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MEDIEVAL THEATRE

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Plays were often funny. Often used moveable stage 'pageant wagon' PAGEANT WAGONS ... Funny, very secular in content. About a prankster shepherd named Mak ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MEDIEVAL THEATRE


1
MEDIEVAL THEATRE
  • Also known as
  • GOTHIC or MIDDLE AGES

2
500-900AD.
  • Not much theatre performed
  • New Christian rulers forbid theatre as pagan
    (not orthodox to their current religion)
  • Greek and Roman plays ignored, forgotten

3
Development of Church Drama_at_10th Century AD
  • To make religious lessons more graphic
  • To counteract allure of secular entertainment
  • Performed in conjunction with religious holidays

4
Mystery Plays
  • Based on stories from the Christian Bible
  • Performed inside the church, at stations of the
    cross
  • Mansion-simple, symbolic scenic device to
    indicate locale
  • Platea-area in front of mansion for acting
  • Costumes-simple, contemporary, symbolic
  • Actors are clergymen

5
Mystery Plays
  • _at_1200ADPlays move outside church
  • Very popular with illiterate congregations, big
    crowds
  • Interferes with liturgy
  • Increasing scenic demands

6
Mystery Plays_at_1450 AD
  • Cost and physical production taken over by
    secular (non-religious) groups
  • Church still supervises content
  • Plays translated from Latin to vernacular (common
    language of the population)
  • Performers are lay people, not clergy

7
Mystery Plays
  • Stationary stage
  • Mansions set up in row, side by side
  • Heaven is stage right
  • Hell is stage left
  • Earthly locales in between
  • Hellmouth most popularspecial machinery or
    secrets
  • Realism not a factor, use of symbolism

8
CYCLE Plays
  • A group of mystery plays performed together
  • Usually grouped and named for the city that
    presented them York cycle, Wakefield cycle,
    etc.
  • Most popular in England as part of Corpus Christi
    Festival
  • Plays within cycle may be produced by different
    organizations guilds

9
Cycle Plays in Festivals
  • Often part of a procession through town
  • Performed in town square, or a field on outskirts
    of town
  • Guilds responsible for one or two mystery plays
    each
  • Plays were often funny
  • Often used moveable stage pageant wagon

10
PAGEANT WAGONS
  • Platform on wheels
  • Pulled by men
  • Small enough to fit down narrow streets
  • Could be up to 15 wide, 8deep, 12high
  • May have had second platform, pulled behind
  • Carried scenic elements and properties
  • Tiring Houserear of platform, curtained, as
    off-stage and dressing area

11
Pageant Wagon
  • A simple pageant wagon

12
Pageant Wagon
  • Pageant wagons had to fit down narrow European
    streets

13
Pageant Wagon
14
Pageant Wagon
  • With platea off to one side

15
Second Shepherds Play
  • 13th mystery play in Wakefield Cycle
  • Wakefield Cycle had 38 plays
  • Based on one line in Christian Bible And there
    were in the same country shepherds abiding in the
    field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  • Funny, very secular in content
  • About a prankster shepherd named Mak

16
Other Types of Popular Religious Drama
  • Passion Plays--- life, death, and resurrection
    of a religious figure (not always Christian)
  • Miracle Plays---lives of saints and martyrs
  • Morality Plays---spiritual trials of the
    average man allegorical symbolic characters
    like Greed, Death, Jealousy popular
    1400-1550 more secular EVERYMAN

17
Decline of Medieval Drama
  • In England, dissention within the church leads to
    prohibition of religious plays
  • The Renaissance brings interest in more secular
    entertainment
  • General waning of Church power and support
  • Theatre becomes more commercial
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