This classical on ageless Christian Drama aims to present periods when actually dramatic performances or ‘Religious Drama’ were used to teach Biblical and Hagiographical subjects to the general public. This short sketch of one of the arts of Christian Church presents Origin, History, and Development on the subject with Illustrations and Bibliography; in chronological order.
Since beginning the significance of some special Christian festivals was shown through these performances. Then came up the Liturgical Drama in the Middle Ages (12th & 13th centuries). During this phase, plays were acted within or near the Church, based on stories from the Bible and of the Saints. The language of the Liturgical Drama was Latin, and the music was also used in the form of incidental dance and processional tunes. Eventually, the plays came under secular sponsorship and began to be presented outside the Church; the local populace became involved across whole of Europe. Plays were then presented by the Christian Communities in the vernaculars, based on stories from the Bible. By the 13th century Miracle Plays, also called as Saints’ Plays, came into picture. These plays used to present, a real and fictitious account of the life, miracles, or martyrdom of a Saint. Later, they were banned by Henry VIII in the mid-16thcentury.
Morality Plays (15th & 16th centuries) were an allegorical drama, wherein characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (such as death or youth) thereby teaching moral lessons. However, Interludes were referred as dramatic scenes presented usually with music and singing in between of a play when a little fun was required for enlivening the audience after a serious scene. The phase of Elizabethan Drama (late 15th & 16th centuries) covered the works of Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare. It was during this time frame that permanent theaters were built.
During the early 17th century Catholic Church splitted up and many new Christian organizations called Protestants were formed. As a result a new Protestant religion called Puritans evolved. The Puritans believed that man must follow the Bible exactly and try to communicate directly with God. In order to communicate with God there had to be no distractions from their religion. Puritans rather continued to immerse themselves in their belief by avoiding any such distractions. This resulted in the end of ‘Religious Drama’ but the Author hinted at its revival during the years rolled by.
This living book of Biblical record covers subjects like Art, History, Poetry, Anthropology Dramaturgy Christianity, and Biographical narratives of various Saints; and is meant for Historians, Artists, Litterateurs, Christian Laity, Church Clergies, Students and Researchers.