–   2002


(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)


After Julia had made up her mind to that she was glad. The prospect of getting away from the misery that tormented her at once made it easier to bear. The notices were put up; Michael collected his cast for the revival and started rehearsals. It amused Julia to sit idly in a stall and watch the actress who had been engaged rehearse the part which she had played herself some years before. She had never lost the thrill it gave her when she first went on the stage to sit in the darkened playhouse, under dust-sheets, and see the characters grow in the actors’ hands. Merely to be inside a theatre rested her; nowhere was she so happy. Watching the rehearsals she was able to relax so that when at night she had her own performance to give she felt fresh. She realized that all Michael had said was true. She took hold of herself. Thrusting her private emotion into the background and thus getting the character under control, she managed once more to play with her accustomed virtuosity. Her acting ceased to be a means by which she gave release to her feelings and was again the manifestation of her creative instinct. She got a quiet exhilaration out of thus recovering mastery over her medium. It gave her a sense of power and of liberation.
But the triumphant effort she made took it out of her, and when she was not in the theatre she felt listless and discouraged. She lost her exuberant vitality. A new humility overcame her. She had a feeling that her day was done. She sighed as she told herself that nobody wanted her any more. Michael suggested that she should go to Vienna to be near Roger, and she would have liked that, but she shook her head.
“I should only cramp his style.”
She was afraid he would find her a bore. He was enjoying himself and she would only be in the way. She could not bear the thought that he would find it an irksome duty to take her here and there and occasionally have l’uncheon or dinner with her. It was only natural that he should have more fun with the friends of his own age that he had made. She decided to go and stay with her mother. Mrs Lambert – Madame de Lambert, as Michael insisted on calling her – had lived for many years now with her sister, Madame Falloux, at St Malo. She spent a few days every year in London with Julia, but this year had not been well enough to come. She was an old lady, well over seventy, and Julia knew that it would be a great joy for her to have her daughter on a long visit. Who cared about an English actress in Vienna? She wouldn’t be anyone there. In St Malo she would be something of a figure, and it would be fun for the two old women to be able to show her off to their friends.
“Ma fille, la plus grande actrice d’Angleterre,” and all that sort of thing.

W. S. MAUGHAM, Theatre, Penguin Books, 1967, pp. 174-175




1. What was Michael’s profession? Give reasons for your answer.
2. What was Julia’s profession?
3. What was her relationship to the theatre?
4. Describe Julia’s personal qualities and changing states of mind.
5. List all the terms and expressions referring to acting and the theatre.
6. Explain the meaning of the sentence “She had a feeling that her day was done”.
7. Explain the meaning of the pronoun “it” in the sentence “But the triumphant effort she made took it out of her”.
8. List all the terms representing emotions in the text.
9. Find the family relations in the story.

SUMMARIZE the content of the passage.

COMPOSITION: Write about your experience as a theatre goer or film viewer.
Alternatively, invent a completion of the story. For example, imagine that Julia decided, instead, to accept Michael’s suggestion.
Durata massima della prova: 6 ore.
È consentito l’uso dei dizionari monolingue e bilingue.
Non è consentito lasciare l’Istituto prima che siano trascorse 3 ore dalla dettatura del tema