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Sheepish Confessions: Notes on Directing an Irreverent Second Shepherds' Play.

I have to confess: my first encounter with the so-called Second Shepherds' Play was a struggle. I read it in the anthology used for my department's theater history and dramatic literature surveys. Confused by the plot, alienated by the outdated references, and utterly perplexed by the tone, I dismissed the play as irrelevant to my work as an acting teacher and director. I knew of its importance, though: I read about it in my own undergraduate theater history courses (though the only medieval play I read in class was Everyman) and heard it referenced by my mother who--second confession--is a medieval literature scholar. Recognizing that it probably should be covered in our survey courses, I was relieved to learn it was already taught in a different semester.

As a theater practitioner, my first response to the play was not unique: while the Towneley Second Shepherds' Play is frequently anthologized and generally well-regarded by literary scholars, it is scarcely produced outside of academia. (1) I know of only two professional English-language theaters that have produced the play in the last half-century--the Folger Theatre, in 2007 and 2016, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1966 and 1978--and both companies are devoted to classical work. (2) In my conservatory training and teaching experience to date, I have also never seen the Second Shepherds' Play or any other medieval play used in a scene study class. Given its infrequent production, I understand why the Second Shepherds' Play is omitted in pre-professional training programs. I also see the difficulty of integrating it into performance pedagogy that is rooted in Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Stanislavsky: The Second Shepherds' Play is neither completely comedic or completely serious. It predates the advent of psychological drama, and its poetry may be harder to access in translation. (3) Indeed, when I asked acting students who read the play in theater history class about their experience, they told me they couldn't follow it and didn't understand why they had to read it.

About a year after my first encounter with the Second Shepherds' Play, I read a conference paper by my mother, Rosemarie McGerr, on the songs that might have been used where music is mentioned in the play but not notated in the surviving manuscript. (4) As a director, I was interested in McGerr's argument that the Wakefield Master deliberately uses music to help dramatize the play's story, style, and social commentary: to give voice to marginalized figures through the act of singing, to make the relationships among diverse voices audible through polyphony, and to increase audience accessibility by combining liturgical and popular songs. With the music in mind, I better appreciated the play's theatricality, from the ridiculousness of the bleating swaddled "baby," to Mak's attempt at an upper-class vocal disguise, to the soundscape of voices in harmony or discord. The play's contemporary relevance--and message of hope--struck me, too, when I connected polyphony to the representation of community. Set in a society with such inequality that the poor must compete with the poorer, the play gives voice to the disenfranchised and shows acts of human mercy to have divine rewards. Most of all, I understood how the play's combination of styles and time periods may signal, rather than a flaw or stylistic pretension, its intended accessibility and even irreverence. By interweaving contemporary characters, music, and comedic styles with serious Biblical drama, the Wakefield Master allowed audiences to understand the play, enjoy it, and even see themselves in it.

I wanted to see if I could use a production of the Second Shepherds' Play to bridge the gap between its medieval context and its current reputation: to apply the valuable research of McGerr and others while translating to contemporary audiences the play's accessibility, timelessness, and irreverence towards the establishment. I also wanted to recapture for a contemporary training program the play's timely and intersectional pedagogical worth: it asks students to work on farce, verse, and non-realistic circumstances while simultaneously criticizing wealth inequality, upending gender stereotypes, and supporting inclusivity.

Knowing that Colgate University would be hosting a symposium on medieval drama in December 2017, I offered to direct a new production of the play. As a practitioner, I admit that I felt daunted by engaging with scholars of literature and history. Since the play was written to be performed, however, I hoped that a purely artistic line of inquiry would be academically valuable too--that if I used scholarship as inspiration but aimed ultimately for theatrical meaning, beauty, and entertainment, I might learn something about the play's enduring value. What follows are some considerations and discoveries from my production process.

Subarus Are the New Pageant Wagons: Determining Production Scope and Style

For practical and pedagogical reasons, I rehearsed the production in Syracuse, traveled it to Colgate for one performance, and took it back to Syracuse for two more. Because we rehearsed and performed in multiple venues, I needed to treat the production as a small tour--small enough to fit in a few station wagons, since we couldn't quite afford a van rental. Given the possibility that the Second Shepherds' Play was originally performed on pageant wagons, I considered staging our production outdoors around the vehicles, but I was deterred by the alternative theory that the Towneley cycle was originally performed on a fixed outdoor stage in the round. (5) Ultimately, my knowledge of both historical options was rendered useless in the face of central New York winter weather. I chose to hold performances in the open spaces of Colgate's Hall of Presidents and Syracuse's black-box Loft Theatre rather than in formal performance venues with fixed seating. To honor some historical practices, I used only natural light during our daytime performance at Colgate and, in our windowless space at Syracuse, only a general wash with no internal light cues. In both places, we used only live sound create by the company. To foster audience inclusion, I decided to configure the playing space in a three-quarter thrust and seat audiences on an informal combination of chairs and floor cushions.

I tried to approach our limited budget, technology, and cargo space as opportunities to maximize accessibility and ingenuity. I was inspired by the work of companies such as Ten Thousand Things, Fiasco Theatre, and the Public Theatre's Mobile Unit, all of which use flexibility, minimal production values, abstraction, and rough magic to reach as wide a range of venues and audiences as possible. (6) This aesthetic had the advantage, too, of differing from the most recent Folger production, which played in a 250-seat proscenium theater with a full design team, lights, and sound. (7) Personally, I also prefer for theatrical magic to be executed with either such high technology that its mechanism is invisible to the audience or such low technology, and even abstraction, that the audience must imagine it. To do the Second Shepherds' Play for a contemporary audience means asking largely secular crowds to believe in a miracle from Christian mythology. While I myself am not religious, I identify strongly with what I read as the play's desire that human acts of mercy may have divine rewards. I wanted the angel's arrival and the shepherds' trip to Bethlehem to create the same sense of wonder for a twenty-first-century audience as they would have for a medieval one and I believed that low-tech, high-imagination, non-literal storytelling would be the best way to honor this spirit.

