In June 1914, Europe was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity. Little over a month later, the world was at war—and only a handful of people knew it was happening. Inspired by the medieval mystery plays Sommer 14—A Dance of Death is an epic telling from a German and European perspective of the world's descent into war. Employing the character of Death as a guide, the play uses the classic Danse Macabre structure of a series of searing vignettes to illuminate the people and the events that led up to the outbreak of the First World War.
Rolf Hochhuth was born in West Germany in 1931. Rolf Hochhuth’s provocative first drama, Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian tragedy), also known as The Representative) (1963), accuses Pope Pius XII and the Roman Catholic clergy of tolerating Nazi crimes against the Jews. It received productions worldwide and caused great controversy, as well as recently being adapted for the film Amen, it was produced at the Finborough Theatre in 2006. His second play, Soldiers (1967), initially banned in England, received its world premiere in Berlin in 1967, and received its first UK revival at the Finborough Theatre in 2004. Later works include Guerrillas (1970), The Midwife (1972), The Survivor (1981) and the film A Love in Germany (1984).
Gwynne Edwards has prepared a new free adaptation of the play, from a literal translation by Jennifer Bakst. Gwynne Edwards is a specialist in Spanish theatre and cinema and, until recently, Professor of Spanish at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales. He has also translated and adapted more than forty plays from Spanish, French and Italian, many of which have been staged at major theatres in Britain and the United States. He has published three collections of Lorca's plays with Methuen Drama, and also collections of seventeenth–century Spanish and contemporary Spanish–American plays adapted from the correspondence and prose writings of Dylan Thomas. His books include Lorca: The Theatre Beneath the Sand, Lorca: Living in the Theatre, Dramatists in Perspective: Spanish Theatre in the Twentieth Century, The Discreet Art of Luis Buñuel and Almodóvar: Labyrinths of Passion.