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Medieval Theatre. The “dark ages”  The Middle Ages were the period between 500a.d.-1000a.d.  The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of this.

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Presentation on theme: "Medieval Theatre. The “dark ages”  The Middle Ages were the period between 500a.d.-1000a.d.  The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of this."— Presentation transcript:

1 Medieval Theatre

2 The “dark ages”  The Middle Ages were the period between 500a.d.-1000a.d.  The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of this era  Cities were abandoned and life became more agriculturally focused  The Roman Catholic Church controlled religion, education, and politics  The Middle Ages were the period between 500a.d.-1000a.d.  The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of this era  Cities were abandoned and life became more agriculturally focused  The Roman Catholic Church controlled religion, education, and politics

3 Rebirth of Theatre in the Middle Ages  The church shut down all theatrical activities for years, but jugglers, minstrels, and mimes still traveled from town to town.  Theatre was (ironically) reborn in the church in the form of liturgical dramas  In a liturgical drama, priests or members of the choir would enact small segments of the bible to eventually become short drama performances  In the beginning, the liturgical dramas were performed in Latin  The church shut down all theatrical activities for years, but jugglers, minstrels, and mimes still traveled from town to town.  Theatre was (ironically) reborn in the church in the form of liturgical dramas  In a liturgical drama, priests or members of the choir would enact small segments of the bible to eventually become short drama performances  In the beginning, the liturgical dramas were performed in Latin

4 Rebirth of Theatre  Later on, the liturgical dramas expanded into longer plays based on biblical stories and were performed in town squares, not in churches  These later performances were called vernacular drama because the were performed in the everyday speech of the people  Later on, the liturgical dramas expanded into longer plays based on biblical stories and were performed in town squares, not in churches  These later performances were called vernacular drama because the were performed in the everyday speech of the people

5 Medieval Drama Medieval Drama 3 types of religious plays were popular in the Medieval Period  Mystery (cycle) Plays: dramatized biblical events from Adam and Eve in the Old Testament through the stories of Christ in the New Testament  Miracle (cycle) Plays: dramatized the lives of Saints  Morality Plays: used religious characters and themes to teach a moral lesson 3 types of religious plays were popular in the Medieval Period  Mystery (cycle) Plays: dramatized biblical events from Adam and Eve in the Old Testament through the stories of Christ in the New Testament  Miracle (cycle) Plays: dramatized the lives of Saints  Morality Plays: used religious characters and themes to teach a moral lesson

6 The Plays  Virtually all of the plays were short; equivalent to one act plays today  Mystery and Miracle plays were often strung together to form a series known as a cycle  Often times, the story was taken out of the Biblical era and placed in present day. Also, the character were given conventional new names.  The plays mixed comedy and drama  Virtually all of the plays were short; equivalent to one act plays today  Mystery and Miracle plays were often strung together to form a series known as a cycle  Often times, the story was taken out of the Biblical era and placed in present day. Also, the character were given conventional new names.  The plays mixed comedy and drama

7 Wagon Pageant Wagon

8 Medieval Theatre Production  The plays took place across Europe including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England  Large stages were set up in the town square. These set ups were called mansions  Another convention was the use of pageant wagons which were rolling wagons that contained scenery and costuming including a backstage area and stage space.  The plays took place across Europe including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England  Large stages were set up in the town square. These set ups were called mansions  Another convention was the use of pageant wagons which were rolling wagons that contained scenery and costuming including a backstage area and stage space.

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10 Medieval Theatre Production  The stage accommodated any change in scenery by standing as a universal set or unidentified space.  This freedom of movement based on imagination was later developed and perfected by Renaissance Theatre in Spain and England  The stage accommodated any change in scenery by standing as a universal set or unidentified space.  This freedom of movement based on imagination was later developed and perfected by Renaissance Theatre in Spain and England

11 The Performers  The performers were usually local trade workers called Craft guilds.  These lay people (silversmiths, leather workers, carpenters, etc) rehearsed extensively and provided their own costumes & props  The productions could be quite lengthy, some lasted as long as 25 days.  The performers were usually local trade workers called Craft guilds.  These lay people (silversmiths, leather workers, carpenters, etc) rehearsed extensively and provided their own costumes & props  The productions could be quite lengthy, some lasted as long as 25 days.

12 The decline of the Middle Ages  Decline of religious theatre occurred due to the weakening of the church as a source of political power  The Protestant Reformation was largely responsible for the decline of religious material and for the movement toward secular, or non-religious, theatre  The Renaissance is born!  Decline of religious theatre occurred due to the weakening of the church as a source of political power  The Protestant Reformation was largely responsible for the decline of religious material and for the movement toward secular, or non-religious, theatre  The Renaissance is born!


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