Counting Sheep (and Shepherds, Too): Conceiving a Design

The play's opening moments make clear that it takes place in a society divided along economic lines and that our titular shepherds are disadvantaged by the division. In his opening lines, Coll describes the shepherds' nearlyhomeless existence and explains that they are poor because "the tilthe" of their land "lies fallow as the floor" (13). (8) He attributes his situation to the landowning "gentlery-men" who have not only "handtamyed" him and forced his excessive labor--"thus thay refe us of oure rest... thay cause the ploghe tary"--but who routinely abuse their power over him by taking the shepherds' tools and equipment at will (17-20). Writing about the ecological relationship between sheep and humans in the Towneley plays, Lisa J. Kiser explains that the shepherds' story represents a moment in medieval English history when "manorial lords appropriated peasant property, amalgamated these small tracts of land into larger units, and then converted them all to pasture" for a sheep-based economy. (9) Some peasants who had previously lived off the land as tenant farmers were forced into wage labor as shepherds, and others were left displaced or unemployed. (10) Indeed, if Coll, Gib, and Daw are poor, Mak and Gill are even poorer: having no employment, land, or animals of their own, they resort to spinning and selling the wool from stolen sheep. (11) The effects of the new grazing economy thus motivate the action of the play: Mak must steal to feed his growing family and the shepherds must reclaim their stolen sheep in order to be paid.

This sequence of events reminded me not only of national conversations about income inequality but also of issues local to central New York where agriculture is an economic cornerstone but wages for agricultural workers are low. (12) One of my goals for the production was for our university audiences to consider their privilege within the region. To that end, I decided to place the play visually in a contemporary rural world much like the one around Syracuse. I chose not to update the story or adapt the references to fit modern American society (which felt too reductive) but simply to use contemporary costumes and props. As a result, there was a disjunction between the apparent time period and some of the events and practices depicted within in. Then again, the world of the play, as written, does not follow realistic rules of time and space either: it collapses medieval England with biblical Bethlehem and contains multiple supernatural occurrences.

I admit that I had less attachment to the play's biblical elements at first. I tend to find representations of Mary, Joseph, and the angel too broad to be believable--perhaps because, for me, their archetypes do not hold spiritual meaning or evoke connections to a more detailed narrative. But for the shepherds, their encounters with the angel and trip to Bethlehem are real, wonderful, and meaningful. I struggled at first to determine how to stage the biblical elements so as to translate these feelings to a modern audience. My idea actually came from exploring the influence exerted on the characters by the winter weather--an element with which all central New Yorkers, regardless of religion, can identify. All three shepherds open their first speeches by lamenting at length the cold, wet conditions in which they must work and continue, along with Mak, to bring up the weather throughout the sheep-stealing story. After the angel arrives, discussion of the weather diminishes: the only subsequent references to it are Coil's injunction that they go to Bethlehem even "if we be wete and wery" (671) and Gib's observation that the Christ child looks "full cold" (747). It is as if the angel and his news somehow take the winter weather away. With this image in mind, I envisioned a fabric snowscape that would transform into the angel by being lifted up off the ground. Winter winds could become the breathing undulations of wings through different handling of the same inexpensive but large-scale materials. Since the moment needed to be actor-motivated (I had no crew), I considered having actors make other simple weather effects with fans, paper snow, or even water, to reinforce the characters' struggle, sometimes comical, sometimes serious, against the elements. As research, I looked at production photos of Ariane Mnouchkine's 2012 Les Naufrages du Fol Espoir in which a storm is created fantastically yet hilariously with fabric, fans, and paper. (11) I knew these materials could get messy but, remembering my desire to be just a little irreverent, I decided a little mess on the floor of Colgate's Hall of Presidents might not be too bad.

Perhaps the most significant piece of my design concept--or, at least, my greatest departure from the text--was my flock of sheep puppets, created by a New York City-based design and construction company called All of The Things. (14) As I considered the play's focus on disempowered characters, I noted that the stolen sheep has perhaps the least agency over his plight of anyone--and the least amount of text to tell us about it. I wondered if he was confused and scared by his kidnapping or thrilled to take a vacation from the fields and be so highly sought-after. The sheep's importance is reinforced by its symbolism of the "Lamb of God" (even though it is a wether rather than a lamb): the shepherds' examination of the bleating bundle in Gill's cradle foreshadows--albeit humorously--their visitation of the Christ child in the Bethlehem nativity. (15) I hoped that paying more attention to the sheep's perspective might drive home the theme of giving greater value to those who are lowest in status.

I also began to imagine the shepherds' entire flock as a sort of proxy for the audience. Like us, the sheep are silent observers of the shepherds' actions. I saw comedic potential in sheep movement--constant chewing, unchanging facial expressions, pack dynamics--and theatrical possibility in their attachment to their shepherds. The shepherds in the play seem never to go far from their sheep: after his opening complaints, Coll resigns himself to returning to his sheep just before he sees Gib; shortly thereafter, Daw hardly gets onstage before Gib demands to know "[w]here ar our shepe, boy?" Kiser notes that the humorous blurring of boundaries between sheep and shepherds is also an important critique of the grazing economy's valuation of animals over the humans who cared for them (177). (16) So I decided to make the figurative attachments to sheep a literal one: to represent the flock with puppets worn on the bodies of the shepherds and of puppeteers whose faces could provide tacit editorialization on the events of the play. A single puppeteer could then emerge to play the stolen wether. Placing the flock onstage would be a departure from Wakefield's location of the flock just in the distance. (17) But it would support the play's ironic social commentary and create more opportunities for student performers too.

When Clowns Meet Christ: Performance Style and Casting

In order to cast and rehearse the play, I needed to convert my literary analysis of story, theme, and tone into directives that would be actable by modern performers. My students struggled to envision a performance style that would suit the play since it doesn't fit entirely into any one of their areas of study: it is verse drama but not Shakespeare; it contains songs but is not a musical; it combines comedic events with serious, even sacred ones; and it depicts realistic historical circumstances alongside supernatural ones. The anthology in which they read the play for a history class contains an overview of medieval dramatic genres and staging practices and explains that cycle plays "required the talent of trained performers" but discusses acting no further. (18) And regardless of what more historical research into medieval acting styles might yield, I find in my teaching and directing practice that it is hard to "undo" our modern equation of good acting with psychological truth. (19) So I sought a vocabulary for describing the characters in the Second Shepherds' Play in a way that would allow my actors to marry style with inner life.

