Volume Thirty (2008): Summaries


Alexandra F. Johnston

‘“And how the state will beare with it, I knowe not”’
METh 30 (2008) 3–25.

 

Examines the political motivations behind the suppression of the civic religious plays of York and Chester as a direct result of the Elizabethan Settlement. The personnel of the Queen’s Council in the North and of the Northern Ecclesiastical Commission often overlapped. Their religious affiliations are mapped, and the roles of Dean Matthew Hutton, and Archbishop Edmund Grindal are shown to be particularly significant in strangling the plays of York. Chester, on the other side of the Pennines, won a very temporary stay of execution by playing off their local patron against the Lord President of the Council, but the party represented by the Puritan divine Christopher Goodman eventually won the day.

 

Diana Wyatt

'The Untimely Disappearance of the Beverley Cycle: what the records can and can’t tell us'
METh 30 (2008) 26–38.

 

Ponders the mystery of the apparently different results of overhauling a Cycle in the 1530s: Chester’s went on apparently from strength to strength whereas Beverley’s seems to have expired. Was this due to financial strains, or the literary ineptitude of the reviser, William Pyers?

 

James M. Gibson

'Royal Visits and Civic Ceremony: A Research Opportunity'
METh 30 (2008) 39–44.

 

Suggests further sources for research into civic entertainment in the records of the Royal Household. The Exchequer often paid waits and other entertainers for their contribution to a royal visit, and these accounts are sometimes the only evidence that such a visit took place.

 

John McGavin

‘Alliterative Place Name Lists in Early Drama’
METh 30 (2008) 45–62.

 

The alliterative place-name list, which seems to have started out as a bombastic verbal tour de force calculated to show up the moral failings of the character who employs it or who is its target, became a theatrical convention which changed chimerically over a century and a half. It shows that a convention is not a dead motif, but something that can be conveniently adapted to serve whatever end the playwright desires.

 

David Klausner

‘Staging the Unstageable: Performing the Crucifixion in Late Medieval and Early Modern England’
METh 30 (2008) 63–80.

 

Only comparatively recently has it become acceptable to portray the Crucifixion onstage: in the first six decades of the twentieth century it was considered too painful/irreverent to play or watch. This contrasts strongly with the medieval view, which saw participation in the suffering of Christ as the proper end of devotion. This paper examines the surviving British Crucifixion plays, including the Welsh and Cornish Passion Plays, with an eye to practical stagecraft as well as the different approaches they make to their common goal.

 

Lawrence M. Clopper

‘The Chester and the Other English Shepherds’ Plays’
METh 30 (2008) 81–98.

 

Was the Chester Shepherds’ Play of the Painters and Glaziers influenced by the Towneley Secunda Pastorum? This is unproveable, but these two pageants seem to present their protagonists in a different light from those in the other surviving plays of the Annunciation to the Shepherds.

 

Phil Butterworth

‘Parts and Parcels: Cueing Conventions for the English Medieval Player’
METh 30 (2008) 99–120.

 

Trawls through a wide range of the available evidence (guild accounts, civic records, contemporary dictionaries and word lists, stage directions, Roman oratorical handbooks, plays presenting the putting-on of plays) to try and determine how the medieval player learned and rehearsed his part, otherwise known as a parcel, and what the results of this might have been on the way he performed it.

 

Elsa Strietman

‘Biblical Plays in the Low Countries’
METh 30 (2008) 121–136.

 

Surveys those fifteenth- to early-seventeenth-century Rhetoricians plays which deal with biblical subjects and shows how they are used to reflect the preoccupations of a time of religious and political turmoil. The New Testament plays appear to show a more marked Reforming and political tendency than those taken from the Old Testament, but all convey a richly multi-layered message. With appendices listing the titles of all categories of plays according to subject matter.

 


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