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Medieval Theatre

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Medieval Theatre History of Theatre 900-1500 AD Modern Perspective International in scope and religious in nature Began as a springtime religious observance ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Medieval Theatre


1
Medieval Theatre
  • History of Theatre
  • 900-1500 AD

2
Modern Perspective
  • International in scope and religious in nature
  • Began as a springtime religious observance
  • Celebrated common mythos- the Old and New
    Testaments of the Bible

3
The York Cycle
  • Actors would get in costume and hop on wagons
  • Crowds were gather in the streets to watch them
    pass
  • The wagons would often have two levels to portray
    heaven and hell

4
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5
The Procession
  • The wagons paraded through town, stopping before
    the homes of dignitaries
  • Each wagon is responsible for the telling of a
    biblical tale
  • This took place every year on Corpus Christi Day
  • Began with The Creation and Fall of Lucifer
  • Ended with The Judgment Day

6
Corpus Christi Day
  • A feast day that celebrates The Last Supper
  • Primarily came about from a nun named Juliana of
    Liege
  • actual date of Corpus Christi changes each year

7
Conditions of Performance
  • It was a religious theatre, therefore its
    bookings, costumes, dialogue and staging came
    from the Church calendar

8
Background
  • After the fall of Rome, and before the
    renaissance, the time is called Middle Ages.
  • A very active time as cathedrals were built, the
    crusades occurred, and kingdoms were divided and
    conquered
  • The foundations for modern languages were laid
    during this time

9
Background continued
  • The Church was extremely opposed to any other
    type of theatre due to the mimes. They still did
    exist though.
  • The Church developed its own dramatic ceremonies
    to combat the appeal of pagan rights
  • Pagans believed in multiple gods. (i.e.. The
    Ancient Greeks)

10
Religious and Civic Purposes
  • The Church felt dramatized episodes made moral
    lessons more graphic and easier to understand.
  • The Church calendar provided several holidays to
    develop theatre
  • Drama remained inside the Church Walls for 200
    years
  • The first ever play was called Quen Quaeritis

11
Quem Quaritis
  • 3 women looking to dress the corpse of Christ
  • Find out from an angel that Christ has risen
  • Shows grief turning into joy

12
Management
  • Some major changes began to take place by 1400
  • Short religious plays were put together to make
    longer plays
  • Were staged during Spring and Summer
  • Everyday language replaced Latin
  • Regular people replaced clergy as the actors and
    producers

13
Festival Theatre
  • The church still had to approve
  • Between 1350-1500 Medieval theatre flourished
  • Clergy began to reduce its participation
  • Towns began to finance and produce the festivals
  • Producers oversaw everything, they got choirs,
    nobles loaned costumes, meals were prepared and
    lodging was provided. Laborers built the staging.
    Basically the whole community helped

14
Playwriting
  • Anonymous
  • Clergy wrote the four-line playlets
  • Later the dialogue was expanded
  • As it became more elaborate, more playwrights
    were recruited
  • This opened the door for professional playwrights

15
Acting and Rehearsing
  • Rehearsals took place over months
  • Held between dawn and beginning of the work day
  • Actors were fined for lateness, not knowing lines
    or being drunk
  • Multiple playlets were rehearsed at the same time

16
Actors
  • Some received fees
  • At first it was to reimburse the actors
  • Late 1600s began to see professional actors
  • Very few women performed in medieval plays
  • Only exceptions were for female Saints
  • There were two reasons male hierarchy and
    trained choir boys had better projection

17
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18
Visual Elements
19
Staging
  • Were performed on fixed or movable stages
  • The fixed stage was usually against buildings on
    one side of town square, or in an amphitheatre
  • The movable stages were wagons
  • Usually broken into three parts from left to
    right Hell, Earth, and Heaven
  • Nothing was depicted in its entirety. Very little
    illusion of a real place.

20
Special Effects
  • Producers gave great attention to secrets
  • Examples included Hell issuing fire, smoke and
    cries of the damned, trapdoors, pulleys and
    ropes.
  • Due to this we began to see semiprofessionals
    begin to develop for scenery and special effects

21
Costumes and Props
  • Two types of garments ecclesiastical robes and
    everyday clothes
  • Accessories such as wings were added
  • Props were used to identify characters i.e.
    sword, mirror, snakes etc..)
  • Heaven reps dressed to awe
  • Hell reps dressed to scar
  • Common humans dressed according to rank
  • Great detail went into designing the devil

22
Music
  • Music was prevalent in medieval theatre
  • Heavenly scenes featured beautiful choruses
  • Trumpets announced god
  • Vocal and Instrumental music bridged
    intermission.
  • Singing was down by choirboys and actors
  • Instruments were played by professionals

23
Popular Entertainments
24
Mummings
  • Masquerade balls
  • Related to drama due to disguise, processions and
    need for a spokesperson
  • In time it included music, song, dance, scenery,
    and texts.
  • Usually a mumming play would end with the
    collection of money to pay for refreshments and
    local charities

25
Street Pageants
  • When dignitaries would come to town they would
    set up stages all along the street
  • Clerks and children would then address them with
    songs and speeches
  • This provided a sense of civic pride

26
The Audience
  • Spectators came from surrounding towns and
    countryside all classes came
  • Posters were put up on city gates and invitations
    were sent out to neighboring towns
  • A trumpeter rode through town announcing the
    events
  • Work was forbidden during performance time
  • Most were free, however in some of Europe there
    was a fee
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