Mak, Gill, and the shepherds are usually characterized as farcical or parodic. (20) They are funny primarily because they are extreme (rather than, say, witty) in their actions and have a propensity for failure. These tendencies are visible in the shepherds' excessive struggles against the weather, Mak and Gill's farfetched attempt to disguise a sheep as a baby, and Mak and Gill's lengthy, repeated domestic spats. To my mind Mak, Gill, and the shepherds also have a thin-skinned, almost childlike quality. They are quite gullible, as seen in Gill's belief that her plan will succeed and the time it takes the shepherds to realize her trick. They seem to feel and believe things very deeply: each shepherd bemoans the woe of his choice for three full stanzas, and together they spend five stanzas reinforcing their joy at the angel's news; Mak wishes to be dead instead of at home with noisy children; Gill curses whoever is making noise outside while she prepares to spin. They also change quickly from one extreme of action or feeling to another. Most changes are comedic, such as Mak's nimble tactic-switches when trying to approach the shepherds or keep them out of his house; others, such as the shepherds' reversal from wanting to kill Mak to granting him mercy, are serious. In their extremity, changeability, and combination of innocence with cunning, Mak, Gill, and the Shepherds show similarities to clown and Cornmedia characters from later European plays. Not only had my students studied clown and Commedia styles in their movement classes; they had also experienced these patterns in some of Shakespeare's comedic characters too.

Clown and Commedia provided us with verbal and physical vocabularies that helped us define Mak, Gill, and the shepherds according to their pattern of actions and size of expression rather than an externally imposed form. To help elevate these characters further out of naturalism, and simultaneously solve the frequent college-theater problem of having more female students than male, I decided to cast them with actors of opposite genders: Mak and the shepherds would be played by women and Gill by a man. I find it is often easier for actors to play stylized characters, or to comment on characters through their performances, if the characters are more distant from themselves. In this case, I hoped that gender-flipped casting might also highlight the play's gender discourse, such as Gib's and Mak's complaints about wives and Gill's pushback against the devaluation of women's household work.

However, this larger-than-life stylization didn't feel appropriate for the angel, Mary, or Joseph, whom I wanted the audience to receive without any irony or mockery. The play's final scene in Bethlehem, in the words of Maynard Mack Jr., "radically alters the tone and redefines the meaning of everything that has proceeded." (21) In hopes of capturing this tonal shift by switching to a more naturalistic performance style, I cast a woman as Mary and men as Joseph and the angel. (22) In total, I had a cast of ten (the largest number I could transport): four women playing the shepherds and Mak, a man playing Gill, another man who doubled as the Angel and Joseph, and four more women puppeteers who stepped out to be Mary, the stolen sheep, and additional angelic voices.

"Take outt that Sothren Tothe": Choosing a Performance Text

Given the goal of accessibility to twenty-first-century artists and audiences, we performed the play in modern rather than Middle English. But finding a translation that remained faithful to the medieval text yet sounded believable when spoken aloud was a challenge. To my taste, in translations that were more literal, attempts to remain as close as possible to the Middle English words and syntax sometimes obscured the logic of thoughts or retained an archaic sound. For instance, the 1979 Norton edition of the text, "based on that given by A. W. Pollard in The Towneley Plays but... freely edited," translates Coil's opening lines as:
Lord, what these weathers are cold, and I am ill-happed:
I am nearhand fold, so long have I napped;
My legs, they fold, my fingers are chapped.
It is not as I would, for I am all lapped
In sorrow.
                                            (1-5) (23)

It remains very close to the Middle English:
Lord, what these weders are cold! And I am yll happyd.
I am nere hande dold, so long haue I nappyd.
My legys thay fold, my fyngers ar chappyd.
It is not as I wold, for I am al lappyd
In sorrow.

But I worried that outdated phrases like "nearhand dold" and "it is not as I would" might be alienating to modern listeners. On the extreme other hand, a 2015 modernization by Natasha Luepke (adapted to prose specifically for accessibility to introductory-level readers) translates Coil's opening thoughts as: "Lord, the weather is so cold, and I am badly dressed. I am nearly numb. I have napped for so long that my legs fold and my fingers are chapped. This is not how I want life to be; I am covered in sorrow." (24) While the prose allows for more natural rearrangement of the syntax, it also takes away Coil's reinforcement of his misery by repeating the same sound at the end of the first four lines. "Badly dressed" also makes clearer that Coll is referring to his clothing at the end of the first line, but it does not relate as clearly to the cold weather; he could be badly dressed without being underdressed.

I found Lister M. Matheson, William G. Marx, and Robert L. Kinnunen's adaptation of the play in Staging Salvation: Six Medieval Plays in Modern English to be a welcome medium to the two extremes. While generally easy to follow, it maintains the play's original rhyme scheme and verse structure, and it accounts for nearly every thought and phrase in the original Wakefield text even if it does not translate each one literally. For the sake of comparison, Matheson, Marx and Kinnunen translate Coil's opening five lines as:
Lord, but this weather is cold! And I am poorly wrapped.
I am nearly numb, so long have I napped.
My legs are buckling, my fingers chapped.
This is not what I'd like, for I am all trapped
In sorrow!
(1-5) (25)

Here, the choice of "wrapped" and "trapped" instead of "happed" and "lapped" sounds more contemporary but preserves Coil's implied comparison of being surrounded by sorrow to being surrounded by his not-very-warm clothing.

In several instances, Matheson, Marx, and Kinnunen use jarringly modern substitutions in order to convey the tone or intention of a phrase. For instances, in place of Coil's "[n]ow take outt that Sothren tothe," (215) they have Coll tell Mak, "remove the silver spoon from your trap" (215). Though the meaning of "Southern tooth" might be partially apparent from Mak's attempt at a sophisticated air, American audiences unfamiliar with English geography might not know to associate sophistication specifically with Southernness. Later on, Matheson, Marx and Kinnunen adapts Gill's "[w]ho makys sich a bere? Now walk in the wenyand" (405) to "God, what a racket! Take a hike... in quicksand" (407). To me, it packs more punch than the idea of walking away in the waning moon and better captures Gill's attempt to be witty. While the combination of old and new expressions initially confused some of my student actors, I took it as an appropriate reinforcement of the play's mixture of time periods.

"Let's See How You Chant": Selecting and Arranging the Music

McGerr explains that the text of the play indicates five performances of songs: when the shepherds agree to sing in polyphony to help pass the long, cold night; when they arrive to recover their sheep and hear Mak singing lullaby; when the angel appears singing a Gloria; when the shepherds imitate the angel's song after he leaves; and when, after visiting the Christ child, the shepherds say they are bound to sing of the wonder they have seen. (26) McGerr also notes the possibility of an additional song sung or played by Mak when he first enters, since Coll asks "[w]ho is that pipys so poore?" (195). (27) No text or music for these songs appears in the surviving manuscript of the play other than the angel's line, "Gloria in excelsis Deo," and no record exists of the music used in medieval performances. (28) However, by analyzing the text in detail for information about the songs' sounds and functions, and drawing on medieval musicology, McGerr is able to suggest some possibilities for each one.

