The Mysterious Interlude of Medieval and Tudor Drama

The Mysterious Interlude of Medieval and Tudor Drama

An interlude was typically a short dramatic piece, often comic in nature, placed between more serious material. It began during the Middle Ages as a form of lighthearted stuffing (hence interlude) between miracle and morality plays. These were typically short satires or farces. There is even evidence of interludes being used as propaganda in times…

Miracle Play

Miracle Play

Miracle plays, or Saint’s plays, are now distinguished from mystery plays as they specifically re-enacted miraculous interventions by the saints, particularly St. Nicholas or St. Mary, into the lives of ordinary people, rather than biblical events; however both of these terms are more commonly used by modern scholars than they were by medieval people, who…

Morality Play

Morality Play

The morality play is a genre of Medieval and early Tudor theatrical entertainment. In their own time, these plays were known as interludes, a broader term given to dramas with or without a moral. Morality plays are a type of allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of various moral attributes who try…

Allegory

Allegory

Allegory in the Middle Ages was a vital element in the synthesis of biblical and classical traditions into what would become recognizable as medieval culture. People of the Middle Ages consciously drew from the cultural legacies of the ancient world in shaping their institutions and ideas, and so allegory in medieval literature and medieval art…

Mystery Play

Mystery Play

Mystery plays (from the Latin “misterium” meaning “occupation”) and miracle plays (sometimes distinguished as two different forms, although the terms are often used interchangeably) are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song. They developed from…