Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Plays

Christmas Plays

Since I was a small child Christmas festivities have delighted me as much as they probably delighted children in the Mediaeval Age.

I can visualise excited children out and about watching mummers prancing in the streets wearing animal masks, possibly singing carols and, like modern day carol singers, visiting houses to receive money and food.

Other mummers performed different types of plays in which good battled evil. First of all the hero, maybe St George, recited the prologue in which the main characters were introduced and the villain,maybe the dragon, is challenged. I can imagine children cheering St George and booing the dragon while the saint tackles the mythical beast, or the Turkish Knight, with a sword. Sometimes the hero is killed after which the doctor takes the stage with medicine to miraculously restore the dead to life; and then other characters who have no connection to the plot appear, including Beelzebub, who, I think I am safe to say made naughty children tremble.

Another popular theme was one with the theme of a love triangle which features a Dame, maybe an antecedent of today’s pantomime dame.