TH Ch. 5 Medieval Theatre

Middle Ages in
Click the card to flip 👆
1 / 27
Terms in this set (27)
stabilizing force
center of intellectual and artistic life
church's power centralized in Rome (Vatican today)
church attacked traveling acrobats, comics, and circus-like troupes who kept theatre alive as sacrilegious & pagan
some theatre festivals continued in northern Europe that had been there since before Christianity began
Hrosvitha "hrossveetah"1st female playwright in western theatre overlooked for many centuries educated, noble birth nun of Gandersheim (convent) from germany had more opportunities, money, and protection due to class status Terence & her plays takes his themes of revenge, sacrifice, violence and makes them appropriate for her audience and her purpose to spread catholicism by elevating female virgins that were sacrificed she may have been a canoness overlooked until the 1970s and 1980s because she was a woman, a nun, religious in tone, her audience would have been within the conventLiturgical drama medieval drama is mostly religious, why?church omnipresent center of intellectual activities dramas performed in sanctuaries of churchs and cathedrals Grew out of religious services and changes in church music extended musical passages (TROPES) with lyrics almost like dialogue dramatic parts of church services that may have been performed (QUEM QUARITIS) By 1000, lots of short play sbased around "quem quaritis" encounter, will continue for about 650 years till Protestant Reformation also early musical dramas written by nunsQuem quaritisWhom do you seek?Liturgical drama performance practicesall in latin, performed by clergy and choir boys in church sanctuaries with: platea- central, open playing space mansions- smaller scenic structures depicting Biblical locations (like small set pieces) used existing architecture of church mansions indicate location, acting spilled back out into neutral platea mansions not moved backstage, no scene changes, on view entire time (keeping with view of God's omniscience linking all things)Mansionshad heaven and hellplateabig open neutral playing spaceVernacular dramawritten in vernacular around 1300-1500 CE developed alongside liturgical drama performed outside in spring, summer (no longer inside churches) 2 types: mystery/cycle plays; morality playsMystery/cycle playsfrom "ministerium" (religious service) a lot talk about christs miracles dramatized series of Biblical events such as creation or stories connected to biblical figures (lives of saints, etc) multiple mystery plays together = cycle play character portrayal striking - portrayed biblical figures as relatable and everyday people (noah's nagging wife for example) filled with anachronisms (reference or aspect that is out of time intentionally), but made stories relatable employed comedy, spectacle, special effects (noah's flood for example from rooftops)Episodic structureemerges in medieval religious drama around 1500 CE Quite significant has a major impact on all future western drama through til present momentWhat is episodic structure likemixes comedy & drama changes locale & time follows multiple plotlines loosely connected via a them (ex: as you like it and love)Both ____ and ______ narrative forms will dominate western theatre for next 500 years and continuing todayepisodic; climactic (Greek)Performance practices of mystery playsguilds (baker's guild for Last supper for ex.) community endeavor: cycle plays very elaborate & only every 2-10 years sometimes town councils and churches funded civic duty + church amateur actors performed in as religious duty & were responsible for incurred expenses supplied their own costumes (some contemporary clothes, some more historically accurate) pageant master coordinated plays as early director/producerStaging mystery/cycle playsProcessional - on wooded wheeled units called "pageant wagons" rolled through town Stationary - series of small scenic mansions lined up side by side on street or town center - heaven and hall as most elaborate mansions at opposite ends Sometimes used existing architecture like ruins of Roman amphitheaters used open, neutral playing space with audience imagination for scene changes and multiple location changes - large impact on all future western theatre (now in a forest, now in a house)Performance characteristics of mystery/cycle playsmusic and songs very important to medieval drama - actors singing songs - professional musicians accompanying performance and entertaining before, after, and in interludes in performance "secrets" - special effects controlled by "secretes master" - included: fly systems, rigging, trap doors, shiny surfaces for halo effects, sound effects & moreMorality playssignificant genre of vernacular drama Teach MORAL LESSONS through allegorical characters doesn't use latin anymore so everyday folks understand Allegory= people represent ideas (1 for charity, 1 for greed, etc {everyman}) spoken in vernacular and not performed inside churches, but are they truly secular or truly religious? morals take ideas learned from religion and put them into good vs. bad, ethics is right and wrong not truly religious cause its not religious stories, but not only secular cause it does deal with good vs bad often represents battle over soul of individual between good and evil Performed on neutral, RAISED stage by professional performers These plays mirror the late medieval move away from religious to more secular dramaOther Medieval theatre playsTraveling minstrels, jugglers, dancers kept alive theatrical tradition of traveling popular performance which connects back to earliest Greek theatre (connects to mimes) Were criticized as pagan and sacrilegious by church officials' traveling troupes began to seek stability and security from patrons - performed at their banquets in banqet halls for lords ladies in "interludes" Also had secular dramas: comic farces (comes a little bit out of satire and satyr plays) folk plays based on heroes (ex: robin hood, king Arthur) - important to remember: secular theatre was happening as liturgical drama and mystery/cycle plays were happeningDecline of religious theatreWhy? secular elements took over religious elements SO catholic church withdrew support of theatre (blamed in part for decline in catholic church) after protestant reformation, anglican church banned theatre as a tool of the catholic church Important change to remember: while religious theatre continues til today, religion after the middle ages was no longer western theatre's primary focus