Today’s Free Audio Friday is also a LibriVox new release: a full-cast recording of George Bernard Shaw’s 1916 play Heartbreak House. You can download and listen here for free. Elizabeth reads the role of Hesione Hushabye, the flamboyant and slightly off-kilter hostess who assembles a strange group of people at her country house for a weekend party on the eve of World War I. The group includes her long-lost sister Lady Ariadne Utterword, her young friend Ellie Dunn (who is determined to marry a “Napoleon of industry,” Boss Mangan, for his money), Ellie’s rather doddering father Mazzini, Hesione’s husband Hector (with whom Ellie has fallen in love), and Randall Utterword, who is desperately in love with his sister-in-law Ariadne. The house is presided over by Hesione and Ariadne’s father, Captain Shotover, a bluff and gruff old salt, who attempts to run the house like a ship at sea. The volunteer cast do a superb job of capturing the farcical yet tragic nature of Shaw’s brilliant play.
(The image above is from a recent British production of the play, with Derek Jacobi as Captain Shotover.)