...but Macbeth comes cheap
CD-Rom for Windows Multimedia PCs (minimum PC 486SX with 4 megabytes of memory) with teacher's notes, Pounds 75. (Apple version in January 1996. ) From HarperCollins, Freepost GW2446, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow G64 1BR.
This gives the same user-friendly performance as its predecessor, the excellent Romeo and Juliet. An on-screen hexagon draws you into the program by offering a choice of Play, Plot, Performance, Characters, Language, Theme and Background.
Once into a section, the alternative options may be easily obtained through use of the tool bar at the bottom of the screen.
The Play option calls up a complete audio version of Macbeth, illustrated by selected clips from the BBC version and a range of stills. Difficult vocabulary is highlighted and you can reach a clear, useful glossary by clicking.
The Plot option provides summaries of all the scenes and a useful plot line. Under Themes, you can explore a theme in depth fate, guilt or ambition, for example and be directed to key scenes.
The Performance, Language and Background sections all provide a wealth of clear information on topics including: actors and acting; past performances; the theatre in Shakespeare's day; criticism from varied sources (Samuel Johnson to Judi Dench).
This Macbeth will prove a great motivator for teachers and pupils alike as it combines the play with striking visual images as well as intelligent text, providing a brilliant format for supporting study of the play. The teacher and student will find many uses for this product: it enhances individual study, lends itself well to pair or group research and offers a chance to hear the actual text while being able to pause and find out more detail. This fine package comes at a price that even the most cash-starved English department might do well to consider. A stunning encore to the terrific Romeo and Juliet.