As with the spoken text, I wanted to balance fidelity with accessibility in the music, too. Medieval music was modal and (though some modern music is also modal), I find that its sound often signifies something different to modern listeners than it did to medieval ones; the most celebratory modal carols sound solemn and mystical to me. (29) While the songs suggested in McGerr's research gave us invaluable dramaturgical insight, I worried that they might not support the story of the play for a twenty-first-century audience. (30) I also needed to balance my understanding of historical performance practices with the abilities of my particular performers from Syracuse's acting and musical theater B.F.A. programs. Most had studied singing and music theory but none had experience with early music. So, I decided to begin with the songs that McGerr identifies but aim ultimately to replicate narrative effect rather than sound. I engaged a student music director to arrange our chosen music to appeal to modern ears and suit the makeup of our particular ensemble.

The first instance of music in the play occurs when the shepherds agree to sing for "mirth" to help pass their long, cold night of work (184). The isolating nature of the shepherds' work, as Kiser points out, was another effect of the switch from farming to grazing economy. (31) McGerr explains that the shepherds' division of the "tenory," "tryble" and "meyne" parts (186-88) suggests a particular style of medieval polyphony called "discant" used in both popular and liturgical music. (32) She underscores the importance of the shepherds' polyphonic singing at this moment to "present what they share in common, while still highlighting their individual voices." (33) McGerr suggests "Mirie it is" as a lyric that dates to the same period as the English discant style and thematically reinforces the shepherds' laments. (34) She shared with us a reproduction of monophonic thirteenth-century setting and a polyphonic recording by the early music-focused Dufay Collective. The medieval melody and harmony in these resources had wistful sound that seemed appropriate to the shepherds' longing for a better life, so we decided to replicate them to a key that suited the female voices of our three actors and but translate the lyrics, with McGerr's help, into modern English.

As part of Gill's plot to pass off the stolen sheep as a new baby, she instructs Mak to 'sing "lullay'" while she moans (442). Considering that Mak might have been singing when he first appeared, wishing to be in heaven away from his wailing children, McGerr suggests that his lullaby might reflect similar themes of human suffering. (35) She also notes that Daw's criticism of the lullaby--"Will ye hear how thay hack?" (476)--indicates that the "shepherds clearly hear the voices in the house as a duet," or even "a trio with the sheep's voice." (36) At the time of our rehearsals, McGerr had lyrics for a fourteenth-century lullaby she thought would be thematically appropriate for this moment, but she did not have a melody. (37) My music director and I listened to other period-appropriate lullabies but did not find them to convey the appropriate affect for the moment of theatrical unease in which the lullaby is sung. The shepherds' arrival to reclaim their sheep, and Mak and Gill's attempt to resist it, increase the play's dramatic tension. In addition, there is dramatic irony in the audience's knowledge that the lullaby is a ruse. If this moment is indeed intended, as McGerr suggests, to be a polyphonic combination of Mak's song with Gill's groans and, potentially, the sheep's bleats, there is also inherent comedy in the juxtaposition of such disparate sounds. We needed a lullaby that could settle a child but unsettle an audience.

A fifteenth-century option for which McGerr sent us text and music sounded too upbeat. We liked the minor mode of the sixteenth-century Coventry carol but hoped to find something more period-appropriate. Eventually, I came across a fifteenth century English lullaby that was discussed by Christopher Page in a Gresham College lecture on medieval music and performed at the lecture by Catherine King. (38) The lyrics follow a lonely singer who, lying awake, hears the Christ child ask Mary for a lullaby. Though a Marian lullaby would not likely have been used in medieval performances, the themes and melody of this one suited our needs so well that we decided to use the first few stanzas. (39) With McGerr's help we adapted the text to modern English and transposed the melody to fit the voices of our actors playing Mak and Gill.

For us, even more challenging than choosing a song for Mak's lullaby was rendering it so that the shepherds' lines could all be audible around the melody, groans, and bleats. We found that it must either be scored intricately enough to plan when each sound comes in or simplified enough to allow all four sounds to coexist clearly. We ended up leaning towards the simpler version: for the actor playing Gill, groaning continuously throughout the song and following scene is quite demanding vocally, and our actress playing Mak was a less-experienced singer and did not read music. Since she was more confident as an instrumentalist and also needed a reliable way of find her starting pitch, we had her accompany herself on the ukulele; it was a deviation from historical performance practices, to be sure, but it served the student's training needs and contributed to the production's homemade aesthetic. We ended up having Mak sing a fragment of this song to comfort himself when he first comes onstage complaining of his struggles.

The angel's song and the shepherds' subsequent repetition of it serve, as McGerr says, to "[build] community between earthly and heavenly beings." (40) She notes the shepherds' understanding of the Latin text and use of "the correct medieval terms to describe the song's rhythm and short-duration notes" and concludes that the shepherds render the angel's ornate music well rather than poorly. (41) McGerr also explains that the lyrics given in the text--"Gloria in excelsis"--took "took many sung forms by the fifteenth century, including more than one in Christmas liturgies." (42) She offered us number 27 in the Old Hall Manuscript as an example. (43)

I was struck by McGerr's suggestions that the angel's song creates two avenues of access: the song's ubiquity made the performance accessible to original audiences, and the shepherds' ability to sing it gives them access to the divine. As a director, I noted that the angel's song builds a third "bridge," too, by helping to join the time and place of the shepherds with the time and place of Christ's birth. In an attempt to recreate these access points for modern audiences, I had our music director weave together fragments from several famous Glorias throughout history: one from the Old Hall manuscript, one from Handel's eighteenth-century "Messiah," and one line from the chorus of the now-familiar nineteenth-century hymn "Angels We Have Heard on High," written by James Chadwick on the basis of a French carol. Two female chorus members each sang a fragment, and then the actor playing the angel sang the full text. By combining music from different time periods, I hoped to help the audience see the Second Shepherds' Play as part of an enduring lineage of Christmas storytelling traditions. By creating a sound that was different from music elsewhere in the production--and from the sound each "Gloria" fragment on its own--I hoped as well to capture the strangeness and wonder of the angel's arrival and set in motion the ensuing tonal shift.

