In Norfolk there were three performances Sheringham Little Theatre, St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth and RC Church of the Sacred Heart in North Walsham) of Mankind, a new musical Stage work by Michael Finnissy with Alexander Bower-Brown (baritone), a Company of actors directed by Neil Paris, CANTAMUS Choir and IXION instrumental ensemble.
It was preceded by a short concert of works by Leo Grant, Cole M Wilson, Morgan Hayes & Andrew Toovey
The text of ‘Mankind’ was written and first played in East Anglia around 1465 It is a lively social satire, in which the farmer Mankind must choose between good and evil At first he tries to improve himself, but finds it easier to join a band of ruﬃans He is seduced by a glamorous lady Devil, is almost driven to suicide, finds it hard to apologise, but finally redeems himself.
The music draws on neo-classicism and folk-music, following a style of musical theatre developed by Brecht and Kurt Weill in the 1920s, and later taken on by Britten in such works as ‘Noye’s Fludde’
Michael Finnissy writes “I feel, very strongly, that in this area, a large scale dramatic works such as my 75’ ‘Mankind’ would create more interest than a simple concert. The piece, based on a mediaeval morality play originating from East Anglian text) has any number of resonances for a contemporary audience, dealing with issues of socio-political skullduggery, self-interest, and remedies to correct the wrong-doing”.
Michael Finnissey, IXION Ensemble, Cantamus, Sherringham Little Theatre