Text 1.

Until recently, we hardly noticed that we are thoroughly surrounded by plastic. You might be surprised to learn that cars and planes are 50% plastic, whereas 60% of clothing is made out of polyester and nylon. When we add toys and packaging, then the extent of the plastic empire becomes all too clear. Indeed, it was an episode of the popular BBC nature series Blue Planet that proved to be a wake-up call for many. Footage of a turtle in plastic netting brought about an angry reaction. Over the next few days, politicians received a flood of emails from people who felt moved to take action. Now, decades after plastic came to dominate our lives, a worldwide revolt against it is finally under way.

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Text 2.

“Here’s your boarding pass. You have a thirty-minute connection wait in Vienna,” said the attendant at Heathrow Airport. That didn’t sound like much time to catch my flight to Romania, but on arriving in Vienna I somehow reached the boarding gate on time, only to discover that my large rucksack had not managed the same feat. I was going to trek for four days in some of the remotest mountains in Europe and I didn’t have time to wait for my luggage, so I decided to board the plane anyway. On arrival at my destination, I jumped into a rental car and found the nearest department store. I hurriedly grabbed some T-shirts, socks and other items of clothing as well as trekking poles, a tent and a somewhat small and flimsy rucksack. I hiked happily with my new gear for the next four days. I enjoyed the peace and quiet the countryside offered and occasionally entered into lively exchanges with shepherds about my baggage disaster. My heart was light and my backpack was even lighter. By the time I returned to the airport to be reunited with my old heavy backpack, I had learned a valuable lesson. Even if your bag has been left behind, all is not lost.

Na podstawie: Lonely Planet, November 2018

Text 3.

Robert Powell has acted in quite a number of Shakespeare’s plays. Today he has agreed to share some of his experiences with us. Robert, would you recommend acting to young people?
Most young people are frustrated by the fact that they don’t really know themselves, or that there are things about themselves that they don’t like. Well, you can use acting as a tool to try to overcome these personal issues. So if you are shy and find it hard to make friends or talk to people, on stage you can become someone completely different, someone extremely confident who enjoys being the centre of attention. And if you have an angry streak in you, you can use it in your acting to your advantage and in a way that turns your anger off in real life. On stage you have the opportunity to pretend to be someone else, and in doing so you can find out who you really are or who you want to be.

What advice can you give to people who are starting to perform in Shakespeare’s plays?
For most young people, taking on a part in one of Shakespeare’s plays is a real challenge. But really interesting things in life are sometimes demanding and the harder something is, the more satisfying the rewards can be. Whenever I worked on a Shakespeare sonnet or play for the first time, I didn’t understand everything either. I had to go through it many times in order to work out the meaning. I often referred to books by Shakespearean scholars, and all this took time. No professional actor would say that they look at a new Shakespearean text and it leaps off the page at them straightaway. But when you do eventually work everything out and start read it out loud during rehearsals, it is an extraordinary experience.

Have you had any difficult moments when performing Shakespeare?
Well, something unexpected happened when I was doing Hamlet a few years back. Two other actors, playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, were on a ramp up at the back of the stage while I was performing a fairly long and complicated monologue at the front. Suddenly I thought, “The audience aren’t listening to me.” When this happened again the following night, I started to wonder if it was somehow my fault. But then I looked around and noticed that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were fooling around at the back of the stage. I ran up to them, got hold of the two actors by the scruff of their necks, and then proceeded to deliver the rest of my monologue. As I was the prince, they couldn’t do anything about it. They didn’t fool around again, either!

And the last question. There must have been some absolutely magical moments. Could you share one or two of them with us?
The best of times is undoubtedly when you’re delivering a well-known monologue and you know that you have the audience in the palm of your hand. 11,000 theatregoers, all completely silent, holding their breath and waiting for the next line. It’s so impactful, being on stage, it really is. Much more so than taking part in a film production.

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