The Medieval Plays Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Medieval Theater
Birth of theatre
The mass was primarily musical and the confident notes of the choir joined the organ tones.
Richly robed priests and ministrants passed in stately processions enveloped in incense. They read a lot of bible stories and sometimes displayed painted rolls which pictured the principle events of the days lesson.
However a lack was felt & accidently and slowly the dramatizing of the service began. First to be treated was the central incident of Christian faith.
During Good Friday service, the cross above the alter was taken down and laid beneath the alter which was a dramatic symbol of death & burial. On the Third day, easter Sunday the story of the ...view middle of the document...

In England, for example, the plays were either changed or banned as Protestantism came into power as they embibed Roman Catholic Theology.
Mystery Play’s
French word Mystere means secret. The term Mystery refers to Biblical truths or to the secrets of the crafts held by the guilds who were responsible for producing the plays.
In England these plays where produced in cycles, a series of plays depicting Biblical history from the creation to the last judgement; also known as cycle plays. The cycles were usually performed at the religious festival of corpus cristi (feast of Christ the king) in the spring or early summer.
In England, Mystery Plays were performed on pageant wagons. Each wagon held a different story and moved from location to location around the town. Each wagon was also the responsibility of a different trade guild (such as bakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and plasterers.) The guild’s who produced the play, took care of the wagon, built the sets, and made the costumes. Guilds often received stories related to their craft. The plays were written by the clergy and overseen by the church. The performances were produced by the guilds of each town and mostly by amateur actors. These productions were considered a religious duty and each guild invested resources into the productions.
Plays were often assigned to guilds associated with the subject matter of the play and became a kind of advertisement: Ship Builders – The Flood
Shepherds – The Nativity
Gold smiths – The Three Wise Men
Depending on the cycle, the series could take all day, or span multiple days. There are four intact cycles that remain from the era: Wakefield, York, Chester, and N-town. The Wakefield Cycle was the most comedic and irreverent of the four, often mentioning contemporary events. Chester was the most faithful to the religious nature of the original stories. In the N-town Cycle, N stands for the Latin word “nomen” which means name. Any town could use their own name for that cycle.
A common theme of Mystery Plays was to show a fall, then Redemption. Story examples include: Adam and Eve , Abraham and Isaac, The last supper, The resurrection. The cycles...

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