At the end of the play, the shepherds describe themselves as bound to sing about Christ's birth--"To sing we are bun" (751)--after Mary encourages them to share the news of what they witnessed. McGerr notes that several medieval Christmas songs deliver this content and suggests that the one sung by the shepherds might, in particular, be "inclusive in terms of its verbal discourses and structure." (44) Noting that a carol's verse/chorus alternation might allow the audience to sing along, she suggests "Nowel syng we, both all and sum" for its message of inclusivity, use of polyphony, and combination of Latin with English. I liked the lyrics and structure of this piece but found that the minor intervals in its fifteenth-century melody did not sound particularly celebratory to me. So, I had our music director keep the basic shape of the melody but change it into what we would now consider a major key. With McGerr's help, we updated the text to modern English but kept the Latin phrases. I doubted that contemporary audiences would know this particular carol though, so to help make the ending gesture feel fuller, we included some instrumental accompaniment: in addition to the ukulele, actors in the company joined in on the guitar and French horn. Though an unconventional combination of instruments and, again, a likely deviation from historical practices, the instrumentation was unique to our production and gave an appropriately celebratory close to our show.

Finding the Fun: Rehearsals, Performances, and Reception

Our rehearsal process was joyful, imaginative, and rewarding. This atmosphere was due partly to the ensemble nature of the piece and partly to the sense of wonder and playfulness required to bring such a hilarious, uplifting story to life. We were helped, too, by the freedom that comes with mounting a play that is not well known to the people working on it: we felt no pressure to live up to the standards of other productions because we had never seen any.

Our first notable challenge was to understand and personalize the given circumstances of the play world. We spent a good deal of time unpacking the characters' hierarchy: in order to inhabit the same space, the actors needed to understand that Gill and Mak are needier than the shepherds, that women in medieval England tended not to work outside the home, that Daw works for by Coll and Gib and that, "in the pastoral economy," as Kiser helpfully explains, "sheep are not only more valuable than grain--but they are also more valuable than people." (45) It was important to me that the actors take seriously the food insecurity and harsh physical conditions in which the five main characters work and live; even though Mak, Gill, and the shepherds are largely comedic characters, I believe their suffering needs still to be truthful for the audiences to care about it. I also worked with the actors on investing in the stakes of Mak's spell, the angel's visitation, and the shepherds' trip to Bethlehem. Many of the actors initially found these supernatural moments funny or uncomfortable, so I asked each cast member to reflect on what it would take for them to believe in a miracle and what they would do if they could be granted a wish for the future of the world.

Since the Second Shepherd's Play is poetic drama, its language is heightened above everyday speech, and its meaning is conveyed as much through the words as through the structure of the verse. For actors, working on poetic drama means utilizing the language as the action and the feeling, rather than as an accompaniment to it. (46) Accordingly, we needed to understand the rhyme scheme and consider how its pattern of sound and emphasis could be used to support a character's intention. (47) We also needed to know with great specificity the meaning of each word and why a character might have chosen it. Before rehearsals began, I asked each actor to write a line-by-line paraphrase of the text, which encouraged them to explore unfamiliar words and to understand the relationship between the shapes of the thoughts and the breaks in the verse lines. We then spent the first week and a half of rehearsal working around a table with dictionaries and several translations of the play for reference until the actors understood the language well enough to communicate meaningfully with it.

As I mentioned before, though I found Matheson, Marks, and Kinnunen translation to be the best combination of accuracy and accessibility, there were still some lines that did not make sense to me or to the actors when said aloud. For instance, Gib, lamenting the sufferings of married men, warns that, when his hen Copple "begins to cluck / To groan, then and to chuck, / Woe to him who is struck, / For he is in shackles" (69-72). Here, we could not follow the connection between Copple's actions and Gib's warning. Consultation of the Middle English clarified that "him who is struck" is the cock, but it did not explain the meaning of the hen's "crok," "groyne," and "clok" and therefore did not help the actor playing Gib understand how the story served his warning (69--71). McGerr helpfully suggested that we change "him who is struck" to "him who is lovestruck," which helped make clear that hen's noises serve to attract her mate.

We made similar small changes to several other sections for the sake of making the action clearer. When Mak pretends to be a yeoman in order to gain access to the sheep, Matheson, Marx, and Kinnunen adapt "Out of my presence! / I must haue reverence; / why, who be ich?" to "Out of my presence!! / I must have reverence. / Ain't I the... sine qua non?" (205-7). Since the higher status of a southern English accent may not land for all audiences, the adaptors have Mak attempt a French accent instead. However, since Mak's intention of getting the shepherds out of his path is such an important plot point in the scene, we changed "Ain't I the.... sine qua non?" to "Come now, give way." We then changed Mak's claim of affiliation to "that lord of great pride... / And so on" earlier in the stanza to "that lord of great pride... / Which I won't say" in order to preserve the rhyme (202-3). When Mak brings the stolen sheep home to Gill, to convey better the warning in Gill's "Only so long goes the pot to the watering place / at the last / comes it home broken," we changed "at the last" to "til at last" (319-21). And when the shepherds come looking for their sheep, we strengthened Mak's denial of theft from "Had I not been elsewhere, / some would have bought it full square" to "Had I not been elsewhere, / I would have stopped it full square" (510-11).

Because the medieval text lacks stage directions, we had uncertainties, too, about the narratively necessary physical action. For instance, when Daw first appears, he does not recognize Coll and Gib and decides to turn around; in the Matheson, Marx, and Kinnunen translation, this moment reads:
You two are monsters! Let me and my sheep
Quickly retreat.
Bad idea, what I meant,
Dashing on this heath, hell-bent,
I would soon repent,
Tumbling over my feet.
                            (138-44) (48)

Daw's specific greeting of Coll and Gib in the next ("Ah, sir, God save you, good master of mine!") makes clear that Daw now recognizes them and has decided not to retreat (45). However, it is unclear why Daw changes his mind about retreating and when his moment of recognition occurs: does he start to retreat and stumble, conclude that retreating is a bad idea because he is stumbling, and then see Coll and Gib more clearly? Or does he start to retreat, see Coll and Gib more clearly and, distracted, stumble as a result? Because Daw refers to retreating or turning with his sheep, in our production, we decided to have Daw enter during the previous stanza struggling to herd the flock of sheep over the ice and snow; we then had him turn to flee and bump into the flock, whose response to Daw's "retreat" command was delayed. (49)

