Festival of Early Drama takes place in Toronto from June 5th to 7th

Festival of Early Drama

Poculi Ludique Societas (PLS) continues its year-long celebration of fifty years of performance research practice at the University of Toronto with the Festival of Early Drama.

Imagining Islam: The Role of Images in Medieval Depictions of Muslims

Song of Roland

Instead, one finds accurate, even rather compassionate accounts of Islamic theology side by side with bizarre, antagonistic, and even hateful depictions of Muslims and their belief.

An actress’ approach to the role of Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion In Winter by James Goldman

eleanor of aquitaine played by Rosemary Harris

The story of her struggle with her husband, Henry II, at the time of the death of their eldest son, Henry the Young King, in 1183, has been made into a play by James Goldman, called The Lion in Winter, which was produced successfully on Broadway in March, 1966.

The Saint’s Play in Medieval England

medieval drama

Plays about saints—their lives, martyrdoms, and miracles—flourished in England for more than three centuries side-by-side with the Corpus Christi cycles.

Religious Education as the Basis of Medieval Literature

The figure of Grammatica, the first stage of medieval education, threatens an inattentive student with her birch - south portal, Chartres cathedral, c.1150. Photo courtesy University of Leicester

The medieval literature was written with a purpose to teach Christian dogmas to the masses. The prose and poetry of the time meant to show men the ugliness of sin and the beauty of goodness.

THINGS TO SEE: Murder in the Cathedral

Death of Thomas Becket

This is my review of the T.S. Eliot’s play, “Murder in the Cathedral”, on at St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, London.

Staging Medievalisms: Touching the Middle Ages through Contemporary Performance

gandalf-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug

Examining the Middle Ages through modern eyes: movies, TV, stage, tourism and books. How do we perform the Middle Ages?

Substitution: Theatrical Sleight of Hand in Medieval Plays

Medieval plays

Substitution is concerned with replacing one thing with another. This is straight forward enough. But to what extent is the replacement indistinguishable from the original in order to qualify as substitution?

‘The Best Paper Assignment Ever!’ Teaching Medieval Drama Through Writing

Timothy Wright plays Herod in A Medieval Christmas - photo by Tom Sheridan

I still want students to move from the page to the stage, and to think of the cultural contexts of performance in the past and in our present, especially since so much of medieval drama’s richness is only apparent in the fullness of its cultural and historical contexts.

Let the Drama Begin

medieval drama

Unlike in many of today’s performances, audiences were encouraged to participate in the action, heckling the ‘bad guys’ and cheering for the ‘good guys.’

And The Angel Spake unto Harunobu: A Japanese Christian miracle story of 1591

Map_of_Japan_by_Keampfer

The early-modern, Portuguese-sponsored Jesuit mission to Japan left behind a body of Christian literature in Japanese whose alphabetic texts have been a treasure trove for linguists, its existence a point of pride for Christian sectarians, and its content rich material for historians.

Sal ich von den Ioden liten große pin? – Integration and Isolation in the Medieval German Christmas Play

nativity medieval

I would like to start with two responses to the performance of Christmas plays that provide some insight into their effect on the socialization of the Christian communities in which they were performed.

A Medieval Christmas: Such Splendid Sight Was Never Seen

christmas play

Take in this medieval play in Toronto on Friday December 13th and Saturday, December 14th

Sound, body and space: audience experience in late medieval English drama

medieval drama

This thesis offers a new approach to the study of actor-audience relations in late medieval English drama and endeavours not only to emphasise the performative elements of medieval plays, but also the effects that they may have produced in performance.

Caught in the (One-)Act: Staging Sex in Late Medieval French Farce

Medieval Drama

Caught in the (One-)Act: Staging Sex in Late Medieval French Farce Sharon D. King Paper given at the 14th Triennial Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l’étude du Théâtre Médiéval Poznań, Poland, 22nd – 27th July (2013) Abstract Among the myriad subjects for comical delectation of audiences of late medieval France,the rules and roles of […]

Taking (and Giving) Blows: Patterns of Violence and Spectacle in Le Mystère de Saint Martin (1496)

What I would like to do here is examine the passages of violence and other bits of scenography, moving from the macro to the micro level and back again, over the three- day play. With 260 rubrics (stage directions) embodied in the text, a manuscript nearly contemporaneous with the performance itself, we have a unique opportunity to visualize much of the action on stage.

Corpus Christi Plays and the Stations of the Cross: Medieval York and Modern Sydney

Medieval mystery play

The earliest surviving reference to the Corpus Christi festival in York is dated 1322, when Archbishop William Melton commended it as „the glorious feast of the most precious sacrament of the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ‟. In 1408 the York Guild of Corpus Christi was established „as a confraternity of chaplains and lay persons, with the encouragement of the city government, probably to form the focus of the civic Corpus Christi Day procession‟.

The Virgin Mary in High Medieval England, A Divinely Malleable Woman: Virgin, Intercessor, Protector, Mother, Role Model

Virgin with Cistercian nun

This thesis examines the significance of the Virgin Mary in England between the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century. The primary sources selected indicate the variety of ideas circulating about her during this period. Strictly religious texts such as the Bible and early Christian writings ground Late Medieval beliefs about Mary in their historical context.

The Music of the Medieval Body in Pain

Miniature of six scenes from the Passion of Christ, from the De Lisle Psalter (Arundel 83 II): Christ before Pilate, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Herod and a Jewish priest, the Blindfolding of Christ, the Flagellation of Christ, and Christ carrying the cross.

In the fifteenth-century Passion d’Auvergne, the rounding up of martyrs for persecution inspires torturer Maulbec to teach his cronies the words of a hunting song which imitates the cries of wounded animals.

The Body of Christ: Sacred Street Theater in Medieval England

Medieval Mystery Play by Joseph Ratcliffe Skelton

As many as forty-six plays, amounting to more than thirteen thousand lines of verse, may have preceded the performance of the Doomsday play. Together they hit most of the highlights of the Christian canon and apocrypha.

The Elder Edda Revisited: Past and Present Performances of the Icelandic Eddic Poems

Elder Edda

What first struck me when I started my research on the Elder Edda is that, during the past four decades, several theatre practitioners have experimented with presentations of some of the poems and demonstrated that they can be highly effective in dramatic performance.

Dancing Devils and Singing Angels: Dance Scenes in German Religious Plays

Passion Play - Germany

The early Church had a mostly critical attitude towards the dance. It was said that those who dance cherish heathen godheads and that they allow their bodies rule over their minds. Repeatedly, the synods prohibited religious dances and/or dances within churches.

English Mystery Plays – Staging Patterns and Orality Features

English Mystery Plays

Medieval English theatre is a term covering a large body of plays, performances and theatrical activities. The entire period of medieval drama spans for five hundred years.

Shakespeare’s Richard II: Machiavelli for the Good of England

Richard II

The name Machiavelli has negative connotations, and this way of thinking is not new. Throughout Europe, in Shakespeare’s time and earlier, Machiavellianism was associated with unscrupulous abuse of power, and Machiavellian methods were seen as immoral and evil.

The Sad Death of a King: The Legacy of Richard the Second

Richard II the play

This thesis will examine the manner in which Shakespeare drew upon existing sources material to depict a king whose inherent character flaws made him unworthy of his crown.

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