Death and the Ploughman
How do we manage to live full and vibrant lives while death breathes down our neck? Death and the Ploughman, a hauntingly beautiful play written in Germany in 1401, awakens the complex mystery encased in this deeply disturbing question. A man loses his beloved wife in her prime and demands some answers for his ensuing pain. He asks Death to respond. The result is an extraordinarily contemporary exploration of what it means to be alive in the world.
Note about process:
Anne discovered Death and the Ploughman in 2002 at the tiny Gate Theater in London, and it stopped her in her tracks. The profundity and continued relevance of this text, written 600 years ago in Bohemia at a paradigm-shifting moment in human history, is a remarkable human achievement. It was written at a time when the theretofore accepted medieval sensibilities were suddenly called into question—faith, the meaning of life, religious hierarchy, authority—leading to the start of the Renaissance. Today we are undergoing another paradigm shift, where religion, values, and meaning must be examined from fresh new angles. This play by Johannes von Saaz can be a great help to us now.
Death and the Ploughman captures these heady issues in a dynamic and visually arresting production. The rich oracity of the dialogue is reinforced by the striking physicality of actors Will Bond, Ellen Lauren and Stephen Webber. We join a man as he journeys through the labyrinth of his own soul.
“Anne Bogart has given fascinating shape and persuasive form to a timeless theme of ineffable beauty, sadness and spirituality. … Bond’s wiry intensity gives palpable force to his grief. … Lauren’s chameleonic Woman shifts from a statue of frozen grief to a wistful ghost of desires past. … Webber’s Death projects an aura of debonair mystery. If he weren’t Death, he’d be the life of the party. … Bogart’s SITI Company approaches its best.” —Columbus Dispatch