medival theatre - Valley View High School

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Theatre
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History of Medieval Drama From Roman Spectacle to Miracle, Morality and Mystery Plays

Roman Times 

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Early Church Fathers tried to suppress spectacles of later Roman empire Christian emperors banned public acting Cessation of drama in western Europe until 10th century CE

Dramatic Liturgy and Liturgical Drama 

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drama revived within the liturgy of 10C Christian Church “dramatic” elements in the services from ritual to drama 

the Easter Quem quaeritis trope illustrates bible story

11th and 12th Century Drama 

Easter, Christmas and Innocents’ Day drama “non-liturgical” dramatizations of other stories from the Bible, e.g. Temptation of Adam and Eve, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Raising of Lazarus significant embellishment of Biblical text sophisticated creations of learned men; works of wisdom and piety, not designed to educate laity began to be staged outside the church

Miracle Plays 

Miracle Play = saint’s play  

popular from 12th century CE dramatization of life, martyrdom or miracles of a saint emphasis on lurid adventure and miraculous happenings fantastic stories, highly sensational free of Biblical constraints that characterized most church drama, but combined tale of adventure with act of worship often performed in church on the saint’s (feast) day

The Morality Play  

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new genre for theatre in early 14th century dramatization of spiritual crisis in the life of a representative individual Christian allegorical method of presentation - personified abstractions representing good and evil [Death shown as a person for ex] designed to instruct the faithful in correct behavior a formative influence on Renaissance drama


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Themes: Way to Salvation, Death, Worldly Encumbrances, The Sacraments, Priesthood, Power of the Church, Grace & Works. Symbols: Characters (Everyman et. al.), Book of Reckoning, The Journey, The Scourge, The Hole Passages: Death Arrives, EM appeals to Goods, Good Deeds is bound, Confession & Penance, Digression on Priests, EM enters the grave. Structure: Allegory, Morality Play. Context: Sacramental System, Rise of Merchants,

Mystery Plays 

14C - 16C in northern England (200 years)

drawn from books of the Bible; portrays divine history of the world very long, up to 16 hours divided into episodes, or pageants staged outdoors in the vernacular (Middle English), not in Latin whole community was involved (church/town) notable for scope, scale

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How were Mystery Plays Staged? 

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pageant wagons drawn in a procession through the town individual fixed scaffolds acting in the round (arena theatre) methods of production may have varied

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