Medieval Aesthetics and Modern Social Justice
It may seem strange to think that plays written six centuries ago have something to say to the pressing social and cultural issues of the present day. It may seem even stranger to think that these medieval plays offer resources and strategies for addressing those issues with surprising energy. Yet, as the essays below contend, medieval drama has the capacity not just to comment on but also to intervene in contemporary social justice struggles—not just because of historical parallels, but also (and perhaps more powerfully) because of historical difference between then and now.
Our Wise Ass Show: Turning Christian Teaching to Societal Critique
by Allison Sorbara
The Social Satire of Wisdom as Adult Cartoon
by Sharon Shimonova
How to Become a Medieval Audience
We have learned how to be proper modern audience members: sit in one seat, unwrap your lozenge before curtain, keep silent during the performance, hold your applause until curtain. We also enter into an audience with certain expectations: that the show is about to begin when the lights go down, that we will see without obstruction a company of highly trained actors performing by the book, that we will share more or less the same theatrical experience as others seated elsewhere in the theater. The essays below explore how medieval drama demands the dismantling of these expectations, and how FMD’s production of Wisdom drew its audience to see the play like medieval spectators.
Giving Wisdom’s Audience a Medieval Experience
by Elizabeth Cini
Wisdom in Performance: Comparing Modern and Medieval Enactment
by Kass D’Aniello
Wisdom and Its Audience, Outside the Fourth Wall
by Charles Laboy Jr.
On Passersby: Medieval Mindsets and Transatlantic Audiences
by Savanah Manos
Connections across Time
With so many plays one could possibly perform, why should we want to stage medieval drama? Certainly, historical curiosity is one answer, and a good one: the global West designates the Middle Ages as a wellspring of origin (specious though its narratives of origin tend to be), and if the gleeful medievalism of our popular culture is any indicator, we show little sign of losing interest in the period. Behind this curiosity lies an oscillating fascination with the sameness and difference of the Middle Ages: medieval people and practices are similar enough for us to feel a kind of kinship, strange enough for us to measure ourselves against their otherness. These essays hover in the middle space of this historical relationship, attentive to how the Middle Ages reach forward to us and how we reach back to the Middle Ages through the adaptation of medieval plays for modern performance.
Why We Perform Medieval Drama
by Katie Kudcey
Dispositions of Space
Words, costumes, movement, objects, music: these are some of the primary ingredients that go into the making of a performance. None of these ingredients, though, can combine to make a meaningful drama without a space in which to gather. Space functions not just as the container of dramatic enactment but as an active participant in that enactment, a feature readily suppressed by the customary architecture of the theater. Medieval drama, however, had no such architecture to rely upon and made active use of the varied and variable spaces in which it was staged. As the essays below reveal, performing medieval drama in the twenty-first century—and recording those performances for future audiences—still demands active engagement with a dynamic space that modern theater buildings simply cannot contain.
Wisdom Onscreen: Capturing the Dynamism of Medieval Drama on Film
by Kevin Christopher Robles
|Camera||Kevin Christopher Robles
Students Build a Play with the Pros
Fordham English Connect
April 23, 2019
wisdom aka morality whomst??
April 16, 2019
Wisdom Event Page
Wisdom Media Group
April 12, 2019
Costume Vision Board
Wisdom Design Group
March 29, 2019
WISDOM: PHOTO GALLERIES
Credits: Lauren Frazier, Alesha Kilayko, Savanah Manos, Nicole McCurnin, Corey McEleney, Susan Nakley, Rosie Rizzo, Sasha Zamler-Carhart