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Players-Shakespeare Newsletter No 1

There’s so much going on at the moment that we thought we’d try out a weekly newsletter to see if it would help you keep you up-to-date with developments at Players-Shakespeare.com. Based on your response, we’ll make this a regular part of the site, or we’ll quietly drop the idea. So here goes with the first issue of our Newsletter:

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In this issue:

Exploring Macbeth
Technology Update: Our plays on your own e-book readers
Coming soon – plays to be published
Interesting recent posts
The launch  of play-reading groups in September

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Exploring Macbeth:

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If you’re thinking of play-reading Macbeth in September, there’s some things you might like to have a look at to prepare for that play-reading.

The best production of Macbeth we’ve seen is by the RSC with Ian McKellan as Macbeth, and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth. It’s available on DVD. Read our review at Review, RSC Macbeth (*****) on DVD, with Judi Dench & Ian McKellan

The Globe has a production of Macbeth  which you can stream to your PC / Internet-TV or see on DVD. It’s also staged on a replica of the stage that Shakespeare’s plays were originally produced on. Read our review at: Review, The Globe Production of Macbeth

We’ve run a couple of play-readings of Macbeth in the past and you can read our play-reading reports at the following links:

Playreading report: Edinburgh, 16th May 2016

Playreading report: Edinburgh, Act 2 Scene 2, 8th May 2016

There are a number of Let’s Explore and Let’s Play items in the index to our edition of Macbeth. The index appears to the right of the script on lap-tops and most tablets, and after the script on most smartphones and some laptops. You can find the script of Macbeth at:

MFFEV5 – Macbeth online

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Technology Update: Our plays on your own e-book readers

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We’re very pleased to be able to provide our scripts online via the web on Players-Shakespeare.com. It allows people all over the world to read our edition at very low cost.

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However, it’s not perfect. We develop our editions of the play as epubs and often read the plays on Apple iPads / iPhones using iBooks or Android and other e-book readers. This has two significant advantages:

  • Because the play is held locally on the e-book reader, performance is significantly better.
  • Some of the e-book readers offer a significantly improved user interface (more choice of fonts and font sizes; improved page changing, etc., etc.)

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We’ve always kept an eye open on how we might provide our plays in such a way that a group of people can get together and read the plays locally on the same technology as we support onlinee (e.g. laptops; tablets; smartphones).

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This week we discovered a potential solution which we’re really excited about. Recent releases of the Calibre e-book management system (free)  provide a content server which allow books to be read on laptops; tablets; smartphones; using a wi-fi connection to provide the book. We’ve tested this with Apple IoS devices; Android devices; and Amazon Fire devices (these are our target devices) and it works on all three!!!

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Calibre also provides a programming interface which allows us to tailor individual copies of the play for a particular player in either Highlight Text or Parts and Cues format.

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Don’t hold your breath – it’s likely to be quite a few months before we can get this working (there’s software to write) but it should be a much better way of reading the plays, and provide the sort of control that organisations (drama groups; drama classes; U3A groups; theatres; etc) need to manage a play-reading group.

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If there’s a Calibre developer out there, with a good knowledge of epub structure, aand  an interest in Shakespeare – get in touch. You could send me (Richard Forsyth)  a message on Facebook, or leave a comment after this post.

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For the rest of you – watch this space!

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Coming Soon: Plays to be published

We’re quite busy launching our play-reading groups at the moment, but we’re still editing plays for release.:

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The Merchant of Venice has been published in MFFEV5 format (the format you see online) and we’re slowly working on publishing the index for the play. The Introduction; script; and cast lists have already been published, and we’re slowly adding Let’s Explore and Let’s Play items to the index.

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As You Like It  is coming along close behind – we hope to have it published by early-September, so Rosalind lovers don’t have long to wait.

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We haven’t made nay firm decisions as to what comes after that, because we’d like you to influence what order we publish the plays. If you’ve got a burning desire or a need for a particular play to be published soon, let us know by leaving a comment after this post.

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Interesting recent posts:

Thou art alive play-reading report:

Eliza Langland wrote a very amusing play-reading report on July 26th called ‘Thou art alive’ about a professional,  non-Shakespearean actor learning about Shakespearean acting. After a couple of weeks it had been read well over 400 times (which is a lot for Players-Shakespeare.com). If you haven’t read it yet, give yourself a treat and go to:  Thou art alive.

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You may also be interested in another play-reading report by Eliza: Professional Actors play-reading session, May 11th 2017

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What’s going on in The Merchant of Venice

We published a post on The Merchant of Vencie which stimulated a lot of discussion on our Facebook page. Not all of you read our Facebook page, so we’ve updated the post on Players-Shakespeare.com with edited versions of those comments so you catch up by reading the updated post on Playesr-Shakespeare.com

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The launch of play-reading groups in September

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We start play-reading again in September and we’re very much hoping some play-reading groups around the world may join in with us. We’ve published a number of posts on how you might do that, and the best post to read on the topic is probably: How we help you playread Shakespeare.

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To help you prepare for play-reading using our scripts in September (or later) we’re running a ‘Cuuntdown to Play-reading’ running from T-10 to T-1 after which we’re hoping for lift off.

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You can see all the countdown posts at Countdown to playreading

On that page you’ll see a list of all the Countdowns we’ve published to date. To read the detailed post, just click on the Read more… link.

It’s worth re-visiting this page from time to time, as we’re adding a couple of Countdown items every week.

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.Let’s Play!!!!.
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Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

To find out what Players-Shakespeare.com is all about, check out What we do.
If you want to know how our Shakespeare edition is developing,  ‘like’ our Facebook page, and you’ll get more detailed updates on Facebook on what’s happening.

 

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