The Roses of Eyam

The Roses of Eyam

The Roses of Eyam is a historical drama by Don Taylor, largely based on the events that happened in the "Plague Village" of Eyam, Derbyshire, between September 1665 and December 1666 [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/myths_legends/england/derby/article_5.shtml Historical background] ] . Published in 1970, the play best suits an atmospheric setting such as a Norman church or Restoration Manor House, where it can be performed in the round. Taylor himself filmed the story for television in 1973 [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0476366/ IMDB details] ] .

The script requires a large cast, within which there must be a core of actors prepared to learn extensive parts and portray passionate and sustained emotion. It begins as educated clergyman the Reverend William Mompesson receives the living from his benefactors, the Saville [ [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DBY/Eyam/WmMompesson.html Genealogical evidence of this] ] family. A "King's Man", he is replacing the previous Puritan incumbent, Thomas Stanley, and the early part of the play establishes that the village is still divided between Royalist and Roundhead sympathisers.

Meanwhile, local tailor George Vicars takes delivery of a large consignment of cloth from London. Within days the village is stricken by plague. As the play evolves the audience moves from location to location, the action intensifying as the village empties. Each corpse reappears in ghostly white make-up until the audience is surrounded by keening wraiths.

The show was performed by Dynamo Youth Theatre in July, 2007 in St Faiths Church, Havant, UK. The show was widely regarded as the most powerful drama by Dynamo to date due to stunning atmosphere in the 100+ year old church and grounds along with very high standard performances from such young performers.The song "ring a ring of roses" is about the plague

Ring-a-ring-of-roses: is the rash that you get if you have the plague.A-pocket-full-of-poseys: is the flowers that cleans the air, to keep the desise away.A-tishoo-a-tishoo: is when they all start sneesing.We-all-fall-down: is when they fall down "DEAD."

References


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