The Drama of Reform: Theology and Theatricality
The Drama of Reform examines the relationship between drama and religion, between theatricality and theology in England before and during the Reformation. Read more...
The Drama of Reform examines the relationship between drama and religion, between theatricality and theology in England before and during the Reformation. The Drama of Reform establishes the impact of late medieval and early modern religious reform on dramaturgy. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it examines the interactions between theatricality and theology across a range of different plays including the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Jacke Jugeler, John Bale’s Three Laws, and Lewis Wager’s Life and Repentaunce of Mary Magdalene. Tracing the development of arguments concerning the interpretation of the sacraments, the relationship between priests and players, and the use and abuse of imagery and drama in religious worship, The Drama of Reform draws on a rich variety of contextual materials including liturgical texts, heresy trial accounts, dramatic treatises, polemical tracts, and religious laws. Focussed on the period between Archbishop Arundel’s Constitutions in the fifteenth century and Archbishop Cranmer’s second Book of Common Prayer in the sixteenth, The Drama of Reform explores the phenomenological similarities between drama and certain religious rites, notably the eucharist, and proposes that religious reform prompted attempts to reform dramaturgy. In presenting this analysis, the author argues that while drama continued to function as dramatic propaganda, efforts to initiate new modes of playing were only partially successful.