Dame Judi Dench
Exits & Entrances: A Celebration of Shakespeare
EMR Dench Classics
Listen to enough Shakespeare, and after a while the veil lifts and the obsolete words and phrases turn in to a sort of vocal poetry that no one else has ever captured. True, there are deep and maddening theories about “Who really wrote Shakespeare?” but as an artistic director one told me: “We don’t really care WHO wrote it. It’s a canon, and we produce it.” The mysterious Bard left us with over 600 new English words and dozens of phrases that we drop into conversation with no idea where that came from. Here you will hear two dozen sonnets, monologues, and speeches. These are so familiar, they are widely known as catch phrases: “Once more unto the breach”, “All the world’s a Stage” , “To be, or not to be” and “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer.” The words resonate; particularly when read with the resounding voices of those who have spent a life time perfecting.
Highlights? Well, they all are highlights. Dame Judi Dench’s wrings every drip of tears out of “Sonnet 116”: “Let not the marriage of true minds” while Jeffery Dench nails her consort reads “Sonnet 18″‘s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” David Suchet focus on the more masculine and battle worn lines. He’s Shylock asking for his pound of flesh, and gives us a moving “Oh, for a Muses of Fire” introduction to Henry V. Emily Fox leads us into Queen Gertrude’s rationalization of Ophelia’s death in Hamlet: “There is a willow”. Lastly we hear from Oliver Dench as he extracts two pieces from The Tempest: “Come unto these….”and “Full fathom five.” These classics are classic for a good reason, and this might even make you dress up and watch some staged sword fighting and doomed love making. Billy Shakes can write both at once, and write them surprisingly well, no matter who he really was.