'The Crucifixion' at the PLS production of the complete York Cycle in Toronto on June 20, 1998
This gallery of photographs was taken at the performance of the York Cycle of Mystery Plays in Toronto, Canada on June 20, 1998. The performance was organized under the auspices of the Poculi Ludique Societas, a society dedicated to the preservation and performance of early English drama which is a part of the University of Toronto. The Toronto performance was the first outdoor processional presentation of the entire cycle of 47 surviving plays since the final performance in York in 1569. Bran was invited to direct one of the plays and assembled the Sacred Stone Players for this unique experience. Soldier 1 was played by Robert of Caerleon, Soldier 2 was played by Wolfgang the Gamesman, Soldier 3 was played by Bran Trefonnen, Soldier 4 was played by Killian Ebonwoulfe, and Christ was played by Cassan Segoire. Steve Wright of the Department of English at The Catholic University of America has compiled an excellent record of this event at http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/engl/toronto/york98.htm. Click on the thumbnails to see the full size .JPG image. Use your browser's 'back' button to return to this selection. Clicking on the Gallery logo above will return you to the Main Index. Clicking on the caption above will return you to the list of images in the House Corvus Image Gallery.
In 1983, as an undergraduate at Davidson College in North Carolina, I was first exposed to medieval drama in a course taught by Dr. Gail Gibson. While I always had an interest in medieval history, I had anticipated that her course would be a dry foray into (what I then considered) naive theatre for a naive society. It was while reading the Second Mary Play (N-Town)that I had my epiphany. The author of this work may have lived in less technological times than I, but his mind was no less keen, his society no less complex, his life no less significant. The rich depth of his characters, the explored duality of Mary's existence all revealed a powerful talent struggling to balance his artistic needs with the dictates of the church and the awareness of his audience. Despite years of study on the time period, this was the first time that history came alive for me, the people became real!
From that point, I read all medieval drama with a new voice. This was real drama for real people! Moreover, it had a real purpose far beyond our modern needs of entertainment or social commentary. The cycles were intended to be seen as a coherent and unified work of art, an evocative statement of a culture's communal belief in God's relationship to man. Specifically, the York Cycle's spiritual purpose was to glorify God even as its didactic purpose was to instruct the essentially illiterate in the historical basis of the faith.
Our production of The Crucifixion will hopefully accomplish three distinct goals. The first is, most obviously, to present the play in as period a fashion as possible. The second is to create the same connection to our audience that any theatrical production of any era would seek to achieve but which was so clearly evident in the vernacular of the original play text. Lastly, we hope that we will do homage to the talent of the playwright whose words we have borrowed, whose talent we honor, and whose faith can still inspire even the most cynical of God's children.
Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008|
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