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History of Theatre (Non Fiction)

By David Timson & Derek Jacobi (Narrator)
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Item description for History of Theatre (Non Fiction) by David Timson & Derek Jacobi...

This bold undertaking covers Western theatre from ancient Greece to the present day. It traces the development of dramatic art through the miracle plays, the great Shakespearean period, Moliere and Racine in France, Goethe in Germany, through the 19th century and the main movements in the 20th century. It is illustrated by numerous examples of differing styles, with some historical recordings as well and excerpts from nearly 50 plays. A fascinating journey. It is written by David Timson, the British actor and director who features extensively on Naxos Audiobooks in both roles.

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Item Specifications...

Format: Audiobook,   Classical,   Unabridged
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 4.75"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  CD
Publisher   Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN  9626341998  
ISBN13  9789626341995  
UPC  730099019927  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Timson & Derek Jacobi

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Timson has performed in modern and classic plays across the country and abroad, including Wild Honey for Alan Ayckbourn, Hamlet, The Man of Mode, and The Seagull. He has been seen on TV in Nelson's Column and Swallows and Amazons, and in the film The Russia House.

David Timson was born in 1950.

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Drama
2Books > Audio CDs > Nonfiction
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts > Theater > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts > Theater > History & Criticism
5Books > Subjects > History
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Drama
7Music > Styles > Classical > General
8Music > Styles > Miscellaneous > Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews > General

Reviews - What do customers think about History of Theatre (Non Fiction)?

good for beginners and highly stressed undergraduates  Jul 6, 2002
I found this set to be highly entertaining to listen to. The 5 hour course on the whole span of 2500 years of history certainly leaves out a lot of good things, but it also covers almost all the important points that will actually appear in your exam if you are currently enrolled in such classes in college. Amazing, isn't it? But the set narrated by Jacobi is so engaging that very soon you will stop doing other things you normally do while listening to an audio book. It does require your full attention if you really want to get something out of it.
The material is succintly written, but you can always replay the part you do not fully understand. To students I would recommend this set to help them prepare for the exams. Too many times I've read answers that just keep avoiding the main points. This set, in my view, is very much like private tutoring. It will help you through your notes point by point, simple and straightforward! However you do need to check on your own spelling of names.:)
The approach is traditional. The basic framework revolves around literary materials as it brings you through mini-biorgraphies of major playwrights throughout history. Supporting these literary giants, the conditions of performance and audience are also briefly explained. It recounts all the cliches you will probably encounter in basic level history of theatre classes. Thus Greek theatres evolve from a full circle to a semi-circle and Medieval theatre naturally grows from simple to complicated forms... Excerpts from key plays or documents are read by radio drama actors/actresses, so they sometimes sound quite funny (or mildly absurd). But they are well chosen and representative.
A high-speed tour through European and US theatre  Apr 18, 2002
As a highly infrequent theatre-goer, I picked this up in the hope of plugging the many gaps in my understanding of what plays are all about. Visits to the theatre have left me frustrated and bored more often than captivated. Halfway through a performance, I'll be looking at my watch and thinking I'd be better off watching a video at home! Perhaps I'm simply re-living all those terrible plays I was forced to watch at school.

This audio CD has boosted my understanding and awareness of the theatre. Not only does it cover the history of playwrights, nicely giving name-checks to every author I've heard of, but it also lists the key achievements of many of the key directors, impressarios and actors. And it also covers the development of the physical stage from Greek tragedy to the modern era. And there's the odd bit of reasonably appropriate classical music (from the Naxos catalogue) to link some items.

In the course of five hours, this can only dip its toes in the water of each era, and it does have a bias towards the English theatre, but the main benefit to me is that it's got me wanting to go and see some plays again. A major achievement indeed!

Terrific for theatre majors and general public  Aug 21, 2000
Not since I played the Naxos book-on-tape "A History of Opera" have I so much enjoyed a recorded non-fiction treat like David Timson's (NA 419914), narrated by the venerable Derek Jacobi on four audio tapes. \

The title is really misleading, since the text covers only Western theatre and even that not comprehensively, given the little over 5 hours of playing time. The author himself admits this in the notes provided with the tapes and can be forgiven. What there is here would make an excellent review for a theatre major studying for exams and an even better introduction to one not all that familiar with the story of our theatre as it progressed from the rites dedicated to Dionysus to what it is today. Of course, the important playwrights are touched upon (Shakespeare gets an all too brief treatment) and the English ones get what is perhaps a somewhat disproportionate amount of attention. But as English speakers, we will not carp at that.

An especially good feature of this set is the use of professional actors--Carole Boyd, John McAndrew, Teresa Gallagher and Caroline Faber--to give some short excerpts from major works. The booklet gives a brief "Glossary of technical terms not explained in the text," a need created perhaps by the author's being an actor.

Once again, you will enjoy hearing this set even if you have no exams coming up; and it will give you a very nice idea of where our present theatre has come from, if not where it is going.


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