Blood on the Stage, 480 B.C. to 1600 A.D.: Milestone Plays of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem
When it comes to theater, it’s difficult to explore and determine the important firsts of the genre, as so many influential works have been lost. Nonetheless, surviving plays from across Europe and Asia offer a fascinating timeline of possible firsts when it comes to storytelling violence and cunning. From offstage tragedies and heroic sacrifices to onstage acts of violence like poisoning and swordfights (not to mention characters unknowingly consuming their slaughtered children), characters have been shedding blood and backstabbing each other for millennia. Whether it’s the first haunted house story or the first drama based on a real-life murder, it’s here in the pages of Blood on the Stage, 480 B.C. to 1600 A.D.
Previously, the Blood on the Stage series was restricted to 20th century plays, but this edition brings us many of the precursors that shaped the art of playwriting for the centuries that followed. Kabatchnik explores not just the Greeks and Shakespeare, but plays in Sanskrit and Italian, as well as important works by Munday and Marlowe, complete with details on original productions and revivals up to the present day. The evolution of theater action and tragedy comes alive for the reader, thanks to Kabatchnik’s impressive efforts.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers