Mystery play


Mystery play
These plays, associated esp. with the feast of Corpus Christi, were called 'mystery plays' because they were put on by the *mystery, i.e. members of a *guild. They may have developed from liturgical drama acted within the church, or from religious processions through the city streets. They typically dramatised the whole of salvation history from the Fall of Lucifer to the Last Judgement, though not every cycle was so inclusive; some towns played only a Passion series, though no texts survive. The most characteristic form of staging was on pageant wagons that were moved from point to point through a city, as at York or Chester. They lasted from the late 14c to the Reformation; Kendal's play was still being acted at the start of the 17c. -

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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  • Mystery play — Mystery plays and miracle plays (which are two different things) are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying… …   Wikipedia

  • mystery play — n [Date: 1800 1900; : French; Origin: mystère, from Latin mysterium; MYSTERY] a religious play from the Middle Ages, based on a story from the Bible …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mystery play — n. any of a class of medieval dramatic representations of Biblical events, esp. of the life and death of Jesus: they originated in the church liturgy but were later presented by craft guilds in marketplaces, etc.: cf. MIRACLE PLAY, MORALITY PLAY …   English World dictionary

  • mystery play — mystery ,play noun count a play from the Middle Ages about a story in the Bible …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • mystery play — ► NOUN ▪ a popular medieval play based on biblical stories or the lives of the saints …   English terms dictionary

  • mystery play — a medieval dramatic form based on a Biblical story, usually dealing with the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Cf. miracle play, morality play. [1850 55] * * * Vernacular drama of the Middle Ages. It developed from the liturgical drama and …   Universalium

  • mystery play — noun a medieval play representing episodes from the life of Christ • Hypernyms: ↑play, ↑drama, ↑dramatic play * * * noun, pl ⋯ plays [count] : a religious play in the Middle Ages based on a story from the Bible (such as the creation of the world… …   Useful english dictionary

  • mystery play — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms mystery play : singular mystery play plural mystery plays a play from the Middle Ages about a story in the Bible …   English dictionary

  • mystery play — Synonyms and related words: Grand Guignol, Passion play, Tom show, antimasque, audience success, ballet, bomb, broadcast drama, burlesque show, charade, cliff hanger, closet drama, comedy drama, critical success, daytime serial, dialogue,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • mystery play — mys′tery play n. lit.+rel a medieval drama based on a Bible story, usu. about Christ Compare miracle play morality play • Etymology: 1850–55 …   From formal English to slang


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