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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1120: Erasure of Boundaries between Theatre and Rite in Religious Plays

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Société internationale pour l'étude du théatre médiéval (SITM)
Organiser:Cora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen
Moderator/Chair:Nils Holger Petersen, Centre for the Study of the Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals, Københavns Universitet
Paper 1120-aBetween Devils and Angels: Staging Liturgical and Para-Liturgical Drama in Medieval Bohemia
(Language: English)
Eliška Poláčková, Department of Theatre Studies, Masarykova univerzita, Brno / Centre for Classical Studies, Czech Academy of Sciences, Praha
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Language and Literature - Slavic, Liturgy, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 1120-bRitual Spectatorship and the Erasure of Theatrical Boundaries via the Indulgence
(Language: English)
Glenn Ehrstine, Department of German University of Iowa
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Lay Piety, Performance Arts - Drama, Religious Life
Paper 1120-cFluid Boundaries between Performance, Text, and Piety: The Indulgence in the Constance Nativity Play
(Language: English)
Cora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Language and Literature - German, Lay Piety, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 1120-dPassion Plays as the Site of Life's Triumph over Death: Or, Maybe Not?
(Language: English)
Ivan Missoni, Independent Scholar Zagreb
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Comparative, Performance Arts - Drama, Religious Life

Can we always clearly distinguish between 'theatre' and 'rite' and between 'liturgical' and so-called 'para-liturgical' plays in medieval religious drama? Paper-a analyses the planned forms of audience participation in Latin liturgical and bilingual 'near' liturgical plays in medieval Bohemia. Both of them have moments of physical interaction between audience members and performers. Therefore it is impossible to differentiate between liturgical and para-liturgical performances solely on the basis of the audiences (non)participation. Paper-b suggests that audience participation could also mean that audience members participated ritualistically in passion, Easter, and Corpus Christi plays, especially in those that qualified for an indulgence. The paper focusses on the Alsfeld Passion Play. At the invitation of the Virgin Mary, audience members wept during the scenes of the passion and Christ's crucifixion, earning themselves a full remission of their sins. Paper-c asks how the indulgence connected to the ritual participation could be visualised in plays. The Constance Nativity Play, which includes many elements of popular piety, has a boy bishop announcing the indulgence at the beginning of the play. The paper discusses how the use of religious customs influences the audience involvement, the indulgence, and the pseudo-liturgical quality of the play. Paper-d finally discusses whether Rainer Warning’s ideas of myth and rite (1970) and his understanding that Passion plays challenged Christian theology is still plausible in the light of modern research about devotional plays.