Here’s something fun for kids. An audio story by Artie Knapp, the author of quite a few illustrated stories that have had a home right here on the web for a long while now. This is a very well-produced audio story with a full cast of actors and an original music score. So settle in with some popcorn on the sofa and get ready for a charming tale of individuality.
The Guardian Short Stories Podcast presents British actor Simon Callow reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Tree. The short story is a sort of reverie and look back at childhood imaginings inspired by the magical sight of a Christmas tree.
This is a BBC radio dramatization of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The book is still a shocking satire of Western culture gone to the youthful dogs of violence and mayhem. Burgess played with language by inventing a detailed and comically expressive slang for his criminal hero and the gang he leads.
The best info I can find about this recording dates it somewhere around 1997. It stars Jason Hughes as the murderous 'droog,' Alex.
This is an LP of a 1957 recording of Aldus Huxley narrating his science fiction masterpiece, Brave New World. The music is by Bernard Herrmann. Of course, it’s not really the book. It’s a 1 hour radio dramatization. The book is a frightening look at a future of genetic breeding and an anesthetized population of perfectly content people without desires. They are kept uninformed and comfortable so that they will remain peaceful and easy to control by a ruling order. They are made to cherish their servitude and oppression.
Huxley believed that George Orwell’s vision of the future in 1984 was too extreme and that oppression of large populations would be watered down into something resembling pleasure and entertainment. They were both partly right.
So read Huxley’s book and think about the world around you and how little is really expected of you.
What we have here is an enormous tale of medieval chivalry, dragon lore, heraldry, round-tableness, and the insane goings-on of knights and their goonish glory. The magnificent squad of funny men behind these tales of audio craziness call themselves The Hazardous Players. Their ongoing comic production is a series of tales called Knighttime, which follows the lunatic adventures of Sirs Cottington and Bratwurst through the kingdom of Udenland.
Give a listen to the first episode, called The Problem in Pimpleton – Act I:
The audio stories are full of eccentricity reminiscent of Monty Python, Firesign Theater, Shakespeare, Douglas Adams,Terry Prachette and Christopher Moore. They contain great bits of self-referential humor and constantly break out of the stories to comment on the very story that they find themselves in. Characters do odd things like take breaks to go off to the bathroom. They get enthusiastic when the laugh track goes off and start playing to the audience for more laughs. It’s hilarious and engages the listener in the wonderful world of pure storytelling. This kind of silliness that works so well is very hard to find and makes the Web a pure joy when you do find it.
The Hazardous Players have built a web site (www.hazardousplayers.com) around their world of funny characters, complete with sketches and a blog that chronicles various happenings in their story kingdom. The audio is of excellent production value and uses music and incidental sounds with great precision and comic effect. The vocal performances are magnificently ludicrous and enable the listener to clearly imagine each character in perfect detail. I look forward to many more episodes in the silly kingdom of Udenland.