Congratulations on passing your exam Antonio! It must be a very nice feeling to have your summer holidays and a World Cup final to look forward to.
Thanks for your picture of the Globe theatre in London. How wonderful to see Macbeth performed there.
My son (age 11) is preparing to put on Macbeth with his class at school next week. The play has been abridged (shortened) but the language is still the original Elizabethan English. My son is both a soldier and a narrator and for a number of weeks now has been muttering his lines: 'the soldiers advance and, with swords and axes, cripple the trees, leaving white wounds like dead men's faces.'
Saying the word 'Macbeth' is another thing that is considered unlucky in English theatre. Instead, superstitious theatre people say 'the Scottish play' and refer to Lady Macbeth as 'Lady M'. It's interesting to hear that Italian theatres are superstitious places too!
One very small suggestion, before I try and answer your question about the use of the past perfect continuous/progressive. You say that you '...hadn't seen a Shakespeare's work in a live performance before...'. 'Shakespeare' (noun) is made into a adjective by adding the ending '-ean' (minus the 'e') to make 'Shakespearean'. This 'ean' ending can be added to other names to mean 'of or like the person'. My dictionary gives 'Mozartean' as an example, meaning music that was either composed by Mozart or sounds like music by him. However, more natural sounding than 'a Shakespearean work' or ' a work by Shakespeare', is to say simply, 'I hadn't seen Shakespeare performed live before...'. We can use a famous person's name in this way to mean 'their work'. 'I like Mozart', for example, means that you like the work, not the man!!
On to your question about the past perfect continuous (you will have seen that some grammar books use 'progressive' instead of 'continuous').... In general, the difference between the continuous and simple aspects are:
continuous = used to talk about a repeated or temporary or continuous/extended action. Also, actions that continued up to a moment in the past we are thinking about, or until shortly before.
simple = used to talk about a single or permanent or completed action.
(NB: some verbs are not normally used in the continuous, for example 'know'.)
The difference in meaning between a past perfect continuous verb and one in the past perfect simple is often very small. Both forms are often possible in the same situation, with only a slight difference in emphasis.
'This morning I realised I hadn't eaten for 20 hours' (simple)...the meaning of 'hadn't eaten' is 'no food for 20 hours'; this is a 'single action/event of NO EATING'
'This morning I realised I hadn't been eating for 20 hours' (continuous) sounds like it means that you THOUGHT you HAD been eating for 20 hours (non-stop/ repeatedly) but when you woke up, you relealised you HADN'T. Perhaps you just dreamed about eating non-stop! The important thing here is that the use of the continuous aspect suggests repetition of the action, which is unlikely in this situation where there is simply NO EATING.
My goodness! I will check with my colleagues at work tomorrow to see whether they have anything to add to this explanation and let you know!
How does the way the simple and continuous aspects work in English compare to Italian?
Finally, another thing my sister told me about theatre language is that, in the past, the people who worked backstage were often out-of-work sailors. The sailors' skills with ropes (learnt on their ships) were very useful to help 'fly' scenery and actors on to the stage. As a result of this connection between ships and theatre, many of the words used today to describe backstage equipment and tasks are nautical - from the sea. Examples are the technical staff of a theatre (the crew), the stage (deck) and the ropes (rigging). There are lots more!
Hope you have another good day tomorrow. See you then.
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