Session618
TitleBreaking the Fourth Wall in Medieval Theatre
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
 
SponsorSociété internationale pour l'étude du théâtre médiéval
 
OrganiserCora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
 
Moderator/ChairCora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
 
Paper 618-a Fluid Boundaries between Performance, Text, and Rite: Indulgences in the Nativity Play of Constance
(Language: English)
Cora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Index Terms: Language and Literature - German; Lay Piety; Performance Arts - Drama; Religious Life
Paper 618-b Prologues, Epilogues, and the Contemporary Setting of Spiegel der Minnen
(Language: English)
Charlotte Steenbrugge, School of English, University of Sheffield
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Dutch; Performance Arts - Drama; Rhetoric
Paper 618-c Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Medieval Actors and the Audience Come to Blows
(Language: English)
Ivan Missoni, Independent Scholar, Zagreb
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Language and Literature - Other; Performance Arts - Drama; Religious Life
 
AbstractBreaking the 'fourth wall' is supposed to be one of the characteristics of medieval theatre. The session analyses exceptional examples of audience engagement. It focuses on different treatments of the fourth wall in different cultures, historical circumstances, and genres: Paper -a deals with a German Nativity play staged during the Council of Constance (1417), which mirrors the indulgence promised for the audience's ritual participation in the play on stage, frequently transgressing the line between Constance and Bethlehem. Paper -b deals with a Dutch play by Colijn van Rijssele (before 1503), which gives framing texts an unusually intricate role. The play is emphatically set in a contemporary, local context, complicating the relationship between the outer and the inner play. Paper -c treats the case of a performance of the Three Magi in a female convent in Sibenik/Croatia in 1615. All roles were played by the nuns themselves. The crowd, eager to get into the convent and see it, caused a disturbance.