The Legendary Sir Ian McKellen And The Heuristic Shakespeare Project

"Want" is far too weak a word to use when describing my desire for this app. But I'm a bit afraid to say more. Already said too much, come to think of it...Um...Here. Redirect!

Shakespeare wrote his plays to be seen and heard, not read. Heuristic Shakespeare apps put you face to face with his characters at the heart of each play. It makes his language and references easily accessible and helps you understand each play from the inside out.

What a fantastic idea. So far, they've only got one for "The Tempest," but they've promised to set their hands (and turn their voices) to all Shakespeare's plays. A $6 app might seem a bit steep, at first, especially if you need over 35 of them. But here's what that $6 will get you:

  • A cast of professional Shakespearean actors performing the play
  • The full text of The Tempest as published in the First Folio
  • A full digital version of Arden Shakespeare The Tempest including full notes and commentary
  • A linked historical time line of Shakespeare's life, his plays, his theatres, and the historical context
  • Video talks by both Sir Ian McKellen and Professor Sir Jonathan Bate on characters, themes, and the overall play
  • Full breakdowns and explanations of every character with a visual rundown of all their lines across the scenes
  • A full “play at a glance” with illustrations and summaries to explain the plot with key quotes and events.
  • A history of all the major productions of The Tempest from the 17th century to the present day.
  • The ability to make notes, copy and highlight text that can be collected, correlated and exported for later use.

After seeing that list (and that video), six bucks seems like an absolute steal.

Attribution(s): "The Tempest (Act I, Scene 1)" is an engraving by Benjamin Smith, based on a drawing by George Romney. It is available from the Prints and Photographs division of the Library of Congress under the digital ID pga.03317. It is in the Public Domain via Wikipedia; "Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo Dancing" by Johann Heinrich Ramberg is in the Public Domain via Wikipedia.