Another point of confusion for us came when Mak returns to warn Gill that the shepherds are on their way to search for the stolen sheep. When Gill sends away whoever is at the door, Mak identifies himself as her husband, to which Gill, in the Matheson, Marx and Kinnunen translation, responds:
Then we've got the devil at hand,
Sir Guile!
Lo, he bleats like a goat,
As if caught by the throat.
I can do nothing worth note
All this while.
                   (409-414) (50)

Here, I was uncertain as to whether Gill was complaining to Mak about the sheep or to the audience about Mak. Her use of the word "bleats" makes it sound as if the sheep has interfered with her household work while Mak has been away. On the other hand, she has just complained about the noise Mak made outside the door and, in her previous scene, connected Mak's knocking at the door to a disruption of her housework; it seemed possible, too, that Gill is using the word "bleats" to liken the annoyance of Mak's cries to the sheep's. We chose to have her use the line to complain about Mak in order to help motivate Mak's defense of his actions in the next line.

Other as-yet unanswered questions that came up during blocking were whether the shepherds can see the angel or just hear him (their lines only describe an aural experience) and how violent of a punishment the blanket tossing is meant to be. We knew the latter event needed to be a clear act of mercy and that the shepherds' change of heart, though it takes up only a small amount of text, must emerge clearly as the turning point of the play. However, the physical action of the punishment could be enacted aggressively (to warn Mak and Gill and exorcise the shepherds' frustration) or lightheartedly (to change the mood of a heavy moment). In order to highlight the shepherds' choice of mercy, we rendered the action more comically than seriously: rather than actually toss the actors in a piece of fabric, we stylized the movement in slow motion, with Mak and Gill running and jumping in ridiculous shapes underneath rather than above a billowing blanket, and underscored it with a lighthearted reprise of "Mirie it is." This stylization allowed us to show Mak and Gill as appropriately frightened but signal to the audience the shepherds' change to a playful attitude.

We also employed a more abstract physical and visual vocabulary in the transition to Bethlehem. For a contemporary audience, the shepherds' relationship to time and place is complicated: they seem, based on their apparent existence within a medieval English grazing economy and the speed of their journey to the birth of Christ, to exist in both places and times at once. Rather than stage a literal journey, which might focus the audience's attention too much on trying to make sense of this timeline and geography, we staged it as a metaphorical transition from suffering to salvation. Underscored by celebratory chords from one of the "Gloria" fragments, we transformed the fabric that had been snow and the angel's wings into the landscape that the shepherds crossed, and then we folded it up to become the swaddled Christ child in the manger. However, as I mentioned, I wanted to portray Mary and Joseph realistically rather than archetypically in order to reinforce their believability, so in the transition, the actors playing Mary and Joseph donned the tattered, contemporary, rural work clothes that had been worn by Gill and Mak. (In a subtle nod to traditional depictions of Mary and Joseph, Gill's sweater was blue and Mak's jacket was greenish-brown.) After their miraculous journey, the shepherds were faced with people who looked essentially just like they did: young, poor, and ill-clad for the cold.

A major area of experimentation in rehearsals was the flock of sheep, since their presence was an addition to the original play. Their role as a sort of chorus was hard to establish, so I started having them say aloud the unit titles that Matheson, Marx, and Kinnunen use to separate the scenes in their adaptation. We found it useful and entertaining to let the sheep react silently to the events of the play, but we had to distinguish the sheep's presence in the theatrical space as commentators from their presence in the shepherd's geographic space as livestock. We had to decide whether the sheep could react individually or all need to listen with the same point of view. Once we had puppets in rehearsal, we experimented with movements ranging from literal to abstract. Puppets were worn on the puppeteers' ankles and hands: ankle puppets looked more like a flock but hand puppets were necessary for sightlines, since our stage was not raised, and control of expression. A more choreographed movement vocabulary helped to create a connection between the ankle and hand puppets. Noting how often the sheep create obstacles in the play, we decided to make them a stubborn, easily frightened, slightly stupid bunch who always worked as a group and were very aware of their specialness. To serve this characterization, we ended up with sequences of repetitive, dance-like extensions of the legs and arms that highlighted the sheep's exaggerated personalities and made visible the unity of the flock.

We had to craft a clear arc for the stolen sheep's point of view, which mean deciding whether it wanted to stay with Mak and Gill or return to its home with the flock. To heighten the dramatic tension, we decided to have the stolen sheep be at first scared but then seduced by Mak and Gill's adoration and thereby divided in its allegiance. The seduction of the sheep, with petting and praise, helped drive home the self-interest that all the characters must possess in order to survive in their harsh and unfair world. We ended up calling the stolen sheep "Dolly," despite a wether being a castrated male. At first, it was a joke, because we had a female puppeteer, but we kept it--and even had Mak use the name aloud to get the sheep's attention--because it helped characterize Mak's tactics in the theft as a flirtation. It also evoked our modern association of sheep with the human manipulation of cloning.

Throughout the rehearsal process, I relied heavily on games as a rehearsal tool: physical exercises to hone the sharp movements required for heightened comedy, call-and-response exercises to let the actors practice interacting with an audience and speed drills in order to keep the energy high. The resulting playfulness, I hope, helped the actors enter performances with a welcoming sense of flexibility and receptiveness.

I am pleased to say that the production seemed well-received. We were invited to give an additional performance at Rochester University; though we were unable to accept the invitation due to schedule conflicts, we were gratified that the performance was enjoyable enough to merit a remount. Lynn Staley, one of the organizers of the Colgate conference, described the effectiveness of the sheep chorus at conveying the "helplessness and the incomprehension of the mute natural world used to clothe, feed, and enrich its human inhabitants." (51) Eric Grode, director of Syracuse's Goldring Arts Journalism Program, called the production "delightful from beginning to end" and expressed his pleasure at seeing "someone take the reins of (A) finding a classic in the canon, (B) breathing new life into it, and (C) deviating from the usual time and location (8pm in a proscenium theater) in the hope of luring new audiences." (52) On the pedagogical front, the production gave my student collaborators more confidence in their versatility: I saw them grow more comfortable with nonliteral storytelling, heightened language and stylized movement. Judging by my visit to a theater history class that read the play after seeing our production, student audiences at Syracuse grew more confident in their ability to interpret and enjoy a play from an unfamiliar time period too.

