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Middle Ages: Medieval Drama 476 A.D.-13 th century History of Drama.

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Presentation on theme: "Middle Ages: Medieval Drama 476 A.D.-13 th century History of Drama."— Presentation transcript:

1 Middle Ages: Medieval Drama 476 A.D.-13 th century History of Drama

2 Middle Ages/Dark Ages/Medieval?? Which one? Same time period Medieval—used as an adjective Dark ages—no cultural activity Most people were illiterate Little travel=no exchange of ideas

3 Medieval Drama Fall of Rome— Renaissance Black Plague For 400 years, no drama except Several folk festivals Wandering jugglers and minstrels

4 Troupe Church introduced short dramas during masses, called troupes. Ironic because the church banned drama Troupes began in France, then soon spread throughout the continent. Helped people understand the Bible stories Began to educate the illiterate, 1 st acted in Latin then the common vernacular so everyone could understand. Acted out by priests and choirboys

5 Mansions Scenes were so popular that whole stories emerged Small platforms, mansions, were erected in the church Crowds moved from mansion to mansion until they saw the entire story A nun, Hrosvitha, wrote a religious comedy that was performed on mansions in the 10 th century.

6 The 5 M’s Mummings Earliest style of Medieval Drama Pagan roots Not politically correct Public processions Include summer/winter solstices and autumn equinoxes

7 The 5 M’s Mystery Play Community effort Used the tops of wagons for a stage Women could act Scripture stories

8 The 5 M’s Morality Play Allegorical Taught right from wrong Entertaining Focus on death (Everyone goes with death eventually) Post plague Characters personified abstract qualities Ex: Everyman

9 The 5 M’s Miracle Play Dramatized the lives of saints Not always realistic

10 The 5 M’s Manners Late Medieval Focus on social and secular instead of religious Depicted people acting socially inappropriate

11 Medieval Comedy 13 th or 14 th century – productions focused on comedy so they moved from church to marketplace Theater once again secular Bible stories became comical

12 Staging Devices Hell’s Mouth – dragon jaw that would open with smoke and flames; sometimes showed tortured souls

13 Presentation Style Some towns, mansions would provide a backdrop for heaven at one end and hell would be portrayed at another location with parts of the story in between Crowds would move to see the action. Marketplace stages, situated around the square England, France, and Netherlands developed the Pageant Wagon

14 Medieval Pageant Wagon Double-decker Lower story for costume changes Action on upper stage and around the street. Similar to parade floats.

15 Passion Play Late middle ages, the passion play developed. Depicted Christ’s life through resurrection Passion play in Oberammergau, Germany Residents of Bavarian village vowed that to be spared from the Black Plague, they would put on a passion play every 10 years Village was spared, began performances in 1633 Still performing today, every 10 years. Only year not performed: 1940

16 Secular Plays Several non-religious plays were developed in Medieval times Most notable are the Robin Hood Plays and Master Pierre Patelin

17 Impact of Medieval Drama Main Impact: Because the actors got much closer to their audience, acting became more important than dialogue. Also…Mixed comedy and seriousness, which transitioned into Italian and Elizabethan drama.

18 Italian and Spanish Renaissance

19 Italian Renaissance Ancient writers were rediscovered Rebirth of learning led to in-depth look at arts and sciences Movement toward literacy: Invention of printing press Began in Italy Leonardo da Vinci Petrarch Michelangelo Machiavelli

20 Commedia dell’Arte: Comedy of Professional Players Very popular by 1550 Professional, improv. comedy performed in streets Usually 7 men and 3 women company Ad-lib action, dialogue, songs, and dance Plot revolved around love and intrigue Actors wore half masks Popularity spread through France, influenced Moliere Different from IMPROV: followed a storyline, performers made bits from storyline

21 New Stock Characters Harlequin: wore diamond patches, foolish servant Pierrot: Lovelorn and moody Columbine: flirtatious and beautiful Pantalone: the old man, a fool Dottore-the doctor, a drunk or glutton

22 Pseudo-Classicism Combination of commedia of the common man and drama of Italian nobility. Copy of ancient Roman drama Dramatic noblemen built private indoor theaters with beautiful arches First permanent theater built in 1618 (Theater Farnese)

23 Opera Opera substituted popular plays Huge theaters created Audience sat in tiers of narrow horseshoe- shaped galleries Beautiful auditorium for socializing Detailed scenery used Stage floors were built on a rake Upstage sloping towards audience

24 Spanish Renaissance Focused on drama flourish of theater Influenced by Commedia dell’Arte and Italian court staging

25 Spanish Playwrights Cervantes plays including Don Quixote Tragedies, comedies, “cape & sword” Lope de Vega poetic and romantic plays! Calderon plays of spiritual emphasis and poetry

26 Spanish Playwrights cont. Established original art form Free from classical rules of Italian and French writers Ignored time and place unities Used beautiful, flowing dialogue Action around “Cape and sword” Adventure Romance chivalry

27 Spanish Playhouses Similar to Medieval stages (mansions) Stages erected at end of open courtyard Later, permanent buildings were built, with the audience sitting in front of the raised stage Balcony with side boxes reserved for the nobility

28 More Spanish Theatre Elaborate scenery Rich costuming Women could act 40 theaters existed in Madrid during Golden Age of Spanish Theater


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