Pungent words in Death of a Ploughman were written – originally in German – about 600 years ago, in a work called “Death and the Ploughman.” It’s regarded as a masterpiece of late Medieval/early Renaissance literature. And it’s been adapted to the stage by Anne Bogart, a highly regarded New Yorker. The show poses a bunch of questions that are no easier to answer now than they were back in the year 1401. Questions like “Why do terrible things happen to totally innocent people?” and “Is there an explanation, a reason, for all the grief felt by the living, after Death takes a loved one?”
This show incorporates three actors, stylized movements and vivid imagery, including some puckish modern touches. Death wears a bowler hat and a dark suit. But the script deals with topics that have caused heartache for centuries, issues we all come to grips with, eventually.
“Death and the Ploughman” is on a national tour, the show is at UC Davis through Sunday. It’s sponsored by the Mondavi Center, but performances are in the Main Theatre in Wright Hall.