How did Shakespeare sound to the audiences of his day? For the first time this disc offers listeners the chance to hear England's greatest playwright performed by a company of actors using the pronunciation of his time. Under the guidance of Ben Crystal, actor, author of Shakespeare on Toast and an expert in original Shakespearian pronunciation, the company performs some of Shakespeare's best-known poems, solo speeches and scenes from the plays. Hear new meanings uncovered, new jokes revealed, poetic effects enhanced. The CD is accompanied by an introductory essay by Professor David Crystal. An essential purchase for every student and lover of Shakespeare. Track listing: 1. Sonnet 116 (in modern English) 2. Sonnet 116 (in original pronunciation) 3. Sonnet 71 4. Sonnet 18 5. Sonnet 154 6. A Midsummer Night s Dream Flower of this purple dye (Oberon) 7. As You Like It A fool, a fool (Jaques) 8. Hamlet To be, or not to be (Hamlet) 9. Henry V Once more unto the breach, dear friends (Henry V) 10. Macbeth Is this a dagger which I see before me (Macbeth) 11. Richard II I have been studying how I may compare (Richard II) 12. The Winter s Tale Since what I am to say (Hermione) 13. As You Like It All the world's a stage (Jaques) 14. The Merchant of Venice The quality of mercy (Portia) 15. The Two Gentlemen of Verona When a man's servant shall play the cur with him (Launce) 16. Richard III I call'd thee then vain flourish of my fortune (Queen Margaret) 17. Richard III Now is the winter of our discontent (Gloucester) 18. The Tempest Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves (Prospero) 19. Twelfth Night Were not you even now with the Countess Olivia? (Malvolio and Viola) 20. The Comedy of Errors Why, how now, Dromio! (Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse) 21. Romeo and Juliet But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? (Romeo and Juliet) 22. Much Ado about Nothing Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while? (Benedict and Beatrice) 23. Julius Caesar Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony (Antony and plebeians) 24. Twelfth Night Save thee, friend, and thy music (Viola and Feste) 25. Hamlet My honoured lord! (Guildenstern, Rosencrantz and Hamlet) 26. Othello How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did. (Emilia and Desdemona) 27. King Lear Give me the map there (King Lear, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia) 28. Macbeth Good morrow, noble sir. (Lennox, Macbeth, Macduff, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Donalbain and Malcolm)
Ben Crystal is a British actor and writer. He studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University before training at Drama Studio London. He has worked in TV, film and theatre, at the reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe, London, and is a narrator for RNIB Talking Books, Channel 4 and the BBC.
He co-wrote Shakespeare's Words (Penguin 2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (Penguin 2005) with his father David Crystal, and his first solo book, Shakespeare on Toast - Getting a Taste for the Bard (Icon 2008) was shortlisted for the Educational Writer of the Year Award, 2010. His new series of introductions to Shakespeare's plays - Springboard Shakespeare - was published by Arden Shakespeare in June 2013.
In 2011, he played Hamlet in the first Original Pronunciation production of the play for 400 years with the Nevada Repertory Company, and in 2012 he was the curator of the first CD of extracts of Shakespeare recorded by professional actors in Original Pronunciation for the British Library.
In July 2014, he brought his ensemble to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe, and produced the first reading of Macbeth in OP in Shakespeare's theatre for 400 years. In January 2015 he will take his ensemble to Stockholm to present their production of Pericles in OP, which will be live-scored by the Swedish Radio Symphony as part of conductor Daniel Harding's Interplay Festival.
He and his ensemble perform and give workshops on Shakespeare around the world, and some of this work can be viewed at www.passioninpractice.com
He lives in London and online at www.bencrystal.com and Tweets from @bencrystal