2/24/15

In Freedom’s Cause ~ An Audio Drama Review

We are a literature loving family of all girls. Well, all girls except for Dad. So having only daughters I never really explored books by G.A. Henty. I know they come highly recommended in home school circles as great adventure books based on historical events. What I didn’t realize though was that my husband liked G.A. Henty. He spends close to two hours a day driving around, and I’ve been on the look out for things he can listen to in the van.  Tailorbear found her daddy’s copy of the Classic Illustrated version of In Freedom’s Cause and when she saw the cast list for this audio drama version she decided she also wanted to listen so I expressed strong interest in receiving In Freedom's Cause Single Package.

In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce from Heirloom Audio Productions uses audio theater to tell the story of William Wallace and the fight for Scottish freedom. Heirloom Audio Productions refers to their productions as active listening audio dramas.

In Freedom's Cause Review

We were expecting to receive the bonuses from the Single Package but Heirloom Audio Productions very generously also gave us the bonuses from the Family Four-Pack Package. The starred items are included in both packages.  We received:

  • *Physical 2 CD Set
  • *In Freedom’s Cause MP3 Download
  • *In Freedom's Cause Study Guide (Digital Download)
  • *In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download)
  • *Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace. (Digital Download)
  • 30 Minute Video Behind the Scenes Documentary (Streaming ~ watch online)
  • In Freedom’s Cause Cast Poster
  • In Freedom’s Cause eBook (PDF format)
  • In Freedom’s Cause Cast of Characters Roadmap
  • Free unlimited access to the In Freedom’s Cause membership website

I think it would be best to describe this audio theater production as an adaptation of G.A. Henty’s novel. John Formof, who wrote and directed In Freedom’s Cause: the Real Story of Wallace and Bruce, did his own research into the life of William Wallace and wanted to bring out more of Wallace’s faith as the backbone of his strength.

InFreedomsCauseDownloads

Study Guide and Discussion Starter:

This 49 page full color pdf helps younger students talk through the story. It can also be used as written assignments for older students. It is divided into sets of questions based on when the story or narrative changes. Each set of questions is divided into three parts. There are no answers included.

The three parts are:

  • Listening Well ~ These are comprehension style questions which can be answered just from listening to the story. Some are harder than others and you may need to listen to the story more than once.
  • Thinking Further~ I like to think of these as the discussion starter questions as you dig deeper into the story and make connections or draw conclusions.
  • Defining Words ~ This section requires a student to define vocabulary words. It might be a good idea to use these sections before listening to the story in order to increase comprehension and understanding of the story. Students may need to use a dictionary.

I do wish that the study guide included answers to all of the questions. It would make it easier to use from a parental perspective. I want to foster independent study and learning in my children but I do not always have time to listen to the story 3 or 4 times to make sure that I know all the answers to the comprehension questions and I do not always know what they are trying to get at with some of the Thinking Further questions. I do know most of the vocabulary but having the words already defined would make this a much more valuable tool for homeschooling families.

In addition to the sets of questions, the study guide includes notes about the history of Scotland, suggestions for further reading, and three short bible studies. 

I found the Study Guide difficult to use. It’s very pretty and the graphic design is stunning but because the backgrounds are colored and textured it makes reading the text very difficult. It also does not print well. It would be easier to use the Study Guide if the pages included graphics or pictures rather than the paper scroll look. I admit I do like how it looks but I’d rather have something that I can use.

Honeybear’s Thoughts:

I found the audio drama overall well put together and well presented.  The actors involved sounded as if they truly enjoyed participating in the story.  The script followed the main plot points of the actual story pretty well from what I can remember (although I read the Classics Illustrated comic book version of the book and not the actual book).  It brought back my desire to read both the comic and the actual story.

My one criticism was the name of the main character, which if you are familiar with the book can distract you from enjoying the story.  In the book his name is Archie Forbes, but in the drama his name is Ned.  However, there is one scene in the audio drama where the uncle asks him if his name was Archie, which seemed to be a 'nod' to the story.

Tess Note:  In the Behind the Scenes documentary we learned that the writers used the names Ned and Gerald because those were the non-historical boys from the previous production. 

Behind the Scenes

Thoughts from Tailorbear (age 15):

I enjoyed it. It was an interesting story. I really didn’t like mom though in the beginning. It’s my issue but the whole pushing of the faith was too much for me. The mom’s character was good though. The voices were fantastic.

Thoughts from Supergirl:

I liked it. It’s good. I like how his mom told him about his father’s death. She saw his father stabbed with a sword. I like how Ned and the girl met when she was up in the tree. I like how they tell story.

Thoughts from BooBear (age 19, college sophomore):

I enjoyed the story and found it interesting as a way to look into Scottish history and important figures. The plot was interesting and driving. It had a wonderful mix of humor and adventure.

Final Thoughts:

I am really glad that I was able to watch the behind the scenes documentary. It gave me background on the choices that the writers and producers made.  Knowing why they choose to emphasize Wallace’s faith or why they added certain scenes helped me to enjoy the story better. It really helped my husband to understand why the main character’s name was changed to Ned.  I think Heirloom Audio Productions may want to consider adding that bonus feature to the Single CD Package as it increased the value of the CD for my family.

The Details:

  • The Vendor:  Heirloom Audio Productions
  • The Product: In Freedom's Cause Single Package
  • Executive Producer: Bill Heid
  • Produced and Directed by: John Fomof
  • Written by: John Fornof, Aaron Fullan, Bill Heid, Nick Heid, and Nick Huizenga
  • Format: Available as a physical Audio 2 CD set or as an MP3 download.
  • Also Available:  Under Drake’s Flag which the crew reviewed in 2014 and coming soon With Lee in Virginia.
  • NOTE: This is not an audio book but rather it is a dramatized adaptation of G.A. Henty’s novel In Freedom’s Cause.

In Freedom's Cause Review

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