Middle English Play Assignment

          Get to know your group

·        Divvy up the work.  Some acting parts are much larger than others, and will thus involve a lot more performance.  Those performing smaller parts should probably take up more of the other duties.

·        Each group will take their York Plays, read it carefully, and adapt it into fully modern English.  Students are encouraged to take as many liberties as they like.  They should also write up stage directions for the play.  The only restriction is that the modernization must contain at least as much dialogue as the original.

On the assigned day, each group will be expected to give a brief presentation on the play:

·        Explain its Biblical source, and explain how greatly and in what way it is embellished

·        Explain challenges and solutions in adapting it to modern performance

·        Possibly discuss more elaborate staging, if we had the resources

·        Offer an interpretation of the play

Each group will then Perform the play. 

Since this is not an acting or theatre class, I do not have demanding expectations.  You could perform basically a staged reading (you do NOT have to memorize your parts). 


On the wiki I will list due dates: each group will make their “modernization” of the play available by Wednesday, Oct 15. 


Play Paper (Due Monday, Nov 3)

Once the play is performed, each student will write their own 5 page paper about the play and performance.  This paper could take a number of forms, which may be influenced by what role each student played in their production.  Your paper could be a report on the challenges of the translating; it could be a report on the challenges of staging and interpretation; it could be a description of a more elaborate production; it could be a discussion of the differences between the play and the biblical source; and it could be a traditional research paper on your play, the York plays as a whole, or cycle plays and medieval drama generally. 


Your individual play papers will be assessed on how compelling, complete, and well-written they are.

You papers may not use the word IT or THIS without immediately defining the referent.

Everyone should have (already) done some point-by-point comparison with the biblical text, like we all did with the Crucifixion.  You are welcome to compare the York text with other adaptations (TV, movies, etc) as well, but the same rule applies: If you say that the York play and the biblical text “are basically the same” you have failed.


In addition to the 5 page paper, each student must provide a brief summary of the group work: describe how the labor was divided, what work you did, and how well you believe the process went.  These reports will be strictly confidential.