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Erik

Member Since 2009

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 132 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • Modern British Drama

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Saccio
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Waiting for Godot. The Importance of Being Earnest. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Since Shakespeare's time, no period has produced more brilliant and various theatrical dramas in Great Britain than in the past 100 years. Professor Saccio has selected the major British playwrights of the past century to cover Wilde, Shaw, Coward, Beckett, Osborne, Pinter, Stoppard, Churchill, and Hare.

    Erik says: "Impressive introduction to Modern British Drama"
    "Impressive introduction to Modern British Drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Professor Saccio provides the social background of the plays in an illuminating way without losing focus from the dramatic pieces themselves. I especially liked the way he explained how the "comedy of manners" developed over time and how the various playwrights had adopted it to the transformations of British social environment over the 20th century.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to plenty of the Great Courses Series as well as Modern Scholar titles here on audible, and this is definitely among the best ones. I am very interested in literature but have never delved deeper intro drama before, and Professor Saccio was able to provide me with great insight into the art of theater. I would also say there is enough here to interest more experienced theater-goers; the speaker introduces the playwright and plays, gives his own interpretations, but never simplifies and often takes many different perspectives into consideration before drawing any conclusions. The course really piqued my interest and made me want to go to Britain to see all these wonderful plays. I had never heard of Tom Stoppard before, for instance, but now all I can think about is how to go see "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead". Too bad I live in Sweden.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Waiting for Godot

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Samuel Beckett
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, David Burke, Terence Rigby, and others
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (90)

    There is now no doubt that not only is Waiting for Godot the outstanding play of the 20th century, but it is also Samuel Beckett's masterpiece. Yet it is both a popular text to be studied at school and an enigma. The scene is a country road. There is a solitary tree. It is evening. Two tramp-like figures, Vladimir and Estragon, exchange words. Pull off boots. Munch a root vegetable. Two other curious characters enter. And a boy. Time passes. It is all strange yet familiar.

    Gene says: "Godot is here"
    "Absurdity, wit and the human condition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have recently discovered Beckett. At first I excepted not to like his plays much, perhaps because I thought he would a bit too minimalist and avant-garde for me. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that his poetic use of words, wit and subtle existential humor suited my taste perfectly. Waiting for Godot is now one of my favorite plays, and even though some of the more visual comic effects get somewhat lost in a recording, this audio-version of the play still does it great justice. I also liked that it comes with a PDF with some interesting background of the play. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amy's View (Classic Radio Theatre)

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David Hare
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Samantha Bond, Ronald Pickup
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Judi Dench, Samantha Bond and Ronald Pickup star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast drama from 2000 - which features many of the original West End and Broadway stage cast. Esme Allen is a middle-aged West End actor and is in control of her life: she’s financially secure and successful. However, Amy, her grown-up daughter is pregnant by Dominic, an ambitious media-man who believes that theatre is dead. Esme and Dominic, unsurpisingly, loathe each other.

    Erik says: "Subtle social commentary, outstanding performances"
    "Subtle social commentary, outstanding performances"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Amy's View (Classic Radio Theatre) the most enjoyable?

    Judy Dench's performance was magnetic. All the other actors did a wonderful job too and lifted the performance out of the "radio" and onto the stage. It comes to no surprise that these actors were a part of the original live-theater cast.


    What other book might you compare Amy's View (Classic Radio Theatre) to and why?

    I have listened to loads of other radio theater and audio drama here on audible, such as the productions of L.A Theater works, BBC plays, as well as others. This is one of the best. As theater goes, maybe Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller would be be a decent comparison (although they, apart from being American, are also different in many ways), given the social realistic setting. For some reason, Esme made me think of Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire".


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole play was superb and each part brought new things to the story. If I need to pick a scene I suppose it might be when Amy comes back to see Esme in the early nineties. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the way the scene questions individual responsibility in volatile economic times, or just in life in general, is just brilliant, and Dench is at the top her game here.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes it made me cry and it does not happen often.


    Any additional comments?

    I was positively surprised of Peter Hare's writing. Since I knew he was a political dramatist I would have expected not to like him too much, since I was never a big fan of political drama or fiction. Political commentary in fiction often comes at the expense of complexity and nuance, and becomes a bit too simplistic in my view. In short overtly political stuff is just boring. This is a great exception. As a matter of fact, the social background and setting gives the play even more pathos here, and even makes it seem more real and authentic than the plays of someone like Tom Stoppard, for instance. It reminds us that we are all political beings, after all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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