Shakespeare has long been the nemesis of many a high school student, but a new series of enhanced ebooks will certainly ease the study for reluctant readers, while also adding to the enjoyment of longtime fans of the Bard. Wordplay Shakespeare, a series with two titles currently available in the iBookstore, offers a multimedia-rich Shakespeare experience with the original text, commentary, translation, and filmed performances of the entire play produced specifically for the project.
“The truth is, for many people, reading Shakespeare is hard,” said Professor David Kastan of Yale University, a special consultant to WordPlay Shakespeare, in a press release on the launch of the second title. “It’s the language, but also the fact that Shakespeare wrote his plays to be seen. This new version allows people to read and watch Macbeth simultaneously, which allows for deeper understanding and enjoyment.”
“We have one goal,” says The New Book Press founder and publisher Alexander Parker, “to present Shakespeare’s plays in a way that makes the best use of the new capabilities of tablets. That means bringing together text and video on the same page, providing communication and analysis tools, and ultimately lowering the barrier to enjoyment and understanding that have bedeviled student and adult readers of Shakespeare over the last 400 years.”
Two of Shakespeare’s works, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth, are currently available, with two more titles, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, expected to launch soon. This release is a timely project, as three of the four titles are traditionally required in most US high school curricula, and several school systems have already put into place pilot programs that incorporate these titles. The available titles currently retail for $9.99 from iTunes.