Metnitz “Centre of the Dance of Death”
"death, the best friend" by Jörg Zaunbauer
The Metnitz Dance of Death developed from the liturgical plays that were customary towards the end of the Middle Ages. In the geographically self-contained region around the market town of Metnitz, this literary treasure has been preserved until today. This play is performed in accordance with the many handwritten records that were kept by the local rural population over the centuries and adapted to the respective spirit of the times and linguistic usage. The actors are recruited exclusively from the residents of the municipality, and in some cases the roles of the people depicted have been passed down in the families concerned for generations.
The performances take place in the churchyard between the ossuary and the parish church. A stand with over four hundred numbered seats for spectators guarantees every visitor a good view.
The Dance of Death play impresses spectators with its simple and straightforward language, and the way in which the Grim Reaper approaches his victims.
For some he comes as a skeleton who takes them by surprise, for others he appears as a redeeming paternal friend. The many “faces” of Death and the convincing acting of the rural amateur actors mean that the spectators feel that they too are involved in the scene, and feel that Death is calling them too in his final sentence:
"Tretet all zu meinem Reigen dar,
die ihr das Leben schon habt gegeben
in Gottes Händ zum seligen End!"
[“All of you who have had your life
given to you by the hand of God,
step up to my round dance for your blessed end!”]
Metnitz Dance of Death play
Performance dates 2022
Friday 29 July; Saturday 30 July; Friday 05 August and Saturday 06 August
21:30 Dance of Death play at the ossuary
If the weather is bad, the performance will take place in the parish church.
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