This course surveys modes of theatrical presentation from the early Middle Ages to 1660, though
our effective closing date will be the closing of the theatres in England in 1642. We will examine
liturgical drama, biblical ("mystery") and miracle plays, moralities, court plays and popular drama
of the Renaissance period, and the masque. Focus will be on acting areas and styles, the
composition of theatrical companies, and the relationship of actors to audiences. Some consideration
will also be given to costuming, properties, scenic effects, lighting, music and dance.
Christopher Marlowe Doctor Faustus (Signet pb edn.)
John Lyly Gallathea LIBRARY TEXT, either ed A. Lancashire (Regents Renaissance Drama Series 1969) or in N. Rabkin and R. Fraser Drama of the English Renaissance, vol. 1 (Macmillan, 1976)
John Webster The Duchess of Malfi ed. F.B. Millett (Crofts Classics pb) or any other good edn.
Pierre Corneille Le Cid LIBRARY TEXT, ed. J. C. Lapp (Crofts Classics pb), or in any other recent edn. (older translations tend to be very stilted and should be avoided)
Machiavelli The Mandragola LIBRARY TEXT, in Bruce Penman, ed. (Penguin pb), or in any other good edn.
Lope de Vega The Duchess of Amalfi's Steward, LIBRARY TEXT, (Carleton Renaissance Plays, Dovehouse)
Ben Jonson Masque of Queens, LIBRARY TEXT, in Jonson Selected Masques, ed. S. Orgel (1970) or in Jonson Plays and Masques, ed. R. Adams (Norton)
The Bevington text, Doctor Faustus and The Duchess of Malfi are available at the Bob Miller Book
Room, 180 Bloor St. W., and should be purchased. The other play texts may be read in library copies;
all will be available on non-circulating reserve in the Laidlaw Library, and most are also available in
other campus libraries as well. If class size is large, a couple of extra xeroxed copies will also be
available in the Laidlaw Library, in a special course file available from the Librarian's desk. For
those wishing to purchase Le Cid, The Mandrake, and/or The Duchess of Amalfi's Steward, copies are alsoavailable at the Bob Miller Book Room.
The course deals with the development of the theatre, and not with literary analysis of play texts;
but although texts are read as illustrations and as evidence of theatrical practices and conventions,
some analysis is necessary as part of this process. Texts are read above all for performance
indications. Bevington's general introductions to the various sections of his volume are extremely
COURSE METHOD: Lecture/discussion; much use of slide material and some videotapes.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: One short written report (c. 1000-1200 words), mid-term class test,
final in-class examination.
COURSE GRADES: 25% for each of the written report and the test, 50% for the final examination.
The final grade can be influenced up (but not down) by participation in class discussion.
LATE WRITTEN WORK: Absolutely no written report will be accepted after 5 pm on the final day
of classes. The due date for the written reports varies, according to the topic
chosen. No report will be accepted, on any one topic (except Duchess of Malfi), after the due date for
that specific topic.
TERM SCHEDULE: We'll begin with the medieval theatre (English and Continental together), then do the Renaissance by country, beginning with Italy and then moving on to France, England, and Spain, in that order. The emphasis will be on English theatre.
Choose ONE of the following plays or parts of plays, and report concisely but comprehensively
(cl000-1200 words) on all relevant aspects of its original staging as you can deduce them to have
been: staging area(s) used, acting troupe, properties required, costuming, lighting if any, sound
effects, blocking, acting style(s), etc. Stick to what we know and can best guess about the staging of
each work; do not speculate wildly. Comment on any thematic significance of the staging.
Reports are due as indicated for each topic. Reports, except on The Duchess of Malfi, will not be
accepted after the due dates given: therefore, if you choose one topic and miss the due date, you
must change to another topic with a later due date. For Duchess of Malfi, reports submitted late will
be penalized by two marks per day. NO written report will be accepted after 5 pm on the last day of
classes in the term, 11 April.
1. The Play of Daniel: lines 365.1 (Bevington) to end.
2. The York Crucifixion: pp. 570-579 (Bevington).
3. The York Shepherds' Play: pp. 378-382 (Bevington).
4. Doctor Faustus: II.i (Signet act/scene division).
5. Gallathea: V iii.
6. Duchess of Malfi: II iii.
Several relevant videotapes are available (especially for the medieval period), for in-library use only, in the Audiovisual Library
(Sigmund Samuel Library, Level A, one level below the main floor). The AV Library has playback
machines. Tapes marked * will be shown in class.
A 14th Century Easter Matins
A French liturgical drama/service including the Harrowing of Hell and the Visit to the Sepulchre.
Staged in 1989 by PLS.
The York Cycle in the 15th Century*
Descriptive tape of processional staging of the York cycle in the l5th century, with model
reconstruction of a pageant wagon. (19 minutes)
The York Cycle Pageant (*selections)
47 plays as performed by the University of Toronto's PLS on ½ Oct. 1977 in an attempt to recreate
(as far as possible within the budget available) the staging of 1485 in York. Since the 1485 budget
was many times greater, authenticity is in generalities rather than in details; also, plays 11-33 had
to be moved indoors for performance, because of torrential rain, although authentic outdoor
processional staging is otherwise used. Uneven quality from one play to another (each was done by a
different group); some excellent, some poor. Especially worth seeing: Plays 8 (Building of the Ark), 9
(Noah and the Flood), 37 (Harrowing of Hell). Each between 10 and 30 minutes.
