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Drama & Poetry

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Michael

Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States

I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

HELPFUL VOTES
2556
ratings
REVIEWS
1358
368
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
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7
  • "Impressive Collection of Shaw"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hesitated getting a long collection of plays in audio, concerned it might be too dry or boring. This collection of eight Shaw plays was performed wonderfully and was a joy to listen to. It turns out a collection of great plays is a really nice choice for a long drive with the family. These plays are still witty and penetrating. The casting is excellent with different enough voices to allow the characters to be clear. There are a few cases of stage-craft that you lose in audio-only; nevertheless the experience is well worth the time. This was the first collection of audible plays I have ordered, but having enjoyed it so much, I just ordered several more collections from the same theater company.

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    The George Bernard Shaw Collection

    • ORIGINAL (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By George Bernard Shaw
    • Narrated By Shirley Knight, Anne Heche, JoBeth Williams, and others
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Eight of George Bernard Shaw's most memorable plays in one splendid collection: Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arms and the Man, Candida, The Devil’s Disciple, Major Barbara, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Misalliance, and Pygmalion.

    Michael says: "Impressive Collection of Shaw"
  • "A Great Wilde Collection"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a collection of five live performances of Oscar Wilde plays. All of these were wonderful. My favorites were Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. The Picture of Dorian Gray was not really an Oscar Wilde play but an adaptation of the novel which used lines dialog from other Wilde plays, which was only disappointing because of just having heard the identical lines in the other, preceding plays. This was the best adaptation of Dorian Gray that I have either seen or heard. The performances are very good and the writing is both funny and engaging. This is one of the best collections of plays I have listened to.

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    The Oscar Wilde Collection

    • ORIGINAL (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Jacqueline Bisset, Alfred Molina, and others
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (45)

    Four classic comedies from one of the wittiest playwrights in Western literature: Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, all featuring star-studded casts with the likes of Jacqueline Bisset, Miriam Margolyes, James Marsters, Alfred Molina, Roger Rees, Yeardley Smith, Eric Stoltz, and many more. Also includes a chilling dramatization of Wilde’s sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    Sandy says: "Good Collection"
  • "Two great plays and a bunch that ar..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall this was a wonderfully performed set of Noel Coward plays. I have listened to a number of plays on Audible and LA Theater Works knows how to produce plays for audio. This set of plays has a couple of great plays, several pleasant plays, and a couple of short plays that are witty, but not very interesting. My favorites of this set of plays were Design For Living and Blithe Spirit, both are first rate plays and excellent performances. These recordings really gave me the feeling of experiencing a live performance.

    Fallen Angels is not a very deep play, but was wonderfully acted and quite funny. Hay Fever was even lighter, and my least favorite of the full plays in this set, nevertheless it was still well produced and worth the listen.

    The plot of Private Lives is rather thin but the characters and dialog are both well written and well acted. Present Laughter is funny and has a bit of depth that makes it interesting.

    There were two short plays Design for Rehearsing which is likely enjoyable if you have actually performed as an actor in Design for Living and Age Cannot Wither which has some wit but otherwise seems to be a one trick pony.

    Although I could take or leave a bunch of these plays, the two great plays and a few others very good plays along with the uniformly good production values made this recording well worth the listen.

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    The Noël Coward Collection

    • ORIGINAL (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Noël Coward
    • Narrated By Annette Bening, Joe Mantegna, Eric Stoltz, and others
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    Six phenomenally sophisticated Noël Coward comedies: Fallen Angels, Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Blithe Spirit, Present Laughter.

    Anthony says: "Bravo Mr. Coward"
  1. The George Bernard Shaw C...
  2. The Oscar Wilde Collection
  3. The Noël Coward Collection
  4. .

A Peek at M. W. Roberts's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
24
 
6 REVIEWS / 26 ratings 1 Followers / Following 0
 
M. W. Roberts's greatest hits:
  • Othello (Dramatized)

    "Goats and Monkeys!"

    Overall

    According to an article I read on the live performance of this play in London, some critics gave Ejiofor positive reviews while McGregor and Reilly did not fare as well. Whip me such foolish critics! Others there are who recognize McGregor's rendition of Honest Iago as nearly flawless; who can see that he pulls off the relentlessly ruminative diabolical genius with precision. And such a one do I profess myself. I've listened to many audible dramatizations of Shakespeare, and this one is probably the best.

