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MEDIEVAL THEATER

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by

Lora Baje

on 4 September 2013

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Transcript of MEDIEVAL THEATER

THEATER OF THE MEDIEVAL AGES
REVIVAL OF THEATER IN THE MIDDLE AGES
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Middle ages was divided into three stages:

EARLY
HIGH
LATE
LITURGICAL DRAMA
VERNACULAR DRAMA
MEDIEVAL AGES
EARLY
(1) Feudalism
(2) Revival of Theater
(a) Remnants of Roman Mimes
(b) Teutonic minstrelsy (northern Europe)
(c) Popular festivals and pagan rites (western Europe)
(d) Christian ceremonies
HIGH
(1) Full development of liturgical drama
(2) Town life revived and trades flourished
(a) Formation of guilds
(3) Feudalism declined
(4) Romanesque vs Gothic
(5) Learning
LATE
(1) Religious plays were outside churches
(2) Nations of modern Europe began to take shape
(3) Universities stimulated interest in secular learning
(4) Time of transition
Also known as the middle ages or dark ages.
During the first two phases, drama was only performed INSIDE the church.

It is called
LITURGICAL DRAMA.
During the Late Middle ages, it flourished in OUTDOOR productions.

It was called
VERNACULAR DRAMA
, which was further developed into
SECULAR DRAMA.
In 1375, religious drama has developed independent of the liturgy
Until the 16th century, controversy over religious beliefs
(Protestants vs. Roman Catholic) led to the suppression of plays everywhere.
It had survived for almost two hundred years in the Western Europe and it became its major theatrical expression.
PARTS OF THE STAGE:
Mansions
small scenic structures but vary in size and complexity
locate scene and house properties
Platea
generalized acting area
COSTUMES
Symbolic objects
Emblems
Angels – wings
Three Kings – non-clerical
Men
church vestments
Women
dalmatics (enveloping robe) with hoods pulled up to cover their heads
Shoes
DEVELOPMENT IN ACTING
Actors were clergy, choir boys, scholars, schoolboys.
Lines were chanted rather than spoken.
Schematic rather than realistic.
PRODUCTION PRACTICES
Patronage
Church
Audiences
Laymen
Fees
Free Admission
THEATER ARCHITECTURE
SECULAR DRAMA
THEATRICAL GENRE
Farce
Morality Play
Chambers of Rhetoric
Interludes
Tournaments
Mummings and Disguisings
FARCE
MORALITY PLAY
Characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which moral lessons are taught.
It is the secular form closes in tone to the cycle plays.
CHAMBERS OF RHETORIC
Performed by Chambers of Rhetoric in Low Countries.
Concerned with drama, poetry and music.
Chambers composed and performed answers in the form of allegorical dramas.
Performed in either indoor or outdoors.
INTERLUDES
The label probably derives from the practice of presenting plays between the parts of some other event.
It was associated with the rise of the professional actor.
The typical place for performing interludes was the "great hall" of a noble residence.
TOURNAMENTS
THE END OF MEDIEVAL DRAMA
REASONS FOR THE DOWNFALL
- Church had weakened by internal conflicts.
- Princes sought ways of gaining control over religious affairs.
- Rise of universities that revived a new spirit of questioning.
Relationship of theater to society underwent a drastic change.
Before: Noblemen and rulers were private patrons that sustained theater.
After: Deprived of its religious and civi functions.
The period in European history from the fall of Rome to the period of Renaissance.
THEATRICAL GENRES
Religious: stylization with realism
God's ordering of existence as revealed in the:
Bible
Apocrypha
Legends about biblical figures and saints
Writings of the Church fathers
Sermons
FIXED
most common; outdoor stage
occasionally: indoor platforms
MOVABLE
English staging
Processional
Wagons
Two rooms, six wheels (Rogers)
One-level, w/ scaffold cart (Wickham)
STAGE
Playing Space:
mansions
platea
Fixed Stage: visible simultaneously
Movable Stage: limited
Plays: divided into "journées"
Scenic complexity might vary daily
Most Often
HEAVEN: awe-inspiring, raised
HELL: terrifying, four parts
Curtain: conceal or reveal interior scenes
SCENERY
"secrets"
Flying
Pulleys and Windlasses
Concealed with paint/cloths
Trap Doors beneath the stage
Sudden appearance/disappearance
Skillful substitution of effigies
Use of Effigies
Transformation Scenes
Light/Reflection
Machinists: second to the Directors in importance
SPECIAL EFFECTS & MACHINERY
Like counterparts in medieval life
Identifying emblem
Actors supply own costume
Source: clergy, nonparticipating individuals, producers
Detailed descriptions from director
DEVELOPMENT IN ACTING
COSTUMES
Fixed Stage: Casting, more complicated
Majority of Actors
drawn from local population
merchant/working class
male
'No one was to appear in more than two plays'
Doubling Roles
Single Role, More than One Actor
Good Faith & Discipline
Oath and Notary
Supervisory Committee
Rehearsals and Fines
Sponsoring Organization
Professionalism
DEVELOPMENTS IN DIRECTING
"Pageant Master"
secure actors, arrange rehearsals, take charge of every phase of production
supply men for wagon, crowd control
indicates structure representations
Director's Scroll
Prompt Books
Director's Duties (Jean Bouchet)
oversee the erection of stage, and placement of scenery and machines
find persons to build and paint scenery, to construct seating for audience
ensure that all goods delivered are of the proper amount and quality.
cast and rehearse actors
discipline actors and establish a scale of fines
MAY act some roles
address audience before play and after intermission
give a resume of previous events and promise greater marvels
PRODUCTION PRACTICES
PATRONAGE
Depends on type of organization
Trade guilds
present plays as their contribution to religious festival
plays assigned on basis of appropriateness
Town Council
AUDIENCE
All classes
Prevented in getting too near the stage using barriers
Sometimes, children, elderly and pregnant were forbidden to enter
FEES
Cast in the play paid fees and furnished costumes/properties
Local chapter of clergy provide money
Admission was charged and salvaged materials were sold after
Free to English plays
Possible that bidders erected barriers and charged admissions
Free to English plays
Some productions were designed to make money
Origin:
a. "Paster Noster" prayers
b. Popular outdoor preachers
c. Literature
Elaborate mansions were sometimes built for court performances, but more usually no scenery was used.
Most interludes were written for small troupes usually of 8 actors.
INTERLUDES
Show imperfect humanity within the social order.
Marital infidelity, cheating, hypocrisy are typical subjects
Typically they are short in verses and emphasize sex and body excretions.
Began in the 10th century as a means of training knights in warfare.
Knights were fighting to capture mansions representing such allegorical conceits.
Spectators were carefully segregated according to sex and rank.
They were principally court entertainment.
It is usually performed at Christmas season.
Some actors went house to house presenting plays and pantomimes.
MUMMINGS AND DISGUISINGS
REASONS FOR THE DOWNFALL
Church calendar
commemorate particular Biblical events on specific days of the year
Easter
Christmas
THEATRICAL GENRES
Benedictine monasteries
Cathedrals
THEATER ARCHITECTURE
Full transcript