1500-1549

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Plays

Everyman (ed. Lester)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Death summons a man to the reckoning of his life, and his journey towards judgement makes up the matter of one of the best surviving examples of morality plays. Everyman, the central character of the play, is not a person but a place-holder representing all of mankind.

As he converses with Knowledge, Good Deeds, Beauty and Goods, striving to secure a favourable account of his time on earth in order to reach everlasting life, a dramatic allegory is woven about the brevity of life and the necessity of living it well. The play is exceptional in its genre for this narrow focus on the last phase of life, and conveys its message with awe-inspiring seriousness.

The play is poised between the late medieval and early modern eras, recalling the medieval Biblical mystery cycles while anticipating the early modern period’s focus on the individual. It is uncertain whether the original text was ever performed in its time, as it may have been read as a religious treatise. However, a hugely popular revival at the beginning of the 20th century led to many more recent productions, often with a woman in the title role, proving that the play’s themes of mortality and spiritual pilgrimage have retained their power and resonance across the centuries.

Inigo

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Follow Inigo (Ignatius of Loyola) from ambitious, hot-headed, street-fighting sensualist to his co-founding (with a radical group of young friends) of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century. In Jonathan Moore's bold, visceral, funny and poetic play, he asserts Loyola's position as counter-cultural radical. But it is not only for those interested in Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits. It is also a political allegory about those who fight for change against an implacable Establishment. With the current Pope (Francis) a Jesuit, this is a timely exploration of one of history's major spiritual leaders and reformers: a story of a spiritual journey from sinner to saint. Published in conjunction with the play's run at the Pleasance Theatre, London (2015), it explores the life and times of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Of special interest to Catholic schools, colleges and seminaries. The play has been translated into Spanish.

Mundus et Infans

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The whole life of a man is staged in Mundus et Infans, as Child grows up into Manhood and succumbs to Folly in an exemplary morality play structure of transgression and redemption.

The protagonist’s beginning is as ‘Infans’ – or ‘child’ – he is renamed ‘Dalliance’, then ‘Wanton’ and then ‘Love-Lust-Liking’, before he matures into ‘Manhood’. Mundus – or ‘world’ – invests him with a knighthood, but he fails to uphold chivalric values and is led astray from Conscience by Folly, an engaging and mocking villain, into a life of arrogance and debauchery. Notable for the characters’ clearly differentiated idiolects, Mundus et Infans is a vibrant and emphatic staging of moral teaching, a map of human life and a meditation on time and decay. Mundus et Infans survives in an edition from 1522, and is likely to have been composed before 1520.