  • Hamlet

    "The best of the audible Hamlets"

    Overall

    My chief criterion in evaluating a dramatized performance of Shakespeare is that none of the lines are left out, save a few words here and there. Secondly, I also appreciate accurate sound effects, and a subtle "soundtrack," and a good overall recording quality. By all of these measurements this Naxos production of Hamlet scores well. The main problem is that, in a couple of scenes, Hamlet himself starts speaking way too fast for one to take in the lines. One might argue that this play is soooo long that, since this company has - quite justifiably - decided to remain loyal to Shakespeare's script, it only makes sense that they would have to hurry it up a bit. A few reviewers have failed to take the validity of this argument into account. The BBC Shakespeare productions are invariably bad about leaving out large chunks of important dialog. Any geek like you or me who listens to audible dramatizations of Shakespeare will insist on every verse being spoken.

  • Arcadia

    "Great production"

    Overall

    This audible performance of Arcadia is very well acted and produced. My chief criteria for these audible plays are: (1) How closely does the performance stick to the script - i.e. have they omitted a significant portion of the dialog? (2) Sound quality: does it sound like they recorded a live stage performance with a microphone sitting on a corner of the stage, or was it recorded specifically for a listening audience? And do they use sound effects well?

    On both accounts this is a high-quality production. It is also a charming, funny and intelligent play.

  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: King Lear (Dramatized)

    "A Double Tragedy"

    Overall

    Like the other BBC Radio Shakespeare plays I've purchased (7 or so), the sound quality, production, acting and music are brilliant. In particular, William Houston's performance of Edmund is fantastic. However, as always, BBC omits very large portions of the dialog - some of the best lines - and this is so unacceptable and maddening. Let's consider what kind of person listens to audio dramatizations of Shakespeare: would any of us accept anything less than a strict adherence to Shakespeare's script?

David

David Halifax, NS, Canada 01-16-11 Member Since 2010
HELPFUL VOTES
180
ratings
REVIEWS
56
54
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
10
0
  • "Perfect"

    7 of 7 helpful votes

    No-one can beat Sir Ian at this kind of thing. He's probably one of the greatest performers of classical text. He doesn't just recite the verse, he speaks it. He speaks every sentence with immaculately chosen intonations that communicate meaning and emotion perfectly. I can't imagine a better reader to bring out the depth and magic of Homer.

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    The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (371)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"

What's Trending in Drama & Poetry:

  • 4.8 (32 ratings)

    Neat

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 41 mins)
    • By Charlayne Woodard
    • Narrated By Charlayne Woodard
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    In Neat, writer/performer Charlayne Woodard shares her memories of growing up black in America in the '60s and '70s. The play focuses around the life of Woodard's Aunt Beneatha, Neat, who was mistakenly fed camphor oil as a baby, resulting in permanent brain damage. Stories of family and of time spent with Neat are weaved together with touching results.

    Mary Robins says: "A Must Read"
  • 4.8 (16 ratings)

    What Teachers Make

    • NONE (2 mins)
    • By Taylor Mali
    • Narrated By Taylor Mali
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    The evolution of Taylor Mali the poet could be measured in the number of people his poetry has directly inspired to be teachers. Or the increasing cast of high school and college-age students who perform his words in forensic competitions. This is Taylor in his element: performing in front of live and writhing audiences demanding and receiving all the rough, raw, and authentic passion of Taylor Mali's poetry.

    Katherine says: "Inspiring"
  • 4.9 (15 ratings)

    The Lady in the Van (Dramatised)

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 32 mins)
    • By Alan Bennett
    • Narrated By Maggie Smith, Adrian Scarborough
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    In the 1970s, an eccentric old lady called Miss Shepherd lives in an old caravan opposite Bennett's house in Camden. That is until new parking regulations come into force - and he suggests moving the van onto his driveway...

    PETER says: "Hillarious"
  • 4.9 (10 ratings)

    Hughes Views of the Blues: Langston Hughes' Simple Stories

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Langston Hughes
    • Narrated By Nap Turner
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Langston Hughes' character Jesse B. Simple comes to life in 12 great performances by Nap "Don't Forget the Blues" Turner in Hughes Views of the Blues, from Right on Rhythm. This is a release that belongs in every library and in every American literature curriculum.

    stella says: "I know Jess B. Simple... We all do!"
  •  
  • 4.8 (10 ratings)

    The Great Poets: Gerard Manley Hopkins

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 1 min)
    • By Gerard Manley Hopkins
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    A collection of the best-known poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). One of the Victorian era's greatest writers, Hopkins' reputation has continued to grow since his death. This collection includes "The Windhover", "The Caged Skylark", "Carrion Comfort", "Spring", and "Fall and Inversnaid".

