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Medieval Theatre

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Melanie Vargas

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Medieval Theatre

Medieval Theatre By: Melanie Vargas
Dp Theatre Little is Known about theater
between 600-1000 A.D Lack of surviving records and texts
Low literacy rate in general population
Clergy opposed to several types of performances
Low and High periods History After the fall of Rome in 4Th
and 5Th centuries, came a period
known as the “Dark Ages”
Political Turmoil – no reliable
political structure
Church = only stable “government” Early Medieval period They needed means to communicate the church’s message
925 – 975: Drama becomes reintroduced
Stage small sections of biblical events and religious celebrations Bibliography "Introduction to Theatre -- Medieval Theatre." Nova Online Home Page. http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/medieval.htm (accessed October 7, 2012).
Cassock, Alexandra . "alexandracassocks.com." alexandracassocks.com. http://www.alexandracassocks.com/ (accessed October 7, 2012).
"Christmas Traditions in Norway | Stavanger Expats." Stavanger Expats | . http://www.stavangerexpats.com/christmas-traditions-in-norway (accessed October 7, 2012).
"Medieval theatre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_theatre (accessed October 7, 2012).
"Mount Saint Agnes - Hrotsvit of Gandersheim: 10th Century Poet and Playwright." Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women. http://www.mountsaintagnes.org/Resources/ResearchPapers/Detail.aspx?id=636 (accessed October 7, 2012). Liturgical Drama 6th century = Emperor Justinian shut down all theaters
Church’s Binary ideology = If it was not Gods it was the Devils
Church fathers Tartian, Tertullian and Augustine: stage = devils plot Continued 1 Because theatre was popular in Rome it was seen as diabolical threat to christianity
Acting = sinful because of cruel mockery Continued 2 First Extant Drama Four line dramatization of Jesus’ resurrection
Came from an Easter Trope
Sung by a choir called “Quem Quaeritis” 935 973
Aristocratic canoness and historian in North Germany
First dramatist of the post-classical era
Wrote six plays based off of Terence’s comedies Hrosvitha of Gandersheim Technical tricks would be easier on fixed stages
Mansion and Platea were borrowed from church
Simultaneous display of locations = also borrowed
Two kinds of stages: Fixed and Moveable Staging Plays were in Vernacular
Laymen began performing
Members of community and unpaid
Plot lines began to stray from bible
The church seemed in support By 1350 – Medieval Drama
outside the Church Had little sense of history limited literacy
Anachronism were common (ex: The Second Shepherds Play)
Comic elements appear in otherwise serious plays
Purpose = teach biblical principals
Mind = Temeporal world(earth) as transitory / Heaven and Hell as eternal realities The Medieval Drama Increased interest in classical learning
Social structure = change
Dissension in church = prohibition of religious plays

By late 16th Medieval drama had lost power The Decline At first” church had control inside and outside the church
Later: secular groups started controlling
EX: Bakers’ Guild = Last Supper plays while Shipwrights’ Guild = Noah plays
But church still had to approve script Control Most plays were still inside church
Still in Latin- The language of the Church
Played by priests, clerics and altar boys Before 1200 A.D Mansions
Small scenic structures that indicate location
Ex: a throne might equal the palace of Pilate
General acting area- adjacent to mansion
Ex: choir loft = heaven, the altar= tomb of christ Liturgical Drama Staging Overseer
Keeper of the Register
Master of Secrets Positions Mansions were set up where space was available
Courtyards, town squares
Usually straight lines, rectangles or circles
Heaven and Hell were opposite Fixed Very complex cycles
Very intricate machinery
Flying was common
Heaven on right, hell on left, earth in the middle
Platforms covered with cotton (glories for angles)
Trap doors
Fire - hell mouth Some General Characteristics Pageant Wagons
Move through streets like parades
Plays performed in sequence (many times)
Some sources say they must have been over 12 ft. tall Moveable Performed in cycles: 3 types
Mystery about Christ or Old Testament
Miracle Lives of saints, historical and legendary
Morality didactic allegories The Religious Plays Teach or reinforce the lessons of Church
Melodramatic: Good = reward, Evil = punished
God and his plan were the driving force (not characters) Characteristics Moralities allegories based on different gods. (some politics)
Mummings and Disguisings at wealthy homes for holidays
Interludes / Masques between courses and banquets (intricate dances) Medieval Secular Plays Professional, not amateurs, actors were needed
Professional theatre = commercial
No longer religious plays The Results By 975 the little dramas blossomed
Many playlets developed
They dealt with biblical events and themes
Easter, Christmas, the 12th Night (usually serious)
But Feast of fools and Feast of Boy Bishops had dancing and comedy Machinery = to fly Christ and angels
Costumes = ordinary church wardrobe
By 1200 some were being performed outside because of expanding needs Characteristics Noll, Paul. " Throne." Paul and Bernice Noll Website. http://www.paulnoll.com/Books/5000-Words/6000-pic-throne.html (accessed October 7, 2012).
Norman, Jeremy. "The Code of Justinian (529 â“ 533) : From Cave Paintings to the Internet." Timeline Outline View: From Cave Paintings to the Internet. http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=21 (accessed October 7, 2012).
Plockhorst, Bernhard. "Easter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter (accessed October 7, 2012).
"Prophecy In The Making: 2012: THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW DARK AGES.." Prophecy In The Making. http://prophecyinthemaking.blogspot.com/2011/12/2012-beginning-of-new-dark-ages.html#!/2011/12/2012-beginning-of-new-dark-ages.html (accessed October 7, 2012).
e, Michelle, Bulala e, and Lesley e. "Medieval Theatre: Movable Stage: Pageant Wagon By Lesley." Medieval Theatre. http://medievaltheatre13.blogspot.com/2010/05/movable-stage-pageant-wagon-by-lesley.html (accessed October 7, 2012). Continued History
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