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Need some cheap entertainment this weekend, but are all caught up with your DVRed episodes of “Naked Amish Tattoo Removers” and “Say Yes to the Transgendered Storage Auction?” Elevate your entertainment by firing up the audio app Spotify for nearly 100 hours of free and fabulous Shakespeare.
The Bard’s plays and poems are meant to be heard, not read, so Spotify user Ulysses Stone collected more than four days worth of the finest actors performing his works.
The actors represented – Sirs Gielgud, Olivier, and McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Edith Evans – are mostly English stage royalty, but we also have Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and actor Richard Burton, and Americans Paul Robeson, Rosalind Russell, and Orson Welles. The value of such a collection is inestimable…
[Josh] Jones also points out that this selection, while impressive, is still nowhere near complete. Shakespeare’s work has been translated into many languages and performed around the world. There is even more diversity out there. But the breadth contained in this one sampling of the modern interpretations of Shakespeare speaks to the enduring legacy of the playwright’s work.
Today’s audiences appreciate Shakespeare for the same reasons they did in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. “They (early modern audiences) would enjoy the ghosts, the political intrigue, the murder plots, the nations at war. These were things that were on people’s minds at that time,” Mark Bayer, an associate professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, told Cindy Tumiel, writing for the university’s magazine. The notion that the language is too dense to be easily understood can be dispelled by English and drama teachers in high school, she writes.
I’ve embedded the playlist below; if you would like to listen via the Spotify app, click here. The free version includes periodic advertisements, but I recommend the commercial-free option for about $10 a month.
I’m headed on a road trip this weekend; I’ll let you know how much I can get away with before my tween daughters scream, “Out, damn Spotify!” and deal with me Lady MacBeth-style.