Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Audiobook Plays: The Gods of Carnage & Art

Despite this being Audiobook promo month at the Library, I have a confession to make: I don't listen to audiobooks much at all.

I read almost entirely fiction, and there has always been something a little intrusive about having someone else narrating a novel for me. I feel like it gives characters voices that I would never give them, and gives me an internal narrator that I would never use. Regardless of whether it is a single narrator or a full-ensemble cast replete with sound effects, I still prefer physical books for the novels I read.

But...I have found an instance where audiobooks have made me appreciate the material in a way that I wouldn't by reading it myself: Plays (or Drama, if you do a subject search on Hoopla or Overdrive).

I can’t say I know many people who read plays. There are ongoing discussions over whether plays should be read as literature at all, and I'm sure we've all heard some variant of "plays are meant to be seen, not read." But what can you do if a play isn't available for viewing but it is difficult to read as well? Audiobooks are an accessible alternative to text or performance. 

Two plays that I listened to recently were Yasmina Reza's Gods of Carnage and Art. Gods of Carnage is a black comedy of manners about two sets of parents who meet to discuss a fight between their two children and what ends up happening when their civility starts to slip. In the same vein as Herman Koch's The Dinner and Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap , but much snarkier than both, Gods of Carnage is a short listen and an entertaining jump into contemporary drama. 

Art is a discussion of what "art" really is when three friends get into a sparring match after one of them buys a white-on-white canvas for a hefty sum. 

Neither of these plays would have been on my radar without our audiobook selection - so I recommend you check out the dramas yourself: from the ancient Greek plays to Shakespeare to Chekhov and Ibsen to modern works, you might find something new to enjoy. Or a new way to enjoy it. 

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