The Castle of Perseverance
As performed by the PLS in August 1978. Medieval arena-style staging. One of the best PLS productions ever.
-5 tapes of the complete performance (about an hour each).
-one edited 55-minute version of highlights, with introduction*
As performed by the PLS in April 1991. Early Tudor hall-style staging. Text (unusually) gives
elaborate stage directions for costumes.
To Syngen and to Playe: Music and Instruments in Chaucer's Day.
Late 14th-century instruments and musical styles. (25 minutes)
The Last Judgement in Medieval Sculpture
Biblical sources, and artistic representations to the end of the 13th century. Emphasis on France.
The Gothic Cathedral
Construction techniques in medieval cathedral architecture in central and western Europe. (16 minutes)
A. Primary Documents: Play Texts and Records
--Mills, David M., ed. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 1992. A complete cycle in a modernized text; the best way of getting acquainted quickly with one "genuine" complete cycle (as opposed to the "made-up" cycle in Bevington). PR 1260 V45 1992.
--Lumiansky, R. and David M. Mills. eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle, 2 vols. 1974-86. Early English Text Society. The complete Chester cycle in its original text. PR 1260 C45 2974.
--Mills, David M., ed. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 1984. Facsimile of the original manuscript. PR 1261 C54 1984.
--Beadle, R., ed. The York Cycle. 1984. PR 1261 Y67 1982.
--Cawley, A. C. and Stevens, M., eds. The Towneley Plays. 1994. EETS. PR 1261 T68 1994.
--Spector, S. ed. The N-Town Play. 1991. EETS. PR 1260 N23 1991.
--Clopper, L. M., ed. Records of Early English Drama: Chester. 1979. Example of the records volumes now being published for all major areas of the UK, covering c. 12th century to 1642. (Also relevant to Renaissance.) PN 2596 C42C4.
--Johnston, A. F. and Dorrell, M. Records of Early English Drama: York. 2 vols. 1977. PN 2596 Y6Y6.
--Greenberg, Noah, ed. Ludus Danielis. 1971. Edn. of the 1958 N.Y. Pro Musica production of Daniel. Fisher Rare Books.
--Meredith, P., & J. E. Tailby. The Staging of Religious Drama in Europe in the Later Middle Ages: Texts and Documents in English Translation. 1983. PN 2152 S76 1983.
--Mazouer, C. "Les indications de mise en scène dans les drames liturgiques de Pâques" Cahiers de
civilisation médiévale 23 (1980), 361-67.
--Salerno, H. F., trans. Scenarios of the commedia dell'arte: Flaminio Scala's Il teatro delle favole rappresentative. 1967. PQ 4236 S313.
--Gordon, Mel Lazzi: The Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte. 1983. PQ 4236 G67 1983.
--Calderon de la Barca Belshazzar's Feast, trans. D. F. McCarthy, in Calderon de la Barca: Six Plays. 1961. PQ 6292 A1M3 1961.
--Foakes, R. A. and R. T. Rickert, eds. Henslowe's Diary. 1961. Book kept by a London 1590s theatrical manager, giving details of plays performed, box office take, etc. PN 2589 H4 1961.
--Hinman, C. Norton facsimile edition of the First Folio (1623) of Shakespeare's works - the first
printed collection of his plays. 1968. PR 2751 A15 1968.
B. Secondary Works
General [Note: general works give the best overview, but are likely to be least accurate in detail]
--Brockett, O. G. History of the Theatre. 1995 ( 7th edn.). PN 2101 B68 1995.
Reference: Medieval and Renaissance
--Lancashire, I. Dramatic Texts and Records of Britain: A Chronological Topography to 1558. 1984. Complete listing of all print references (to c. 1983) to drama of all kinds throughout Britain from Roman times to 1558. Includes archaeological evidence. Z 2014 D7L12 1981 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Vince, R. W., ed. Companion to the Medieval Theatre. 1989. Explanations of theatre terms, texts, locations. etc.. in an encyclopedia format. PN 2152 C66 1989 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Harbage, A. Annals of English Drama 975-1700. rev. S. Schoenbaum. 1964 (2nd edn.). Plus 2
Supplements (1966 & 1970). Year-by-year chronological list of all known plays written and
performed in England. With author's name, play type, etc. [3rd edn. (1989) unreliable; use only with
extreme caution.] Z 2014 D7H25 1964 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Background material in Bevington.
--Vince, R. W. Ancient and Medieval Theatre. 1984. Handbook and bibliography for classical and medieval theatre on the Continent and in England. PN 2131 V5 1984 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Beadle, R., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre. 1994. Chapters on each type of English medieval theatre and on modern productions; sectioned bibliography; chronological table. PN 2587 C36 1994 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Simon, Eckehard, ed. The Theatre of Medieval Europe: New Research in Early Drama. 1991. PN 1751 T54 1991.
