Presenters in N-Town: ‘We asygne it to 3oure good deliberacion’

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Steenbrugge, C. (2012)
  • Publisher: Brepols Publishers

Presenter figures in medieval drama are often assumed to represent ecclesiastical authority and to ensure a straightforward transfer of orthodox devotion from stage to audience. The various presenters in the medieval English N-Town compilation (Contemplacio in the Mary Play, Primus Doctor and Secundus Doctor in the ‘Procession of Saints’, Contemplacio in Passion Play II, and Doctor in the Assumption Play) challenge these assumptions and demonstrate that East Anglian playwrights encouraged a critical audience and were as, if not more, interested in the spectators’ enjoyment of the performance as the didactic content. The apparent lack of anxiety about divergent interpretations of the plays indicates not simply faith in the spectators’ abilities in that regard, it also seems to point to a relatively open-minded and lax attitude to certain religious differences in fifteenth-century East Anglia.
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