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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was a poet, playwright, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. Often referred to as the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare's vast body of work includes comedic, tragic, and historical plays; poems; and 154 sonnets. His dramatic works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Gr 12 Up-This famous family tragedy is dramatized expressively by an outstanding cast of experienced actors led by Paul Scofield. They are very knowledgeable about the play and give each speech with changes of tone and intonation expressing the exact shades necessary for proper understanding. Hearing the voices personalizes the story, making it seem as if this tragedy is real. Voices vary from raging shouts to gentle whispers. The British accents add realism and are not distracting. Appropriate sound effects, whether an animal baying, rain pelting, or horns blaring, assist in setting the mood. However, it is necessary to identify each character by his speech alone as there is no narrator announcing a scene, an entrance, or a setting. Because this can be confusing, high school students should either use the prepared guide which summarizes this information, or have the entire text in front of them. King Lear is not often taught in regular high school English classes, and even 12th grade AP classes have trouble understanding the play. So, although this is an excellent production, unless the play is taught in your school, consider it a supplementary purchase at best.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.