Medieval English Drama: Modernized Performance Texts

These texts of The Castle of Perseverance and the N-Town Plays were modernized for performance by the Poculi Ludique Societas of the University of Toronto. I have used both texts in undergraduate classes and have found that students are able to absorb far more of the variety of mediaeval plays in modernizations than they can handle in Middle English. With the barrier of the language gone, they can engage with the texts directly and come to a much more informed understanding of the dramatic traditions of the late Middle Ages. The Castle of Perseverance is the quintessential English morality play containing all the elements of the genre while the plays in the N-Town manuscript provide a wide variety of types of Biblical drama from the two-part Passion Play and the plays on the Virgin Mary to well-crafted stand-alone single episode plays such as the Trial of Mary and Joseph and the Woman Taken in Adultery. They are offered here as both performance and teaching texts in the hope that they will allow more people to come to know and love the lively world of the late medieval English theatre.

Alexandra F Johnston
February 1999

The Castle of Perseverance

N-Town Plays

Modernizations copyright © Alexandra F Johnston 1999. The right to copy and use these modernizations for academic or performance use is freely granted, provided that no alterations are made in the texts. All other rights reserved. However, donations to the work of Records of Early English Drama, 150 Charles Street West, Toronto, M5S 1K9 would be welcome.

For information about the texts of other medieval and Renaissance plays available on the World Wide Web, click here.