"Theatre Of Death is a seasonally-fitting production. Rather than being the familiar two or three act, full length play, this production is a series of scenes about murder, mayhem and the macabre...Each scene presented was unique in time, location, circumstances and method of death. To whom, where and how death would happen was the challenge for the audience to figure out...my imagination went wild with the possibilities...Mark-Brian Sonna directed each scene to provide maximum shock value and always with some kind of twist....fun...mesmerizing...a roller-coaster ride of emotions..."
During the middle ages a form street theatre was born in Spain known as “Teatro Breve” or “Brief Theatre”. It remained a popular till the early 1900’s. Our theatre company led the Renaissance of this art form. We selected 8 of these short plays from various centuries that have never been seen in this country and present them in one evening. Some are comedies, others are scary, and some are simply bizarre, but they all are highly entertaining. The one thing they have in common? They deal with death, dying and murder! All the plays are World Premieres, New Translations, or New Adaptations.
Richard S. Blake Hannah Law Brian Cook
Veronica Day Jorge Martin Lara Laura Lutz Jones
Andrew Bryan Mark-Brian Sonna
Mark-Brian Sonna & Phineas Bennett
General Dance of Death (Excerpt) by Anonymous, 1300’s, Spain
This was a unique piece of musical theatre and is the oldest known record of Musical Theatre from the Middle Ages. The music and the choreography have long been lost but the lyrics remain, and they still are relevant. In it, Death sings and dances to the amusement and horror of the audience. This opening excerpt from the much longer theatrical piece has Death welcoming the audience to the show and it seemed like a fitting beginning to the evening.
Romance de Marquillos by Anonymous, 13th century, Spain
This short play is a prime example of the type of tale that would amuse audiences in the Middle Ages. Revenge is eternal.
Esperanzaby José Peón y Contreras, 1876, Mexico
This story of obsessive love is written by one of the most pre-eminent Mexican playwrights of the 19th century and is a true melodrama. Even though it was written in the 19th century, the story takes place in the 1600’s. Though most melodramas now cause chuckles with their hard-to-believe coincidences, this one is unsettling because the main character’s obsession with the young woman, Esperanza, is truly frightening. Esperanza means hope.
Ride 13 by Alejandro de la Costa, 2012, USA
This comedy is the 4th installment of the “13 plays” that run 13 minutes. In it, four unsuspecting people are in for the ride of their lives.
Errors of Yesterday by Alex Slingsby, 2012, UK
This short play is penned by a 19 year old living in East Yorkshire. He, like many contemporary young writers, has been part of the movement that has rekindled interest in this ancient form of theatre. A young man who is still living at home deals with his parents in an unexpected way after making a new “friend”.
Sherlock Bartender (Tragedy in a Bar)by Stefano Benni, 2007, Italy
Stefano Benni is one of the most well-known writers in Italy. Good hairdressers and bartenders are said to know everything because their clients confide in them. This short comedic play about an astute bartender delights as it builds suspense in the audience. How could a bartender know so much?
Mortal Agreement by Fabián Choque & Zulma Arellano Rojas, 2012, Peru
This writing pays homage to the Teatro Breve of the middle ages. We can guess the ending before it happens, but nonetheless it still amuses.
The End of the Day by Mark-Brian Sonna, 2012, USA
This 10 minute play is an experiment in insanity, violence and blood. A middle aged married man has stopped taking his medications…with unexpected consequences.