本次考试的文章是三篇新题，第一篇是关于英国剧院的发展史的，第二篇讲英国白蜡树的顶梢枯死这种疾病，第三篇是讲人类行为的。本次考试难度较大的配对题考查题量小，但是考生觉得难度大的选择题和list of headings题量占比却较大。部分考生反应第三篇来不及做，所以大家考试时还是要加强时间的把控。
题目：History of theaters in Britain
History of theaters in Britain
British theatre has a rich history, from playwrights like William Shakespeare to actors like Laurence Olivier. Today audiences still love to go to the theatre to be entertained and challenged, hearing ideas that may not be expressed anywhere else.
But it wasn't always like that. Initially theatre was used by the church and royalty to spread their ideas. Gradually it became a vehicle to make everyone's voice heard. So how did this come about?
During the upheaval of the medieval period the church used religious stories as a way of controlling and distracting the country.
Theatre essentially grew out of this religious storytelling. Entertaining the public became necessary especially after the trauma of the Black Death. Plays took the form of mystery cycles and miracle plays. Mystery cycles dramatised stories from the Bible, while miracle plays told stories about the lives of saints. Parishes created these plays in order to communicate moral lessons to society. Through these organised performances, the concept of theatre began to take root in Britain.After centuries of religious inspiration for theatre, Henry VIII banned all religious performances to prevent plays from spreading Catholicism. He had set up his own church – the Church of England – and demanded his people follow this faith instead. Post Reformation plays instead aimed to entertain influential people and foreign VIPs. Theatre flourished in the 16th Century and The Theatre, one of the first purpose- built playhouses, opened its doors in London in 1576.
After the English Civil War, theatres experienced more restrictions. King Charles II saw theatre as a way to establish control over the country. While in exile he saw how Louis XIV managed and controlled French theatre and Charles copied his approach by issuing royal patents to just two theatres. This restricted dramatic opportunity as only these two could perform serious drama and the remaining theatres had to perform comedy or melodrama instead. Patented theatre became known as legitimate theatre and non-patented theatre as illegitimate theatre. But progress was seen when Margaret Hughes became the first woman on stage in 1660.
Despite the restrictions of the royal patents, theatre began to satirise the government. In response politicians tightened theatrical censorship. Tipped over the edge by plays attempting to ridicule him, Robert Walpole, the first ever Prime Minister, introduced the 1737 Licensing Act. It gave the Lord Chamberlain – a senior government adviser - the power to stop plays being performed. With dramatic creativity effectively stifled, writers turned to novels or illegitimate theatre for creative freedom. Despite an amendment in 1843, the act remained in place and in use until 1968.
Ten years later, David Garrick’s theatrical innovations marked the point when actors, writers and other theatre makers began to take control. David Garrick was an actor and manager who introduced sweeping changes. Actors were subjected to new and intensive rehearsal techniques and audiences were discouraged from sitting on the stage, as the rich used to do. He was also a champion of Shakespeare and his debut performance on the London stage as Richard III made him an overnight star. Garrick was responsible for radical stylistic advances in acting. He brought more emotion and realism to the exaggerated expressions of the time.
In the Victorian era theatre's popularity meant the patent system no longer worked. So it was ended in 1843 allowing more opportunities in drama. TW Robertson was one playwright to benefit from this. He presented the audience with realistic sets, everyday stories and natural dialogue. His representations of domestic realism became known as ‘cup and saucer dramas’: one of his greatest successes was Caste, a play about rank and social classes. The end of the patent system allowed theatre to develop artistically. It set the stage for playwrights such as Oscar Wilde who like Robertson tended to focus on the lives of the privileged.
Interest in the arts grew in post-war Britain and audiences were keen to see stories that they identified with. ‘Kitchen sink’ dramas provided them. Almost a century on from Robertson’s naturalist plays, this new style of play, showed working class life in a level of detail that was still unusual. Men Should Weep by Ena Lamont Stewart premiered in 1947 and told a bleak tale of poverty in 1930s Glasgow. Also in the 1950s writers like John Osborne and Shelagh Delaney were acclaimed for the social realism of their work. The success of Lamont Stewart and Delaney helped pave the way for other women to make their voices heard on the stage.
During the 20th Century, more changes happened off stage when the role of the director became the key creative force. The notion of a directors’ theatre began in Europe and spread to Britain. Sir Peter Hall is one of Britain’s most celebrated directors. In 1955 he directed the first English language production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which cemented his reputation. His vision also created the blueprint for the Royal Shakespeare Company, a defining moment in British theatre history. Despite his creative innovations he was still restricted by the censorship laws.
By the swinging 60s, not only was the power of theatre in the hands of theatre makers, but it had begun to challenge authority.
Until it ended in 1968 theatres avoided the constraints of government censorship by trading as private clubs. The freedom this gave them allowed much more challenging and radical subject matter to be tackled. Plays such as Sartre’s Huis Clos – which was set in Hell and featured a homosexual character – were staged. One of the leading theatres of this movement was Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre.
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