Richard III: A Fully-Dramatized Audio Production From Folger Theatre
|Narrated By:||Full Cast Dramatization|
|Date:||23 February 2015|
The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, brings Richard III to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.
In Richard III, Shakespeare invites us on a moral holiday. The play draws us to identify with Richard and his fantasy of total control of self and domination of others. Not yet king at the start of the play, Richard presents himself as an enterprising villain as he successfully plans to dispose of his brother Clarence. Richard achieves similar success in conquering the woman he chooses to marry. He carves a way to the throne through assassination and executions.
But Richard also meets resistance, most threateningly from Queen Margaret, widow of King Henry VI, whom he killed before the play’s beginning. Margaret issues a stream of curses, including one on Richard.
Gradually, the curses are fulfilled, suggesting the curse on Richard may come true, too. Increasingly, the play directs our sympathies away from Richard. His supporters desert him; his victims pile up. We may begin to share in the desire for vengeance voiced by Margaret.
This new unabridged audio recording of the well-respected edition of Shakespeare’s classic—expertly produced by the Folger Theatre—is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.
Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Some time between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 around 1613, he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. These speculations are often criticized for failing to point out the fact that few records survive of most commoners of his period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories, which are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. However, in 1623 John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time".
In the 20th and 21st centuries, his works have been repeatedly adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.