Sensing Christ in the Resurrection plays of N-town
Marginalia, Vol. 6, (2006-2007 ) Cambridge Yearbook
Seeing, hearing and touching the body of Christ are actions repeatedly emphasised in the Resurrection plays of N-town. These physical encounters enact the historical proofs of the Resurrection claimed in the Gospels and in apocryphal narratives. At the same time, they dramatise the difficulty of recognising and believing in these proofs. Many scenes revolve around the moment when a character interprets the evidence of his or her senses and either succeeds or fails to recognise the Resurrected Christ. These moments show the audience that the corporal senses provide only limited, or fallible, understanding. Until they have sufficient faith, the characters are unable to believe that the person standing before them is the Resurrected Christ. But this lesson on the fallibility of the senses and the necessity of faith extends beyond belief in the historical Resurrection re-enacted on the stage. The plays persistently invite the audience to view the Resurrected Christ as a figure of the Eucharist and to affirm its faith in that sacrament – a sacrament that requires belief in the physical presence of the Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine – contrary to the evidence of the senses.