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The Sword of Anathema
AuthorMANKTELOW, Roger - Other Plays by this Author - Contact Author
FormatFull-length.
Synopsis Set in the 11th century the play is a fiction based on the Investiture Dispute between Pope Gregory 7th and Henry 4th, king of Germany. It covers the period from Easter 1076 to the following January. It begins with the excommunication of Gregory, engineered by Henry at Utrecht Cathedral. This was in response to his own earlier excommunication by Gregory. At the time Henry was at the height of his powers, having recently seen off a challenge by the German Barons. Gregory however was isolated and friendless, trapped in Rome. Immediately after the excommunication two extraordinary events occurred. On the very same day Utrecht Cathedral burnt to the ground and, shortly afterwards, bishop William, who had conducted the ceremony, experienced a sudden and very painful death. Both were seen by Henry as signs from god, the first of his anger, the second, paradoxically, as vindication. Encouraged by this Henry then embarks on another reckless campaign against the German Barons and this time he loses badly. He becomes isolated, and, being an excommunicate, he is doubly vulnerable. The very authority on which his monarchy rested is undermined thereby. As a result Gregory's power increases, he links up with Germans and with their help he seeks to depose Henry and embarks on a journey to meet with them. Henry's only hope of saving his crown is to meet with Gregory and beg forgiveness. This is the last thing Gregory wants and he does everything to avoid a meeting. His fear is that were he to meet with him he would be forced to lift the excommunication, thereby undermining his own power and potentially restoring Henry's. After a desperate journey, Henry catches up with Gregory in Italy, at the castle at Canossa. Henry then, for three days, prostrates himself in the snow, begging forgiveness, before Gregory is forced to concede, thereby succumbing to his worst nightmare. In the end Henry becomes the victor whilst Gregory is consigned to obscurity. It is a study of the power of forgiveness and how strength can grow from weakness. Please note, If you experience any difficulties in downloading this play it can be accessed by using the 'edit' button on the tool bar on the download page. If you continue to have difficulties please contact me and I will send an email of the file.
InformationBased on real people/events
Cast10M 4F (minimum 8)
Production
StatusAvailable for performance
DOWNLOADS - these do not include any performance rights
FileDateDescriptionAvailabilityPurchase
The Sword of Anathema.rtfWed, 28th Sep 2005Full ScriptAvailable to read: £0.00Download here
The Beginning of Time.docThu, 29th Sep 2005Full scriptAvailable to read: £0.00Download here
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Roger Manktelow
New playwright, ex radar technician, social worker and manager of a small charity. Aged 60 living in Sheffield currently a semi-retired voluntary worker and writer of historical dramas, three so far. 'The Sword of Anathema' concerning the 11th Century Investiture Dispute. 'The Beginning of Time' a study of opportunism during the Black Death. 'The Book of Recipes' about the Renaissance Italian 'Virago' Katerina Sforza. I am also a member of Script Yorkshire.


UK Theatre Web. UK. 2004-18
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