Dickens's novel honouring the value of the human heart in an age of materialism centres on Coketown, where Mr Thomas Gradgrind, school owner and model of Utilitarian success, feeds his pupils and his family with facts, banning fancy and wonder from young minds. As a consequence his obedient daughter Louisa becomes trapped in a loveless marriage, and his son Tom rebels to become embroiled in crime. As their fortunes cross with those of a free-spirited circus girl and a victimized weaver, Gradgrind is forced to question everything he believes in.
Edited with an Introduction and notes by KATE FLINT
This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, “that name which inspires absolute confidence.” Wilde’s effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.
The ebook also features an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA and Chair of the Department of Theater.
By merging text and audio, this is a perfect learning tool for enhancing comprehension and enjoyment. The text includes plot summaries of each scene, and it is highly recommended as a study aid for students, teachers, actors and directors. Widely read in high school and college, The Importance of Being Earnest is a text exemplar of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
Includes scene-by-scene and word-for-word text and audio of L.A. Theatre Works’ full cast performance starring:
James Marsters as Jack
Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell
Emily Bergl as Cecily
Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman
Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism
Christopher Neame as Chasuble
Matthew Wolf as Algernon
Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen.
Directed by Michael Hackett for L.A. Theatre Works.
Lead funding for this production, and its presentation as an enhanced ebook, is generously provided by The Sidney E. Frank Foundation.
‘It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.’
Set in fictitious Coketown, England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1850s, Dickens wished to expose the enormous gulf between the rich and poor through his writing. In Hard Times, the social and moral purpose of his work is at its most evident. Openly ironic and satirical in its tone, Dickens suggests a mechanization of society, where the wealthy are ruthless and uncharitable towards those less fortunate than themselves.
Siblings Louisa and Tom Gradgrind are raised by their father, a harsh and pragmatic educator and his influence means that they go on to lead lives that are lacking in all areas. Louisa marries the arrogant and greedy Josiah Bounderby, ending in an unhappy pairing and the unfeeling and villainous Tom robs his own brother-in-law’s bank. As their father watches their plight, he realises that his own principles may have led to their downfall.