A cool new Lear tool

Sometimes, my friends, serendipity and synchronicity are your friends.

Yesterday, while doing my daily fishing for my weekly podcast “This Week in Shakespeare,” I came across a news story announcing the Stratford (Canada) [Shakespeare] Festival‘s launch of a new online tool that supports their release of the recently captured production of King Lear.

Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Performance Plus (King Lear)
Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Performance Plus (King Lear)

This is part of the Festival’s project (kicked off in this commemorative deathiversary year) to capture each of the Bard’s plays over the next 10 years and present them online.

As luck (good luck for us) would have it, their first release is our current play under study, King Lear.

The tool, called “Performance Plus,” is pretty slick: the interface contains not only the captured video streamed, but also a scrolling text box that highlights the script as the scene progresses (with difficult phrases glossed via hyperlink). Included, too, are “extras” on themes, important lines, and advice to students approaching the play for the first time.

Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Performance Plus (King Lear: detail)
Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Performance Plus (King Lear: detail)

It’s a pretty damned cool tool.

The only downside is that this is another production I need to watch… I was sooooooo close to finishing! (maybe serendipity and synchronicity aren’t my friends, after all)

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