Because of constraints on time, budget, and pedagogical obligations, there were unquestionably elements of the production that needed further exploration, including the blanket tossing, the mechanics of our puppets, and the music selections. If I do the production again, I would want to collaborate with a musicologist on creating song arrangements that are meaningful to modern audiences but maintain more expertly investigated relationships to the medieval melodies and harmonies. I am eager to work with Rosemarie McGerr on a new performance script that accounts for what we learned from rehearsals: I am not convinced that an adaptation yet exists that is clear and compelling enough for non-academic productions but faithful enough to do justice to the Wakefield Master's work. And above all, I am eager to begin teaching the Second Shepherds' Play--in history and literature as well as acting classes--in hopes of presenting it to future practitioners as a relevant, rewarding play that is not to be skipped the next time they open their anthologies.

Production Credits:


Amanda McCormick (Sheep); Carly Caviglia (Sheep / Angelic Chorus); Haley Ayers (Sheep / Angelic Chorus); Jack Fortin (Gill / Musician); Josh Kring (Angel / Joseph); Manda Borden (Coll / Musician); Morgan Price (Mak / Musician); Shamel Fadloun (Sheep / Mary); Stephanie Craven (Gib); Sydney Miller (Gib).

Creative Team:

Puppet Design and Construction: Carmen Maria Martinez and Karen Walcott; Movement Consultant: Felix Ivanov; Music Director: Hannah Shaffer; Stage Manager: Andy Jacobson


Hall of Presidents, Colgate University, December 2, 2017; Loft Theatre, Syracuse University, December 5, 2017.


(1.) Peter Meredith, "The Towneley Pageants," in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, eds. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 152; Amy Couchoud introduces the play as "rarely performed" in "The Second Shepherd's Play from Folger Consort (Review)," (December 6 2016).

(2.) (accessed August 14, 2018); Barbara Mackay, "The Second Shepherds' Play" (December 6, 2016). The 1966 RSC production, listed as the "Second Shepherds' Play," was a tour. The 1978 RSC production is listed in this database as "The Shepherds' Play" but contains the cast of characters that matches the second, not first, of the two Towneley shepherd plays; it played at the Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon.

(3.) In his argument for the play's artistic sophistication, Maynard Mack, Jr., focuses on the play's deliberate union of distinct parodic and sacred elements. "The Second Shepherds' Play: A Reconsideration." PMLA, vol. 93, no. 1 (January 1978): 78.

(4.) An expanded version of McGerr's 2016 New Chaucer Society paper appears on pp. XX to XX of this volume under the title "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play: Polyphony as Dramatic Experience in the Medieval World and Our Own." All subsequent quotes from McGerr's research are taken from this expanded version.

(5.) Meredith makes clear that insufficient production records exist to confirm the circumstances of the Towneley Cycle's original performances. In "The Dramatic Setting of the Wakefield Annunciation," Martin Stevens speaks more specifically to a "fixed-stage theory." PMLA, vol. 81, no. 3 (June 1966): 193.

(6.) For more information, see the mission statements of these companies at their websites:, and

(7.) "Photo Flash: Folger Theatre Presents the Second Shepherds' Play," (November 30, 2016).

(8.) All quotes from the Middle English text of the play, unless otherwise noted, come from David Bevington's edition of the text in his anthology Medieval Drama (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975). I have chosen to quote the Middle English text when discussing the play itself (as opposed to my production) in order to separate out my interpretive choices from the Wakefield Master's work. As I will discuss later, my use of a more heavily adapted translation as our performance text was, in and of itself, and interpretive choice. I found Bevington's version to be edited just enough to make the Middle English accessible for a non-expert.

(9.) Lisa J. Kiser, "'Mak's Heirs': Sheep and Humans in the Pastoral Ecology of the Towneley First and Second Shepherds' Plays" Journal of English and Germanic Philology, volume 108, no. 3 (July 2009): 336-39.

(10.) Ibid.

(11.) Ibid., 346.

(12.) "Special Report: Central New York Region Economic Profile," (accessed August 1, 2018)

(13.) A description and photos of the production can be found in Mark Brown's review of the production at Edinburgh: "Theatre du Soleil's debut production at the Edinburgh International Festival is a coup de theatre," (August 24, 2012)

(14.) For more information about All of The Things' design and construction work, done by Carmen Maria Martinez and Karen Walcott, see their website:

(15.) Kiser, "Mak's Heirs," 356.

(16.) Ibid., 352-55.

(17.) Ibid., 355.

(18.) W. B. Worthen, Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, 6th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth Cenage Learning, 2011), 255. Several chapters in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theater reinforced for me that my own unfamiliarity with the style of medieval acting is not uncommon: Meg Twycross, in "The Theatricality of Medieval English Plays," states that "we shall never really know" whether the acting was "highly stylized" or "moderately naturalistic" and points out that the elevated text and the supernatural characters might indicate "a certain measure of stylization" (32). Peter Meredith, however, also points out that, in the Shepherds, Wakefield has created "three believable human beings" (174).

(19.) Our acting curriculum at Syracuse--along with all of the programs I have trained in or worked in to date--is based in the methodology of Constantin Stanislavski, co-founder of the Moscow Art Theatre. Stanislavski's system developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, aimed to create a repeatable psychophysical technique for achieving emotional truth (rather than artifice) in performance. The basic principles of this technique are laid out in Stanislavski's book An Actor Prepares, Trans. by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood (New York: Routledge/Theatre Arts Books, 1989.)

(20.) Maynard Mack, Jr. uses the term "parody" to discuss the sheep-stealing storyline; David Bevington calls it a farce in the introduction to his edition of the play in Medieval Drama. Since we do not know what Wakefield would have called it, my discussion of the play's comedic style aims to analyze it from the perspective of the pedagogies taught in a contemporary acting program.

(21.) Maynard Mack, Jr. "The Second Shepherds' Play: A Reconsideration." PMLA, vol. 93, no. 1 (Jan., 1978): 78.

(22.) Despite the parallel of Mak and Gill with Mary and Joseph, I chose not to use the same pair of actors for these roles so as to avoid being too on-the-nose and to create more balanced opportunities for student performers. As it turned out, I would also need the actors playing Mak and Gill to provide instrumental music for the transition to Bethlehem.

