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.
"Enjoyable all-cast performance"
A new recording of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece, starring Calista Flockhart. Nora Helmer has everything a young housewife could want: beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a bright future. But when a carelessly buried secret rises from the past, Nora's well-calibrated domestic ideal starts to crumble. Ibsen's play is as fresh today as it was when it first stormed the stages of 19th-century Europe.
Among the many "how-to" playwriting books that have appeared over the years, there have been few that attempt to analyze the mysteries of play construction. Lajos Egri's classic, The Art of Dramatic Writing, does just that, with instruction that can be applied equally well to a short story, novel, or screenplay. Examining a play from the inside out, Egri starts with the heart of any drama: its characters. All good dramatic writing hinges on people and their relationships.
The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection, brings Julius Caesar to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.
"Reliving the past"
The most iconic love story of all time, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an epic-scale tragedy of desire and revenge. Despite the bitter rivalry that exists between their families, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet have fallen madly in love. But when the long-running rivalry boils over into murder, the young couple must embark on a dangerous and deadly mission to preserve their love at any cost. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Calista Flockhart as Juliet.
"Dramatized drama at its best..."
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.
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. This audio also includes a chilling dramatization of Wilde's sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Six phenomenally sophisticated Noël Coward comedies: Fallen Angels, Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Blithe Spirit, Present Laughter.
"Bravo Mr. Coward"
The four great comedies of Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were all written at the height of the controversial Irish author's powers in his last, doomed decade, the 1890s.
"Terrific Narration! Loved the Narrator!"
Here, envision theatrical London as it existed in Shakespeare’s time. First, consider Shakespeare’s fundamental intent to “hold the mirror up to nature” - to imitate the living world. Then learn about the colorful milieu of Elizabethan theater; its conventions of physical space, scenery, and costumes; and how the playwright created theatrical “reality” through language.
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.
"Impressive Collection of Shaw"
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.
"Great reader bring characters to life"
In Sophocles' tragedy, Oedipus discovers that he has been caught in his terrible destiny, unknowingly murdering his father and marrying his mother.
The body of Polynices, Antigone's brother, has been ordered to remain unburied by Creon, the new king of Thebes. Antigone defies the law, sealing her fate. Originally produced in Paris during the Nazi occupation, Anouilh's Antigone was seen by the French as theatre resistance and by Germans as an affirmation of authority.
"A classic is given a fabulous update!"
BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.
"Come...bid me do anything for thee."
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.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars"
Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.
"Wonderfully entertaining ear-candy"
Shakespeare's Othello is one of his finest and most famous tragedies. This highly acclaimed performance, which ran between November 2007 and February 2008 at the Donmar Warehouse in London, features Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Moor Othello, Ewan McGregor as the scheming Iago, and Kelly Reilly as the gentle Desdemona. This recording features music written specifically for the stage production which enjoyed huge success - each performance was a sell-out.
"Goats and Monkeys!"
The skies over ancient Rome blaze with terrifying portents, and soothsayers warn Julius Caesar of approaching doom. As conspiracy swirls through the city, Shakespeare explores the deep repercussions of political murder on the human heart. A classic tale of duplicity, betrayal and murder, masterfully performed by an all-star, all-American cast in this BBC co-production.
"Hard to understand using #4 Audio"
Hedda Gabler, the daughter of a deceased general, marries dull George Tesman and foresees a life of middle-class tedium stretching ahead when they return from their honeymoon. Increasingly she is drawn into the clutches of her admirer, Judge Brack, who seeks to establish a ménage à trois. Then the brilliant but dissolute Eilert Lovborg, a former flame, arrives to rival her husband for an academic post.
The head of the household, Pancracio, is about to leave for a four-day trip and his wife Leonarda appears to be deeply saddened by his departure. In reality, Leonarda is not the least bit sad by her husband's absence. In fact, she eagerly awaits the times he is away so that she may entertain guests.
The Importance of Being Earnest is a play written by the renowned playwright and author, Oscar Wilde. It premiered in London on Valentines Day, 1895, and was an instant success. With The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde accomplished what he'd set out to do, which was to make light of the humorous behavior of British high society.
Richard II is dangerously out of touch with his kingdom. He wastes money, raises taxes to support his lavish lifestyle, plays favorites, and cares more about his vanity than the common good. When Henry Bolingbroke - father of the future Henry V - challenges Richard for the throne, it's a fight the king can't win. But in losing his crown he gains far greater things: his humanity and his soul.
A Woman of No Importance takes place in a 24-hour period during a house party hosted by Lady Hunstanton at her country estate. The upper echelons of English society mix, mingle and flirt, including Lady Caroline Pontefract (who is on her fourth husband), the witty and ironic Mrs. Allonby and the dandyish Lord Illingworth. Wilde balances these worldly characters with a visiting young American woman, Hester Worsley.
There is a complicated relationship between African-Americans and Shakespeare. Long a symbol for elite white culture, Shakespeare was used in classroom and community to maintain barriers. Producer Richard Paul talks to Shakespeare historians from the Folger Shakespeare Theater and looks at minstrel show parodies of Shakespeare, color-blind casting of Shakespeare and how African-Americans are interpreting Shakespeare through their own experience.
Euripides (c. 480-406 B.C.E.) is the author of eighteen extant plays and many more only surviving in fragments. He is the youngest of the three great Athenian tragedians with Aeschylus and Sophocles. Hippolytus, bastard son of Theseus and the Amazon Hippolyta, has sworn chaste allegiance to the goddess Artemis, thus severely offending the goddess Aphrodite by failing to revere her. Aphrodite swears revenge and promises that he will die before the day is done, taking with him Queen Phaedra, wife of Theseus.
Steven Adler examines the dynamic life and workings of the theatre company responsible for some of the world's most compelling performances and influential productions of the last 40 years, including Marat/Sade, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Misérables, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Nicholas Nickleby.