Medieval Theatre

Topics: Mystery play, Drama, Medieval drama Pages: 3 (1652 words) Published: November 5, 2014

With the decline of the Roman Empire so went Greek and Roman Dramatic Theatre. Minstrels and Troubadours
Beginning in the 5th or 6th century traveling performers named Minstrels and Troubadour’s began to travel castle to castle and town to town. Their performances were often vulgar and flamboyant; using colorful costumes and many times using musical instruments in their performances. Although their content tended to be crass and vulgar it did lend itself to themes of the day. That being themes of religious and political nature. Their style of performance was very similar to that of the Old Roman Theatre. They performed at festivals and fairs of the day, not to mention in open town roads. Liturgical Dramas

During this time period in Europe the Catholic Church became the preeminent authoritative power. Many local ordinaries (Bishops, Cardinals, and Abbotts) had the opinion that this form of entertainment was inappropriate. They felt that drama lead the people away from what should be important to them mainly, God and the Church. They viewed this as unholy in nature. Latin was the universal language of the church. Throughout the western world, many of the laity had a hard time connecting to the liturgy at mass due to a lack understanding what was being said during the liturgy (mass). The local clergy began to feel that true depth of the liturgy was being lost. This was especially true during holidays and feast days. About the 9th century priests, monks, nuns and choir boys began to interject, act out parts of the liturgy to enhance its effectiveness, and in an attempt to aid in reaching the faithful. They became the first actors and playwrights to the liturgical drama. Slowly, other scenes began to be added to the liturgy from scripture and began to make there way into the churches. Miracle Plays

Slowly other scenes from scriptures were enacted. Church dramas may not have been artistic in nature but they did show very reverently their...

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Gayley, Charles Mills. Plays of Our Forefathers; and Some of the Traditions upon Which
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Jacobus, Lee A. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Drama. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford, 1996. 122-34. Print.
Mathews, Brander. "The Development of Drama." N.p., n.d. Web.
Wamen, Kate Mary. “Morality & Miracle Plays” The Catholic Encylopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 2, Nov. 2014 <
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