    Robert says: "Excellent encounter with the poet."
  • 4.3 (539 ratings)

    The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (371)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
  • 4.3 (232 ratings)

    Beowulf

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Seamus Heaney
    • Narrated By Seamus Heaney
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (85)

    New York Times best seller and Whitebread Book of the Year, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio. Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.

    Gail says: "Would like the whole thing!"
  • 4.3 (222 ratings)

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (142)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Lisa says: "A wonderful production of a great play!"
  •  
  • 4.6 (171 ratings)

    Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, April 20, 2005

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Billy Collins
    • Narrated By Billy Collins
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    In this exclusive audio publishing event, Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate, shares an evening of his poetry in a benefit reading for WNYC, New York Public Radio. Often compared to Robert Frost, his poetry has been embraced by people of all ages and backgrounds, and his readings are most often standing room only.

    Melinda says: "Does Not Get Better Than This"
  • Twelve Angry Men

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 50 mins)
    • By Reginald Rose
    • Narrated By Dan Castellaneta, Hector Elizondo, Armin Shimerman
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (129)

    Over the course of a steamy and tense afternoon, 12 jurors deliberate the fate of a 19-year-old boy alleged to have murdered his own father. A seemingly open and shut case turns complicated, igniting passions and hidden prejudices.

    Emily says: "Excellent court room drama"
  • The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (371)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
  • The Crucible

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Arthur Miller
    • Narrated By Stacy Keach, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Begley, and others
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (98)

    In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town. In the ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor, The Crucible mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria in the 1950s.

    Thomas S says: "Dramatic Recording"
  • Sleepwalk with Me: Live

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 10 mins)
    • By Mike Birbiglia
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (87)

    This album is a recording of Mike Birbiglia’s Off-Broadway play Sleepwalk With Me, a comic memoir of true life events revolving around his life-threatening sleep disorder. Birbiglia weaves a story as compelling as it is hysterical. It’s a story of heartbreak and denial, of incidents and escalating accidents that culminate with a death-defying leap. On the Sleepwalk With Me Live! album, Birbiglia invites listeners to take this leap with him.

    Patrick says: "Hard to Sleepwalk While Laughing!"
  •  
  • Julius Caesar

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Andrew Buchan, Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (86)

    Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling Roman plays. The plot against Caesar and the infamous assassination scene make for unforgettable listening. Brutus, the true protagonist of the play, is mesmerizing in his psychological state of anguish, forced to choose between the bonds of friendship and his desire for patriotic justice.

    David says: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars"
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Tennessee Williams
    • Narrated By Rosemary Harris, James Farentino
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (46)

    Caedmon is proud to release this archival full-cast recording of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche DuBois arrives at her sister Stella's New Orleans apartment seeking refuge from a troubled past but her ethereal spirit irks Stella's husband, the loutish Stanley Kowalski. Crudely, relentlessly, he unmasks the lies and delusions that sustain Blanche, until her frail hold on reality is shockingly severed.

    B. Leddy says: "Excellent"
  • The Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By John Lithgow
    • Narrated By Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren, and others
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (93)

    John Lithgow has compiled an outstanding collection of memorable poems and has gathered his famous friends to read them. The wide variety of carefully selected poetry in this audiobook provides the perfect introduction to reel in those who are new to poetry, and for poetry lovers to experience beloved verses in a fresh, vivid way. Lithgow offers insightful and sometimes poignant commentary to accompany each poem. His essential criterion is that "each poem's light shines more brightly when read aloud".

    Scot says: "Thank You, JL"
  • Hamlet: Shakespeare Appreciated (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner, and others
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Stephen Elder, Paul Clayton
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (80)

    Experience Hamlet as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world. The unabridged drama is also presented without commentary.

    Shaun says: "Performance great; commentary lacking"
  •  
  • Pygmalion

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By George Bernard Shaw
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    A Cockney flower girl is transformed into a charming woman of the world by a professor of phonetics. This is the play that was later to be adapted as the musical, My Fair Lady.

  • Macbeth

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Joanne Whalley, Josh Cooke, and others
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (54)

    Infamously known as the cursed Scottish play, Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. When General Macbeth is foretold by three witches that he will one day be King of Scotland, Lady Macbeth convinces him to get rid of anyone who could stand in his way – including committing regicide. As Macbeth ascends to the throne through bloody murder, he becomes a tyrant consumed by fear and paranoia.

