Audiobooks can bring a brand new lease of life to a classic story — even if that story is nearly 2,500 years old. This summer, Audible are releasing an audiobook of The Oedipus Plays read by Hayley Atwell and Jamie Glover which is going to do exactly that. And just in time for the official audiobook month of June!
The Oedipus Plays were written by the Greek dramatist Sophocles in roughly 450 BC, but they're based on stories that had been passed down by word of mouth from even longer ago. So yeah, these plays are old. But with help from Hayley Atwell and Jamie Glover, they're just as powerful, scary and poignant today as they were to audiences thousands of years ago.
You've probably heard the story of Oedipus, who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother (yikes). But the other two plays in the trilogy are less well-known. Oedipus at Colonus is about Oedipus' last days, in which he curses his two sons, and Antigone is about the sad fate of Oedipus' daughter Antigone. Sounds cheery, right?
OK, so it's not the most uplifting subject matter. But the talented Atwell and Glover turn this ancient tragedy into a modern epic that you definitely won't want to miss out on. And if you've been missing Hayley Atwell (haven't we all?), then you'll love hearing her shine as the tragic heroine Antigone. See for yourself in this exclusive sneak preview.
Hayley is the latest in a long list of celebrities who have narrated Audible books. Recently, the company have brought in Lily Collins to read Peter Pan, Scarlett Johansson to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Thandie Newton to read Jane Eyre — but this might just be my favorite yet. This is what Hayley Atwell herself had to say about the project:
“I like working in the medium, just with my voice, because I don’t have to worry about my facial expressions or gestures - I can do whatever my body needs to do to free up my voice. So it feels like a very specific medium and that to me is great. Working in a sound studio is an environment that I welcome. I love the ensemble of actors and specifically classical actors. My background is classical theatre and that for me is where I got a sense of how ‘family’ can exist in the theatre. When you are part of an acting community as we have been during these days we have been recording the Theban plays, you also realise you are part of a tradition that has been passed down and hopefully we will continue to pass it down to the next generation. It is a way also of keeping these texts alive. There is a magic when I walk into the sound studio and we are all here in our own clothes eating sandwiches and drinking coffee, knowing that we are just here to serve the text. that’s it. We are servants of the text. In this moment what we have is the opportunity to tell a wonderful story together.”
The Oedipus Plays will be coming out on June 14, and you can pre-order it from Audible right away.
Image: Courtesy of Audible