Sir Ian McKellen, fresh from his performance as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, is Prospero, and heads a strong cast in Shakespeare’s last great play. The wronged duke raises a tempest to shipwreck his old opponents on his island so that he can ensure justice is done. With Emilia Fox as Miranda, Scott Handy in the pivotal role of the sprite Ariel, and Ben Owukwe as Caliban.
Shakespeare's plays - whether a comedy like A Midsummer Night's Dream, a history like Henry IV, or a tragedy like Hamlet - are treasure troves of insight into our very humanity. These 36 lectures introduce you to Shakespeare's major plays from each of these three genres and explain the achievement that makes him the leading playwright in Western civilization.
"I saw the strangest sight tonight." New Bohemia. America. A storm. A black man finds a white baby abandoned in the night. He gathers her up - light as a star - and decides to take her home. London. England. After the financial crash. Leo Kaiser knows how to make money, but he doesn't know how to manage the jealousy he feels towards his best friend and his wife. Is his newborn baby even his?
King Leontes of Sicilia is seized by sudden and terrible jealousy of his wife Hermione, whom he accuses of adultery. He believes the child Hermione is bearing was fathered by his friend Polixenes, and when the baby girl is born he orders her to be taken to some wild place and left to die. Though Hermione's child escapes death, Leontes' cruelty has terrible consequences. Loss paves the way for reunion, and life and hope are born out of desolation and despair.
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.
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.
Three classic radio productions from the BBC archives starring Nigel Hawthorne, Miriam Margolyes, Geraldine McEwan and a host of celebrated acting talent. These three legendary plays, performed by some of the best-known theatrical actors of the 20th century, are the perfect way to commemorate England's greatest dramatist.
Now, for the first time in audio, Blackstone presents seven great plays in one volume: Euripides' Medea, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid, Dumas' Camille, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Shaw's Arms and the Man, and Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. These productions illustrate the development of European drama from ancient times to the threshold of the modern theater.
When Oberon, King of the Fairies, uses his magic upon four runaway lovers in a midsummer wood outside Athens, chaos ensues. Who really loves whom? Meanwhile, a band of well-meaning but bungling local actors have their rehearsal sabotaged by the mischievous Puck, who bewitches their leader, Bottom, and Titania, the Fairy Queen. The result is a lively and anarchic comedy which can only be resolved by an elaborate disentangling of spells.
This shattering drama of isolation and loss is one of the greatest tragedies in world literature. King Lear of Britain has three daughters: the hard-hearted Goneril and Regan, and the good and gentle Cordelia. He determines to divide his kingdom between them, giving the largest share to she who can say she loves him the best. Lear's tragic lack of judgment and self-knowledge is paralleled by the blindness of the loyal Gloucester who is persuaded to reject his virtuous son, Edgar, in favor of the villainous Edmund.
Othello, a Moor and the Commander of the Venetian army, elopes with Desdemona. The evil Iago plants the seed of jealousy in Othello's mind, resulting in tragic consequences.
Young King Henry VI has married the beautiful Margaret of Anjou but the new queen is ruthless and ambitious. Supported by the powerful Duke of Suffolk, Margaret plots the overthrow of her enemies, chief among them the Duke of Gloucester. But the Duke of York also aspires to the crown, and the common people, led by Jack Cade, are in rebellion. To the despair of the mild young king, England descends into civil war.
This play is well known as one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. The story revolves around Valentine and Proteus, the two gentlemen of Verona, who travel to Milan and learn about the world of courtship. Of course they are best friends but in between that friendship comes their love for the same woman. However true love must prevail and the journey Shakespeare takes us on is one of delight and reward. The play is performed by members of The Marlowe Society.
Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, agrees to lend Antonio, a Venetian merchant, three thousand ducats so that his friend Bassanio can afford to court his love, Portia. However, Shylock has one condition: Should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio's own flesh. Meanwhile in Belmont, according to the terms of her father's will, Portia's many suitors must choose correctly from three caskets. Bassanio arrives at Portia's estate and they declare their love for one another before he picks the correct casket.
The multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance with comprehensive commentary and analysis for any student to fully understand and appreciate the play. Universally accepted as Shakespeare's finest play, we peel back the layers of Hamlet to discover how and why it deserves such a place of honour in world literature.
Shakespeare's most sophisticated comedy is a riotous tale of hopelessly unrequited passions and mistaken identity. Duke Orsino is in love with the noblewoman Olivia. She, however, has fallen for his servant Cesario, who is actually Viola, a woman disguised as a man, who loves Orsino: Confusion is rife. Meanwhile, Olivia's arrogant steward Malvolio is cruelly tricked by her uncle Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and the maidservant Maria into believing his mistress loves him.
Here is the full-cast production of Shakespeare's classic love story, fully dramatized from the complete text, and starring Michael Sheen as Romeo and Kate Beckinsale as Juliet.
"An excellent performance."
Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
In this great tragedy, Macbeth's ambition to fulfill the three witches' prophecy that he will become King of Scotland spurs him and his wife to assassinate King Duncan. But for persistant ghosts, Lady Macbeth's conscience, and the vengeance of Duncan's son, they might have gotten away with murder!
At the center of each of the four great Shakespearean tragedies - Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello - is a powerful figure who is led to destruction by a fatal character flaw. In the case of Macbeth it is ambition. Initially a valiant warrior, and staunch servant of his regal overlord Duncan, Macbeth succumbs to the lure of absolute political domination, which leads to murder, revolt, and comprehensive defeat.
At the opening of this late Shakespearean drama, Polixenes, the king of Bohemia, has been the longtime guest of Leontes and Hermione, the king and queen of Sicily. When the time comes for Polixenes to leave, Leontes urges him to stay longer. At first Polixenes refuses, but soon he yields to the entreaties of Hermione. His rapid change of mind convinces Leontes that the two are lovers and that Polixenes is the father of Hermione's unborn child.
Love triumphs in As You Like It, Shakespeare's joyous comic adventure! Rosalind, arguably Shakespeare's greatest female character, is banished from court and follows her exiled father into the untamed Forest of Arden. Disguised as a man for safety, Rosalind's great wit and good nature show through her male trappings as she engages with fools and philosophers adrift in the woods, and ultimately falls in love.
Shakespeare's King Lear ranks with Sophocles' Oedipus as a tragic hero destroyed by his own good intentions. From the moment when Lear unfolds his darker purpose, we are drawn into an ineluctable chain of events that leads through betrayal, deceit, destructive family conflict, reconciliation, despair, and death. Considered by many to be the most grueling of Shakespeare's tragedies.