This collection of essays offers new perspectives that foster our understanding of the crucial role the Bible played in medieval culture as well as in the wake of the Reformation across Europe. The thirteen essays open up new horizons for the study of biblical drama by putting special emphasis on periodisation, the intersections of biblical narrative and performance, and the strategies employed by playwrights to rework and adapt the biblical source material. Special emphasis is placed on multitemporality, transnationality, and the modalities of performance and form in relation to the uses of the Bible in medieval and early modern drama. The three aspects are intertwined: particular modalities of performance evolve, adapt and are re-created as they intersect with different historical times and circumstances. These intersections pertain to aspects such as dramatic traditions, confessional and religious rites, dogmas and debates, conceptualisations of performance and form, and audience response – whenever the Bible is evoked for performative purposes. The collection thus stresses the co-presence of biblical and contemporary concerns in the periods under discussion, conceiving of biblical drama as a central participant in the dynamic struggle to both interpret and translate the Bible.
related to literary production, Dryden aligns himself clearly, if only paratextually, with the cause of English writers, stating in the brief ‘To the Reader’ that his work aims ‘to vindicate the honour of our English writers’.28 The most substantial section of the Essay, accordingly, consists of Dryden’s alter ego, Neander, speaking in praise of Elizabethan playwrights, first and foremost amongst them Ben Jonson. The impression is thus of a personal assessment, even of an individual take on the history of drama and the relative value of particular authors and plays
Performing women takes on a key problem in the history of drama: the ‘exceptional’ staging of the life of Catherine of Siena by a female actor and a female patron in 1468 Metz. These two creators have remained anonymous, despite the perceived rarity of this familiar episode; this study of their lives and performances, however, brings the elusive figure of the female performer to centre stage. Beginning with the Catherine of Siena play and broadening outward, Performing women integrates new approaches to drama, gender, and patronage with a performance methodology to trace connections among the activities of the actor, the patron, their female family members, and peers. It shows that the women of fifteenth-century Metz enacted varied kinds of performance that included and extended beyond the theatre: decades before the 1468 play, for example, Joan of Arc returned from the grave in the form of a young woman named Claude, who was acknowledged formally in a series of civic ceremonies. This in-depth investigation of the full spectrum of evidence for female performance – drama, liturgy, impersonation, devotional practice, and documentary culture – both creates a unique portrait of the lives of individual women and reveals a framework of ubiquitous female performance. Performing women offers a new paradigm: women forming the core of public culture. Networks of gendered performance offered roles of expansive range and depth to the women of Metz, and positioned them as vital and integral contributors to the fabric of urban life.
Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.
society Genre studies Gender, sexuality and the body Drama and the early modern ‘other’ Surveys and essay collections Histories of drama and the theatre Histories: Social, Political and Cultural Surveys Social
that reveals the local, social “play” to be an integral part of salvation history’ (p. 44). 38 Marion Jones, ‘Early Moral Plays and the Earliest Secular Drama’, in The Revels History of Drama in English , vol. I, ed. Lois Potter (London: Methuen, 1983 ), p. 215. 39 Jones, ‘Early Moral Plays’, p. 215
. Lee (eds), The Press in English Society from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries (London: Associated University Presses, 1986), pp. 25–46 (p. 30); Alan Marshall, ‘Williamson, Sir Joseph (1633–1701)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 www.oxforddnb.com/view/ article/29571 (accessed 9 March 2011). 38 John Loftis, ed., The Revels History of Drama in English, 8 vols (London: Methuen, 1976), 5:26–8; Hotson, Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, pp. 197–204. 39 Thomas Middleton, A Game at Chess, ed. T. H
’, foreword. 46 The practice employed by Alexander of rehearsing from 11 until 2 is 92 The social and theatrical realm confirmed by Mason (1935: 24–5) and Dolan, ‘A Chronicle of Small Beer’, p. 66. References Barnes, Kenneth (1958), Welcome, Good Friends, London: Peter Davies. Bolton, Gavin (2007), ‘A History of Drama Education: A Search for Substance’, in Liora Bresler, ed., International Handbook of Research in Arts Education, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 45–62. Bourdieu, Pierre (1984), Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice
during the sixteenth century. Archival research into the performance history of drama, especially in the provinces, by the pioneering project REED (Records of Early English Drama), 3 has revealed a diverse, thriving theatrical landscape. The records for towns such as Norwich and Coventry, for instance, show that traditional religious drama continued to thrive during the sixteenth century and that it did so by adapting to weather the doctrinal changes produced by the Reformation. The Norwich Grocers’ Play, concerned with the Temptation of Adam and Eve, provides a
Will the British Empire ever be over, or are we destined to witness its eternal return in the form of nostalgia masquerading as history, of drama pretending to rehearse its relentless end? The transfer of Hong Kong to China, the devolution of Scotland and, on the very eve of the new millennium, the precarious shift of power from London to Belfast – if these, taken either