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1. The Roman Catholic Church is important in the history of theatre for many reasons. First, church services were beginning to be more theatrical and performances would be staged in the churches. Secondly, the stories from the Bible were the material that the plays of this time were based on, liturgical drama. The churches would later aid in the organization of these dramas outside of the actual churches. Thus, without the Roman Catholic Church, theatre history may have been different.
2. The church architecture was important to medieval theatre in that the churches were used as performance areas for liturgical dramas. The performances used existing structures that were modified to serve as Christian locales in the empyrean heaven. These were structures were called mansions, sedes, loci, etc., and were representative of Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the clouds, etc. depending on where they were placed in the church’s floor plan. Now, one might ask why the churches were used to perform plays? Well, for centuries, disease droughts, shortages of foods, and wars had caused all of the conventional theatres to be abandoned or destroyed or ruined. Without stability in life, there isn’t a place for theatre. It was not until the sixth century that the monasteries and churches began to stage these religious dramas. With that, the church became the stage and that is why the architecture was important to medieval theatre.
3. Liturgical drama is a religious drama emerging from Christianity in the Middle Ages when the church added theatrical elements to worship to revitalize the ceremonies and to attract newcomers, especially Pagans, to Christianity. Examples of this are the ostentatious procession on Palm Sunday, making a figure eight through the center aisle and two halves of the pews. On Maundy Thursday, the altar is stripped and all religious markings, i.e. crosses, Chiros, are covered with a black cloth and the candles are extinguished. The aforementioned visual symbols were also a product of this time, when the followers could recognize elements from the Bible, (which is a drama itself). Music was also added to the services, in which there would be several a day, and a Greek-like chorus in which the celebrant would sing to, and the chorus would sing in response. This differs from vernacular drama in that it still has the purpose of worship behind it, whereas the latter is for mere entertainment. The Greeks did use these dramas at the festival for Dionysia, but it was the festival itself that served to honor the god, not the drama. The Greek dramas did have their element of religion in them, but the Greeks had characters that were more human the divine.
4. Guilds then were similar to the present day United Auto Workers. They originated between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and were not just limited to theatre. Butchers, bakers, and even candlestick makers set up these protective organizations against the hierarchy of feudalism. These guilds regulated working conditions, wages, standards of quality and dental plans (well, not really). The rise of these guilds came with growth in towns and migrant workers. The liturgical drams were still sponsored per se by the churches, but they were moving outdoors now and became more independent, with jurisdiction of the matters of the production being to the master within the guild. Thus, there was more theatre available in more locations, with a rise in quality, (although from what I have seen, the quality was still low), and mobility, which is what contributed to the popularity of these guilds.
5. An Episodic plot structure is one that contains periods of elapsed time, or that jumps between present and past. This was radically different from the continual plot structure that the Greeks used, in which there was no elapsation of time anywhere. This became acceptable in the Middle Ages because of the rise of liturgical drama. Both the Old and New testaments of Christianity contain large spaces of time between events, such as the span of a week in which Jesus is sentenced, crucified, and resurrected, known as the station s of the cross. This couldn’t possibly be staged unless the empty parts, when Jesus walks for miles, were trimmed done or deleted form the drama. That is why episodic plot structures became acceptable.
6. In medieval drama there were ways of staging a
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Theatre, Medieval drama, Entertainment, Culture, Ancient Greek theatre, Medieval literature, Medieval theatre, Drama, Liturgical drama, Church architecture, Greek chorus, Guild
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