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Vivat Rex: Volume One (Dramatisation)

Vivat Rex: Volume One (Dramatisation)

Landmark Drama from the BBC Radio Archive

by William ShakespeareBen Jonson Christopher Marlowe and others
CD-Audio
Publication Date: 19/02/2015
 

Richard Burton narrates this famous dramatic chronicle of the English Crown, a treasure of the BBC radio archive published on CD for the very first time. Vivat Rex is the landmark drama series first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1977. Over the course of 26 instalments, each one narrated by Richard Burton with a full cast, the fortunes of the English Crown are followed through 225 years of British history, from Edward II's accession in 1307 to the birth of Elizabeth I. This first volume includes the first 13 instalments, beginning with John Hurt's portrayal of Edward II. The stellar cast includes John Hurt, Paul Eddington, Keith Michell, Derek Jacobi, Michael Redgrave, Maureen O'Brien, Patrick Troughton, Timothy West, Robert Hardy, Martin Jarvis, Anthony Quayle, Robert Harris, Robert Powell, June Whitfield, Roy Dotrice, Billie Whitelaw, and Colin Baker. Each drama is adapted by Martin Jenkins from the works of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and their Elizabethan contemporaries, and each includes a stirring musical score by Christopher Whelen. Also included in this collection are bonus interviews with Vivat Rex writer, producer and director, Martin Jenkins, studio manager Enyd Williams, and actor Martin Jarvis, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

ISBN:
9781785290190
9781785290190
Category:
Historical fiction
Format:
CD-Audio
Publication Date:
19-02-2015
Language:
English
Publisher:
Random House
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
139.7x139.7x35.56mm
Weight:
0.31kg
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is unknown but is celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be St George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which Shakespeare died.

Aged eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. By 1595 he had written five of his history plays, six comedies and his first tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. In all, he wrote thirty-seven plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.

Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) was an English playwright and poet, who through his establishment of blank verse as a medium for drama did much to free the Elizabethan theatre from the constraints of the medieval and Tudor dramatic tradition.

His first play Tamburlaine the Great, was performed that same year, probably by the Admiral's Men with Edward Alleyn in the lead. With its swaggering power-hungry title character and gorgeous verse the play proved to be enormously popular; Marlowe quickly wrote a second part, which may have been produced later that year. Marlowe's most famous play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, based on the medieval German legend of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil, was probably written and produced by 1590, although it was not published until 1604. Historically the play is important for utilizing the soliloquy as an aid to character analysis and development.

The Jew of Malta (c. 1590) has another unscrupulous aspiring character at its centre in the Machiavellian Barabas. Edward II (c. 1592), which may have influenced Shakespeare's Richard II, was highly innovatory in its treatment of a historical character and formed an important break with the more simplistic chronicle plays that had preceded it.

Marlowe also wrote two lesser plays, Dido, Queen of Carthage (date unknown) and The Massacre at Paris (1593), based on contemporary events in France. Marlowe was killed in a London tavern in May 1593. Although Marlowe's writing career lasted for only six years, his four major plays make him easily the most important predecessor of Shakespeare.

Martin Jenkins

Martin Jenkins is the author of many groundbreaking Walker non-fiction titles, including Can We Save the Tiger? (overall winner of the SLA Information Book Award), The Emperor’s Egg (winner of The Times Junior Information Book Award) and The Story of Money.

His adaptation of Jonathan Swift's classic adventure story Gulliver’s Travels won the Kate Greenaway Medal. Martin lives in Cambridge.

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