IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 110: Gesture and Emotion in Medieval Plays

Monday 10 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Philip Butterworth, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Moderator/Chair:Peter Meredith, School of English, University of Leeds
Paper 110-aMaterial Remains: The Enactment of Gesture in Contemporary Production of Medieval Drama
(Language: English)
Katie Normington, Department of Drama & Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London
Index terms: Performance Arts - General, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 110-bThe Dissection of Emotion in Some Rhetorical Plays
(Language: English)
Elsa G. C. Strietman, Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Language and Literature - Dutch, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 110-cLament and Elegy in the Mystery Cycles: Englishing the planctus Mariae
(Language: English)
Pamela M. King, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol
Index terms: Performance Arts - Drama
Abstract

Abstract paper -a: This paper will draw upon the prominence given to gestural signification within the analysis of medieval drama by scholars such as Jody Enders. It examines how the extant textual and historical remains might act as traces through which to access how as Cicero suggests ‘by action the body talks’. The paper will conclude by looking at case studies of modern productions of mystery plays to see the extent to which the ‘material remains’ might be embodied within these performances.

Abstract paper -b: Rhetoricians plays frequently employ allegorical characters to express and examine emotions. Amongst these are the ever untrustworthy sinnekens who can sometimes vicariously show and verbalize the emotions of the protagonist(s). In those cases where there is a human, rather than allegorical protagonist, the expression of emotions occurs in a far more direct manner. Plays which can be used to demonstrate this clearly are, for instance, Susanna and The Play of the Raising of Lazarus.

Abstract paper -c: Mary’s lament at the base of the Cross was a common para-liturgical lyric interpolation which flourished, in lyric verse as well as drama, in both Latin and vernaculars throughout the Middle Ages under the influence of Franciscan spirituality. It was widely interpolated into the ceremony of the veneration of the Cross in a number of elaborated Good Friday liturgies from as early as the 10th century. It provided one of the starting points for the Latin dramas of the Passion, which developed as liturgical tropes, and is key to the Church’s understanding of the Virgin’s special redemptive powers as mediatrix. By the late Middle Ages it had accreted sacramental connotations correlative to the elevation of the host. This paper will explore how it translates in the vernacular mystery cycles into a mode of verbal and gestural expression which supplies a contrapuntal discourse to celebrations of Corpus Christi, Christ’s continuing presence on earth, that is both locally affective, and which unifies the otherwise disparate discourses of a number of pageants.