GETTING TO KNOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE is a fascinating and friendly original audio biography. More like a documentary than a book on tape, GETTING TO KNOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE sheds new light on the world's most famous playwright by featuring world-renowned experts speaking in their own words, a variety of compelling musical selections, a dramatic film clip and discreet sound effects. You'll discover how approachable and inspirational the Bard can be. (And why is he called the BARD anyway?) You've never heard anything like it on audio, and you'll never think of Shakespeare the same way again.
The program's narration by Fred Child, with his friendly and engaging voice, is a refreshing departure from the upper-crust, professorial narrations so often associated with Shakespeare.
The program features a unique compilation of fascinating perspectives from internationally prominent Shakespeare scholars and actors spanning three countries, all speaking in their own words, expressing their individual insights and passions.
You'll hear how this middle-class man--the son of a glove-maker, who didn't even attend university--would come to write some of the most cherished words in the English language. Learn about the poet's interesting childhood, his youthful indiscretions, his life in the cut-throat Elizabethan entertainment world, his mysterious death and his controversial last will and testament. Find out why going to the theater in Shakespeare's time was considered immoral. Did Shakespeare despise his wife? Was Shakespeare gay? Is Shakespeare the real author of the plays?
The Shakespeare scholars and actors featured in GETTING TO KNOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE are:
JOHN ANDREWS, President of The Shakespeare Guild in Washington, D.C.
PETER HOLLAND, Director of The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon
PARK HONAN, Professor Emeritus at the University of Leeds
BARRY KRAFT, Dramaturg at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
JILL LEVENSON, Professor at the University of Toronto
PENNY METROPULOS, Associate Artistic Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
TINA PACKER, Founder and Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts
ROGER PRINGLE, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon
PHYLLIS RACKIN, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania
STANLEY WELLS, Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon and General Editor of The Oxford Shakespeare
SAMUEL WEST, Actor portraying Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, Stratford and Newcastle
In addition to his biography, short passages from some of the poet's most influential speeches are woven into the tapestry of his own life. Excerpts from ROMEO AND JULIET, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, HAMLET, THE TEMPEST and a sonnet are performed by veteran Shakespearean actors, both American and British. You'll also get to hear a stirring performance by Kenneth Branagh from his hit 1989 film HENRY V.
Many of the plays' short passages are presented with music for added drama. In fact, no other spoken word audio has nearly the variety of music contained in GETTING TO KNOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Not only does Elizabethan music performed by the Folger Consort in Washington, D.C. set the stage for the playwright's era, but a variety of both classical and contemporary pieces adds drama and levity to his life story. Tchaikovsky's ROMEO AND JULIET is a natural backdrop to the short segment on the play that was the composer's inspiration. Tchaikovsky's SERENADE FOR STRINGS seems a perfect fit for the dramatic conclusion in which the most often-quoted line from English literature is recited by British, French, German, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish actors. So things don't get too serious, BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE from Cole Porter's musical KISS ME KATE may leave you with a smile.
There has never been an easier, more entertaining way to experience the life and world of the word's most popular author.