The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0182  Wednesday, 3 February 1999.

From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tue, 2 Feb 1999 14:06:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Arkangel Shakespeare Series

Writing about Harold Bloom in the New York Review of Books (18 Feb.
1999), Geoffrey O'Brien cites as one of many examples of the current
wave of interest in Shakespeare the recently inaugurated Arkangel
audiotape series.  The Arkangel project deserves the attention of
Shakespeareans who like to hear the language spoken. In the words of its
producers, Bill Shepherd and Tom Treadwell, the ambitious plan calls for
recording all "38" plays "uncut, fully dramatized and accompanied by
original music."  The actors will be "distinguished actors presently
performing in British Film and Theatre." Based on listening to four of
the productions (TN, Mac., MV, and Jn.), I'd say that these claims are
well justified. Trevor Peacock makes a first-rate Shylock who is both
villain and victim; Hugh Ross, an impressive Macbeth; and Michael
Maloney and Eileen Atkins stand out as a contentious Bastard and as a
forlorn Constance in an exemplary King John. Because the actors put
speaking above singing, the meaning of Shakespeare's language receives
top priority, though there is nevertheless a firm residue of lyrical
beauty. Will Keen's Gratiano, for example, doesn't hesitate to speak to
Nerissa (Alison Reid) about the ring in definitely non-RP accents, but
Hugh Ross's Macbeth generates the elocutionary power associated with
this fabled role.  On the basis of what I have so far heard, I highly
recommend these recordings. They come as handsomely packaged CDs from
Viking Penguin and are available in the U.K. from the Audio Book
Collection, and in the USA through Amazon.com and I imagine other
resources as well.  Kenneth S. Rothwell

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