Death and the Ploughman

Johannes Saaz, Michael West

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Written in the 15th century by Johannes Von Saaz, "Death and the Ploughman" is a dialogue between Death and a widowed farmer. West has dramatized it here as an adversarial duel where the farmer's defence of mankind is as strong as Death's ruthless prosecution of his own cause.

Johannes Von Saaz was probably born in the village of Schüttwa (Sitbor), in the district of Bischofsteinitz, in northern Sudentland. His date of birth is unknown, but evidence suggests between 1342 and 1350. Around this time there was an outbreak of the bubonic plague - The Black Death - which ravaged Europe, killing a third of the population. In the documents that have come down to us, the name of the poet varies: it appears as Johannes von Tepl, Johannes Hanslini von Sitbor, Johannes von Sitbor or Johannes von Saaz. Between 1358 and 1368 he was educated at the monastery in Tepl, after which he studied at the University of Prague, and finally in a university in either France or Italy (Paris, Bologna or Padua) where he acquired the title Magister Artium. Having finished his studies, he worked for a period in the Imperial Court at Prague. In 1378 Johnannes von Tepl was appointed municipal notary (
notarius civitatis) to the town of Saaz and in 1368 he became headmaster of the school there; he held both positions until 1411, when he left Saaz for Prague. There he became a clerk until his death in 1414. Few of his other writings survive: some verse in Latin and three volumes of administrative and juridical papers which he drew up in his capacity as notary and legal counsel in Saaz and Prague. On 1 August 1400 his wife Margherita died in childbirth. This painful episode inspired the creation of his masterpiece
Death and the Ploughman.

Michael West has written several plays in collaboration with Annie Ryan and The Corn Exchange including Man Of Valour, Freefall (Best New Play at the Irish Theatre Awards and at the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild) and the world premiere adaptation of James Joyce’s Dubliners presented in association with the Dublin Theatre Festival 2012. Other work for The Corn Exchange includes EVERYDAY, Dublin By Lamplight, Foley, an adaptation of Lolita (in a co-production with the Abbey) and The Seagull which will premiere at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2016. He has translated or adapted many texts, among them The Marriage of Figaro for the Abbey; a version of Death and the Ploughman by the Bohemian 14th century writer Johannes Von Saaz for Christian Schiaretti of the TNP in Lyon and produced by SITI company and directed by Anne Bogart in the USA; and plays by Molière, Marivaux, Calderón and the contemporary French poet, Jean-Pierre Siméon. His latest translation, Forever Yours, Mary-Lou by Michel Tremblay premiered at the Theatre Royal in Bath in March 2016. He has written two plays for younger audiences, Jack Fell Down and Forest Man, and in 2014 the Abbey Theatre presented a world premiere of his most recent play Conservatory. For the last year he has been writer-in-residence at University College Cork.


Einband Taschenbuch
Erscheinungsdatum 01.12.2006
Verlag Bloomsbury 3PL
Seitenzahl 48
Maße (L/B/H) 20,5/12,3/0,5 cm
Gewicht 59 g
Reihe Modern Plays
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-413-77303-6


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