--Tydeman, William. The Theatre in the Middle Ages. 1978. PN 2152.T9.
--Wickham, G. The Medieval Theatre. 1987 (3rd edn.). PN 2152 W5 1987 & SS.
MORE DETAIL: English drama/theatre only
--Wickham, G. Early English Stages. 1300-1660. vol. 1. 1959. Much more detailed predecessor to 1987 book. Extremely thorough and detailed; heavily documented. PN 2587 W53.
--Anderson, M. D. Drama and Imagery in English Medieval Churches. 1963. Religious art in relation to theatrical performance. PR 641 A5.
--Smoldon, W. L. The Music of the Medieval Church Dramas. 1980. ML 178 S65 (Music Library).
--Collins, Fletcher The Production of Medieval Church Music-Drama. 1972. ML 178 C64. (Music Library).
--Salter. F. M. Medieval Drama in Chester. 1955. Old but still good; the first major effort to show the theatrical elaborateness of cycle drama. Multiply his 1955 $$ considerably to get 1995 $$, and remember that his information is 40 years old. PR 644 C4S24.
--Mills, David M. Staging the Chester Cycle. 1985. PN 2588 C48S8 1985.
--Elliott, John R., Playing God: Medieval Mysteries on the Modern Stage. 1989. PN 2595 E35 1989.
--Bevington, D. From 'Mankind' to Marlowe. 1962. On the structure of morality plays as related to performance auspices. PR 646 B4 & SS.
--Craik, T. W. The Tudor Interlude: Stage, Costume and Acting. 1967. PN 2589 C7.
--Kahrl, S. J. Traditions of Medieval English Drama. 1974. PR 641 K33.
--Vince, R. W. Renaissance Theatre. 1984. Handbook and bibliography for Renaissance theatre on the Continent and in England. 1984. PN 2171 V5 1984 (Robarts Ref. Room).
--Gurr, A. The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642. 1992 (3rd edn.). Best (comparatively) short survey for the dates specified: on companies. playhouses, plays, etc. PN 2592 G8 1992.
--Thomson, Peter Shakespeare's Theatre. 1983. PN 2590 L67T48 1983.
--Bevington, D., ed. Shakespeare's Complete Works. 1980. Has an excellent general introduction on the medieval heritage of Shakespearean drama and on general theatrical conditions in London in Shakespeare's day. PR 2754 B4 1980.
--Wickham, G. Early English Stages, 1360-1660. vol. 2, parts 1 & 2. 1963-72. Reference work; extremely detailed; heavily documented. PN 2587 W53.
--Styan, J. L. The English Stage: A History of Drama and Performance. 1996.
--Gurr, A. Playgoing in Shakespeare's London. 1987. PM 2596 L6G87.
--Harbage, A. Shakespeare and the Rival Traditions. 1952. Out of fashion in the 1970s-80s: back in vogue in the 1990s. PR 2976 H318.
--Gair, Reavley The Children of Pauls, 1553-1608. 1982. A "private theatre" company. PM 2596 L7 P384.
--Bentley, G. E. The Profession of Dramatist in Shakespeare's Time. 1971. PM 151 B54.
--Bradbrook, M. C. The Rise of the Common Player. 1962. Inaccurate before 1576; O.K. from 1576 on. PN2589 B7.
--King, T. J. Casting Shakespeare's Plays. 1991. PR 3095 K5 1992.
--Bergeron, D. English Civic Pageantry. 1558-1642. 1971. GT 4043 B47 1971.
--Nicoll, A. Stuart Masques. 1938. PT 658 M3N5.
--Smith, Irwin. Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse. 1964. PN 2596 L7B57.
--Eccles, C. The Rose Theatre. 1990. Description of the 1989 excavations and their implications.
PM 2596 L7 R4735 1990.
--Herrick, M. Italian Comedy in the Renaissance. 1960. PQ 4149 H4.
--Herrick, M. Italian Tragedy in the Renaissance. 1965. PQ 4139 H4.
--Oreglia, Giacomo The Commedia dell'Arte. trans. L. F. Edwards. 1968. Scenarios summarized; character types described. PQ 4155 O713.
--Mulryne, J. R. and M. Shewring Theatre of the English and Italian Renaissance. 1991. PQ 4139
--Lawrenson, T. E. The French Stage in the Seventeenth Century: A Study of the Advent of the Italian Order. 1957. PM 2091 S8 L38 1957A.
--Moore, W. G. The Classical Drama of France. 1971. Chapters 1-5 only. PQ 526 M6.
--Mongredien, G. Daily Life in the French Theatre at the Time of Moliere. 1969. Parts only. (Goes
well past 1660.) PM 2632 M613.
--Wardropper, B. W. Introduccion al teatro religioso del Siglo de Oro. 1953. Evolution of the auto, 1500-1648.
--McKendrick, M. Theatre in Spain 1490-1700. 1989. PQ 6105 M24 1989.
College holdings have not been checked; many of these books are also available in college libraries.