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I live in Vermont. My freelance work requires reading critical and expository prose, so I like fanciful escapist fare for fun.
Presumably other Shakespeare plays have a similar treatment. Listening to this version of Henry V combines the advantages of dramatic expressive audio with those of a careful reading, with time to "read" explanatory notes in context--so it compares well with other versions of the same material.
There are multiple readers, which alternated to sort out the many characters and separate them from the explanatory material. Some of the readers are pretty lame (the one who plays the Dauphin is particularly awful), but the words are spoken clearly at a good moderate pace.
It stands on its own and is quite thorough. It's possible that eventually a few of the contemporary references will need to be updated (such as when the commentary suggests a modern equivalent to a historical person or event).
It's hard to put together a study guide that's at the right level for everyone, and strikes a tone that everyone will like. This one introduces itself as your companion at the theater, who mutters in your ear every time a character says something you might not understand; since it isn't an interactive computer program, it has to guess at what you don't know, and if you have any familiarity at all with Shakespeare you will find many of the "translations" unnecessary. But the historical background is very helpful. The Socratic "question and answer" interludes sound forced and stiffly scripted, as does the earnestly cheerful "let's dig in and really enjoy this marvellous writing!" encouragement along the way. Therefore it's good that you can listen to the whole reading without interruptions after you've taken the time to understand each scene with the help of the commentary. Although you don't get the visuals of a theatrical performance, if you see it onstage much of the play is usually cut out; so this is a deeper experience that allows you to hear more poetry without distraction.
This is supposed to have both commentary and no commentary options. But I can't find a way to listen to it without the commentary. That is why it is so long. The dramatization was done well, but I would prefer to hear it without the commentary.
The play was performed twice. First with explinations then without interuption so you could enjoy it and reenforce what you learned.
Clear voice and I felt she was sitting next to me explaining as te play went on.
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