The Play about the Antichrist (Ludus de Antichristo) was composed around 1160 at the imperial Bavarian abbey of Tegernsee, at a critical point in the power-struggle between the papacy and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. This new translation and commentary reveals this drama to be strikingly representative of the role that theatrical performance played in shaping contemporary politics, diplomacy, and public opinion. It also shows how drama functioned as an integral component of the educational curricula of elite monastic institutions like Tegernsee, where political administrators and diplomats were trained.
In this new translation, Carol Symes provides the first full and faithful rendering of the play’s dynamic language, maintaining the meter, rhyme scheme, and stage directions of the Latin original and restoring the liturgical elements embedded in the text. Kyle A. Thomas, whose fully-staged production tested the theatricality of this translation, provides a new historical and dramaturgical analysis of the play’s rich interpretive and performative possibilities.
Carol Symes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and
Kyle A. Thomas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.