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Compte du Mystere de la Passion: Chateaudun, 1510.

Ed. by Marcel Couturier and Graham A. Runnalls. (Chartres: Societe Archeologique d'Eure-et-Loire, 1991). ISBN 2-905866-05-5. 182 pp. No price given. This edition of the hitherto almost unknown accounts for the Passion play presented in Chateaudun in 1510, is the most important addition to mediaeval French drama records since Cohen's epoch-making edition of the Mons play and accounts nearly seventy years age). The few references in Petit de Julleville gave no indication of the exceptional details which make this particular Passion play unique. The moving spirit in the performance was not the town but the local overlord, the Duc de Longueville; he |borrowed' the text from the neighbouring town of Amboise, which, reluctant to part with the text they had used in 1507, had a copy made for the Duc at the town's own expense; the role of Christ was taken not by a clerc, but by the Duc's ecuyer... The number of original details could be multiplied. One of the most inexplicable (since unfortunately we do not have the actual text, even in a producer's copy as for Mons) is the money paid for |un petit bancquet faict par Marthe a Jesus-Crist et a ses apostres peu apres le bancquet de la Cene...'. The meal consisted only of fruit and nuts, bread and wine but -- a meal after the Last Supper? As we have come to expect from Dr Runnalls, the editing of the text is impeccable and the introduction includes, as well as the historical context of the play, a side range of general information on its location and staging and on the personalities involved. This reviewer (being greedy, perhaps) would have welcomed a little more on the link with Amboise -- it is interesting that apparently only Amboise and Chateaudun in the whole of France paid for a licence for the clergy to let their beards grow for a play; yet all priests were (and are) by canon law clean-shaven. Was the local bishop a stickler, or did the other towns not bother with beards? The possibilities are numerous, and to be able to reconsider the staging of French Passion plays in the fight of so much new evidence is enthralling.
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Author:Muir, Lynette
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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