The Medieval era picks up during the 600s when much of Europe was in a constantly fluctuating political world. The only stability many people had was the Church, which explains the themes found during this era. Passion plays focused on the life of Jesus Christ, while morality plays ended with a strong message. The point of these productions was for the viewers to leave with a lesson at the end of the performance.
Medieval dramas were often controlled by guilds. Individual cities had their own guild in place to regulate the performances. The guild often took the script to the Church leaders who either gave their permission to hold the play or demanded changes to the play. In some cases the Church wouldn't allow a performance to go off because they disagreed with the script.
In the early days there were two types of stages for drama performances. Mansions were small areas similar to set pieces. Every time a location changed within the play, the actors moved to a different mansion. There was also something known as a platea, which was a platform. At times, especially in plays that were more basic, the actors worked on the platea without any props.
- From Stage to Play : lists famous plays from the Medieval period.
- Primary Texts Medieval Drama : mentions some famous and lesser known texts used for drama productions.
- Middle English Plays : lists full texts of plays from the Medieval era.
Performance and Set Design
- Everyman : examines the design and production of plays done in this era.
- Medieval Writing : discusses the ways in which the plays were designed and played.
- Miracle Plays and Mysteries : discusses this type of Medieval play.
- Love & Conflict in Medieval Drama : examines the themes as they appeared in older plays.
- Drama of the Middle Ages : focuses on the different themes used by authors during this era.
Props and Makeup
- The Use of Medieval Makeup : discusses the different times of makeup worn by people in the middle ages.
- 15th Century Cosmetics : examines the type of cosmetics used during the 15th century.
- Extant Clothing of the Middle Ages : discusses different types of clothing worn in this era.
- Footwear of the Middle Ages : gives examples of the shoes and footwear worn by people during the Middle Ages.
Depictions from this Period
- Doomsday : shows pictures and images from a Medieval text.
- Medieval Manuscripts and Illumination : lists actual images taken from old manuscripts.
- The Medieval Drama : discusses how drama evolved during this era.
- Notes on Medieval Drama : examines the roots and themes used in Medieval drama.
- Medieval Theatre : mentions the decline of drama and changes made in this era.
Medieval drama was often quite simple, especially in comparison to modern day plays and performances. Many of the performances took place outside where the actors worked with minimal props and clothing they had on hand. It wasn't until later years that the performances became more elaborate and complex.