about your life experience until now. I imagine there are quite a few people who go to the theatre regularly, though probably fewer who wear costumes regularly.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I like much go to the theatre and, until recently, I saw many theatrical performances in my city.
No, I haven't been in a play.

Hello,

I need audio/video listening materials. Can I download the audio or video contents?

Hello hameed,

I'm afraid that our videos are not available for legal reasons. All of our podcasts and other audio materials (e.g. Elementary Podcasts, Big City Small World), however, are available for free download. Many of our pages with audio also have the exercises in downloadable PDFs as well.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team