Chester Plays


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Related to Chester Plays: Towneley Plays, York Plays

Chester Plays:

see miracle playmiracle play
or mystery play,
form of medieval drama that came from dramatization of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It developed from the 10th to the 16th cent., reaching its height in the 15th cent.
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Yet it is the repeated joke about "teaching an infant to hop" that is particularly striking in the Chester play.
59) The Chester play also features the death of Herod, but here instead of a personified Death it is a demon who comes to fetch the king directly to Hell.
Perhaps this is an additional indication that the soldier in the Chester play facetiously assumes the role of Death as a dancing master in the Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem.
Yet it is another Chester play that offers even more compelling evidence for further danse macabre influence in this mystery cycle.
5) We know that the actors in the various plays were not necessarily from the sponsoring guilds, partly because a full performance of these Chester plays requires a total of 357 named characters, in speaking and non-speaking parts, not including the extras (Twycross 1985: 100, 120).
The conclusion of the story of the Chester plays unfolds like a familiar script.
It may be time to return now to David Rogers, whose description of the Chester plays provided us with an outline of their course through the city.
Rastall (1985: 77), notes that there are over 30 stage directions demanding music in the Chester Plays.
The last paragraph of the chapter reveals that it is intended to be a defense of the sophistication of the Chester plays against earlier critics' denigration of them as simple and dull.

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