    Laura says: "All hail this Macbeth!"
  • Poetic License: 100 Poems - 100 Performers

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Emily Dickinson, e. e. cummings, William Wordsworth, and others
    • Narrated By Jason Alexander, Christine Baranski, Charles Busch, and others
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Why a poetry album? Easy answer: I love poetry. I love reading it. I love memorizing it. I love hearing great actors recite it. As the poet Mark Strand wrote, “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth / There is no happiness like mine / I have been eating poetry.” In the past, when I was full from eating, I have had the audacity to set poetry to music. But, on this audiobook, you will hear the music of the poems.

    Christine says: "100 poems -No table of contents!!"
  • Proof

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 33 mins)
    • By David Auburn
    • Narrated By Anne Heche, Jeremy Sisto, full cast
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (36)

    An enigmatic young woman. A manipulative sister. Their brilliant father. An unexpected suitor. One life-altering question. The search for the truth behind a mysterious mathematical proof is the perplexing problem in David Auburn's dynamic play. Winner of the 2001 Tony award for Best Play and the 200l Pulitzer Prize for drama.

    Robert says: "Excellent adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize play"
  • Wikipedia, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook Reflections: 25 Poems

    • UNABRIDGED (13 mins)
    • By Andrew Bushard
    • Narrated By Darby Croasdale
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia reign as today's top websites. Have we reflected enough on them? This work offers poetic reflections about the Internet and fame by exploring these five websites.

  • Mermaid

    • UNABRIDGED (19 mins)
    • By Mary Jade Monroe
    • Narrated By Melissa Leventhal
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Mermaid is a collection of poems inspired by the sea. Written with admiration for the aqua life, the classic book flows with a rippling cadence, imbued with the lore and romance invoked by the sea.

  • A Life In Rhyme: Life's Observations: Rhyming Verse and Story Poems, Volume 4

    • UNABRIDGED (42 mins)
    • By Jean Shaw
    • Narrated By Jean Shaw
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A Life In Rhyme - Life's Observations is the fourth book in a collection of rhyming story poems I've written over a period of years. None of them were initially written for book publication, but I have received such encouragement from friends and family about them, I've decided to compile the verses into four different titles. Book 4 introduces you to story poems I've written about events in my life and random observations, together with some of the rhyming verse included in the other books I've written.

  • That's Why It's Love

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 33 mins)
    • By Victor Loginov
    • Narrated By Victor Avdyushko, Alexander Degtyar, Yuri Fomichev, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    "Na to ona i ljubov'" - veselyj vodevil' pro ljubov' i ne tol'ko. Kaskady nedorazumenij, neurjadic, neozhidannye vzryvy strastej. V kolhoze proishodit chrezvychajnoe proisshestvie: krasavica-dojarka Lizka Gorlovaja, dlja togo, chtoby byt' krasivoj, umylas' parnym molokom. Obshhestvennost' byla vozmushhena. Ved' jeto vlijanie rastlennogo burzhuaznogo Zapada, gde zhenshhiny hotjat byt' krasivymi...

  •  
  • A Life In Rhyme - People Poems: Rhyming Verse and Story Poems, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Jean Shaw
    • Narrated By Jean Shaw
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    None of them were initially written for book publication, but I have received such encouragement from friends and family about them, I've decided to compile the verses into four different titles. Book 3 introduces you to friends and acquaintances and the story poems I've written for them for special events in their lives. I've changed the names of all the recipients, but not the actual poems I wrote for them.

  • Notes to an Actor

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Ron Marasco
    • Narrated By Ron Marasco
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    "Do you have any notes for me?" Actors always ask for notes on their performance, and they will take them from just about anyone. Ron Marasco's Notes to an Actor grew out of the actor's profession. In his years as an actor, scholar, and teacher of acting, Mr. Marasco found that most acting books were either outdated classics that were rarely read, or quasi-textbooks that actors only "skimmed." So he developed Notes to an Actor, a compact, user-friendly audiobook geared specifically to the way actors work.

  • A Life In Rhyme - My Family: Rhyming Verse and Story Rhymes

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Jean Shaw
    • Narrated By Jean Shaw
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A Life In Rhyme - My Family is the second book in a collection of rhyming story poems I've written over a period of years. None of them were initially written for book publication, but I have received such encouragement from friends and family about them, I've decided to compile the verses into four different titles.

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