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In London Came the plague in sixteen sixty five One hundred thousand dead But I alive. London is infected. The dead fall in the streets. As the plague pits fill, the people of London struggle to maintain a society in the face of overwhelming mortality. Based on eye-witness accounts from 1665 and drawing poetic parallels with modern epidemics, Ten Plagues relates one man's journey through a city in crisis. Told entirely through a series of songs, Ten Plagues explores humanity's struggle with sickness and death and celebrates our capacity for survival. This volume also contains The Coronation of Poppea, a new version of Monteverdi's opera depicting the triumphant adultery between Poppea and Roman Emperor Nero. Tackling this tale of epic lives, Ravenhill updates Tacitus' scathing portrayal of decadence and imperial degeneracy with language which is contemporary, spare and brutally powerful. Taking opera librettos as a foundation, this volume presents two texts for modern music theatre by the seminally controversial playwright Mark Ravenhill. Mark Ravenhill's introduction to the volume explains the inspiration and writing process behind the two pieces.
Mark Ravenhill is one of the most distinctive contemporary UK playwrights. He burst on to the theatre scene in 1996 with the huge hit Shopping and Fucking. He has continued to garner critical acclaim for plays that include Some Explicit Polaroids, Mother Clap's Molly House, and most recently Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (National Theatre, Royal Court, Paines Plough, The Gate Theatre, April 2008).