Today I tried listening to The Tempest on audio book with limited success. I’m fairly familiar with the play and I’ve seen it performed, so it wasn’t hard to follow along. However, I’m still not sure I was really ‘following.’ If I knew nothing about The Tempest, would I be able keep track of the plot the first time hearing it? Or is it just because I know what happens next and who should be talking that it makes sense?
I started listening to King Lear, which I know nothing about, to test my ‘can I follow Shakespeare when it is unfamiliar to me’ question but by that point my attention span was gone and other things distracted me. 40 minutes in, though, and I was following quite well. However, it still felt like cheating. I was only skimming the richness of the play by listening to it.
I had higher hopes for this foray into Shakespeare. Imagine how quickly I could get through his plays if I could just listen to them in the car! Yet plays aren’t designed to simply be heard and I think that is why it feels so off. I might finish King Lear. I’m battling with my desire to really grasp the story and gain from its wisdom, and an equally strong desire to knock it off my to-read shelf once and for all. I might get a hard copy and see how that goes.
Any Shakespeare recommendations? Is there a certain audio that is really good and makes it worth it or is he better in print?