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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Medieval English Drama. Modernized Performance Texts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0246  Friday, 12 February 1999.

From:           Alan Somerset <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 12:16:20 -0500
Subject:        Medieval English Drama. Modernized Performance Texts

I am posting a notice which will, I'm sure, be of interest to many
SHAKSPER members, from Alexandra Johnston (University of Toronto) who
wrote:

Today Abby Young and I have posted the first of the modernized
performance texts, The Castle of Perseverance, on the web
(http:\\www.chass.  utoronto.ca\~ajohnsto). I modernized the text for
the PLS performance of Castle in 1979 that was directed by David Parry.
For years, David and I talked about publishing it with the apparatus
that he used, based on that production, for his doctoral dissertation.
After his death, I asked Caroline Parry's permission to go ahead with
the modernized text based on his ideas of how the play was performed.
This is the text we have now posted. I have used it with considerable
success for almost a decade in the class-room.  Castle is, arguably, the
quintessential English morality play but the language has always made it
almost impossible to teach in a drama course. I hope you will find this
text more accessible. A video of the entire production and an edited one
hour version are available for rent or purchase from the Media Centre,
University of Toronto, 121 St George Street, Toronto M5S 1A1.

We are working on posting the entire N-Town text. Stan Kahrl modernized
the Passion Play for the PLS 1981 production and Judy Kahrl kindly gave
me permission to include it with my own modernizations of the rest of
the N-Town collection. I have divided it into three sections-"The
Pageants" that were produced by the PLS in 1988; the Passion Play;  and
the two Marian Plays-the "Mary Play" identified by Peter Meredith and
the Assumption Play produced by the PLS in 1991. Each play (including
the two parts of the Passion Play) will be posted separately so that it
will be possible to "download" single episodes if you wish.  I have used
this text for teaching as well and find the option of using The Woman
Taken in Adultery or the Trial of Mary and Joseph as examples of "stand
alone" Biblical plays a welcome change from the ubiquitous Wakefield
Master or Abraham and Isaac. There is no edited video of the PLS
production of N-Town but there are some pictures on the PLS web site and
slide packages can be provided.

These are offered free of charge, but we would appreciate donations to
Records of Early English Drama. I will let you know how this can be done
when I send out the notice that N-Town is posted. I would be grateful
for notice of any "glitches" in the texts.

     Prof Alan Somerset
     Department of English
     University of Western Ontario
     London ON N6A 3K7 Canada
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