(23.) "The Second Shepherds' Play" in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. 1. Eds. M. H. Abrams, E. Talbot Donaldson, Hallett Smith, Robert M. Adams, Samuel Holt Monk, Lawrence Lipking, George H. Ford, and David Daiches. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1979), 346.

(24.) "The Second Shepherd's Play, translated into Modern English," trans. Natasha Luepke,, accessed August 15, 2018.

(25.) "The Second Shepherd's Play" in Staging Salvation: Six Medieval Plays in Modern English, adapted for performance by Lister M. Matheson, William G. Marx and Robert L. Kinnunen; music transcribed and arranged by Vincent J. Corrigan. (Tucson: ACMRS Publications, 2014), 53. All subsequent quotes from our performance text come from this edition.

(26.) McGerr, "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play," 2.

(27.) Ibid., 2-3.

(28.) Ibid., 3-4.

(29.) I had two very useful conversations with music historian and Syracuse faculty member Amanda Eubanks Winkler: one in person on December 21, 2016, as I was conceiving the production and another one via Skype on August 23, 2018, as I was preparing to write about my directorial choices. Winkler explained to me that the music in medieval drama would likely have been sung a capella and discussed with me how Medieval and Renaissance productions used music to signify meaning differently from how we use it today. As a non-musician, I found Winkler's 2018 article "A Tale of Twelfth Night: Music, Performance, and the Pursuit of Authenticity" helpful in providing me with further vocabulary to describe directorial decisions around whether or not to try to replicate original performance practices (Shakespeare Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 2, Summer 2018: 251-70).

(30.) Amanda Eubanks Winkler, Skype conversation with the author, August 25 2018.

(31.) Kiser, "Mak's Heirs," 341.

(32.) McGerr, "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play." 10-11.

(33.) Ibid., 16.

(34.) Ibid., 12-13.

(35.) Ibid., 31.

(36.) Ibid., 37 and 41.

(37.) Ibid., 32-36.

(38.) Christopher Page and Catherine King, "Medieval Music: To Sing and Dance," Lecture, Gresham College, St. Sepulchre Without Newgate, December 10. 2015. A transcript and video recording are available at the Gresham College website: Karen Saupe provides further information about the piece, entitled "Lullay, Lullay, La, Lullay" in Middle English Marian Lyrics. Middle English Text Series (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997).

(39.) McGerr, "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play," 32.

(40.) Ibid., 45.

(41.) Ibid., 46 and 48.

(42.) Ibid., 45.

(43.) We looked at several Glorias in The Old Hall Manuscript, Vol. II, transcribed and edited by Andrew Hughes and Margaret Bent (Middleton: American Institute of Musicology Publications, 1969).

(44.) McGerr, "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play," 54.

(45.) Kiser, "Mak's Heirs," 351.

(46.) In The Actor and the Text, Cicely Berry devotes a chapter ("Heightened versus Naturalistic Text") to translating the literary distinction between verse and prose text into acting technique. Berry was the voice director of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1969 to 2014, during which time the company mounted its second production of the Second Shepherd's Play. (New York: Applause Theatre Books, 1993), 32-51.

(47.) Scholars seem to disagree on whether Wakefield wrote in nine- or 13-line stanzas, as explained by Martin Stevens in "Did the Wakefield Master Write a Nine-Line Stanza," Comparative Drama, vol. 15, issue 2 (Summer 1981), 99-119. If the stanza is nine lines long, then the first four lines contain internal rhyme; if 13, then the first eight lines have alternating rhyming endings. The Matheson translation and Bevington edition I have quoted in this paper both use a nine-line stanza. Matheson's translation, it is important to note, does not preserve any internal rhyme for the first four lines; instead of AB/AB/AB/AB/C/D/D/D/C, its rhyme scheme is A/A/A/A/C/D/D/D/C.

(48.) In Bevington's edition of the Middle English text, this passage reads: "Ye ar two all-wightys! /I wyll gyf my shepe / A turne. / Bot full yll have I ment, / As I walk on this bent, /I may lightly repent, / My toes if I spurne." (139-44). It should be noted that Bevington's footnote to these lines interprets Daw as pretending to encounter a monster; either way, Daw's reason for reversing his decision remains unclear.

(49.) In our production, the flock then continued to retreat so that they were offstage by the time Gib asked about their whereabouts.

(50.) In the Bevington Middle English edition, this passage reads: "Then may we se here the dewill in a bande,/ Sir Gile! / Lo, he commys with a lote / As he were holden in the throte. /I may not sit at my note / a handling while." (407-12)

(51.) This quote comes from Staley's final report to the Central New York Humanities Corridor on her use of grant money for the Colgate Symposium. She submitted the report on December 8, 2017, and shared it with me via email the same day.

(52.) This quote comes from a letter sent via email by Eric Grode to the leadership of the Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts on December 7, 2018, and copied to me.


Berry, Cicely. The Actor and the Text. New York: Applause Theatre Books, 1993.

Couchoud, Amy. "The Second Shepherd's Play from Folger Consort (Review),", December 6 2016.

Kiser, Lisa J. " 'Mak's Heirs': Sheep and Humans in the Pastoral Ecology of the Towneley First and Second Shepherds' Plays." Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 108, no. 3 (July 2009): 336-59.

Mack, Maynard Jr. "The Second Shepherd's Play: A Reconsideration," PMLA, vol. 93, no. 1 (Jan., 1978): 78-85.

Mackay, Barbara. "The Second Shepherds' Play (Review),", December 6, 2016.

Meredith, Peter. "The Towneley Pageants" in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, ed. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher, 2nd ed., 152-82. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

McGerr, Rosemarie. "Voicing Identity, Community, and Diversity in The Second Shepherds' Play: Polyphony as Dramatic Experience in the Medieval World and Our Own." Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, vol. 32 (2019): XX-XX.

The Old Hall Manuscript, Vol. II, transcribed and edited by Andrew Hughes and Margaret Bent. Middleton: American Institute of Musicology Publications, 1969.

Page, Christopher, and Catherine King. "Medieval Music: To Sing and Dance," Lecture, Gresham College, St. Sepulchre Without Newgate, December 10, 2015.

"Photo Flash: Folger Theatre Presents the Second Shepherds' Play,", November 30, 2016.

Saupe, Karen, ed. Middle English Marian Lyrics. Middle English Text Series. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997.

"The Second Shepherds' Pageant" in Medieval Drama, ed. David Bevington, 383-408. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975.

"The Second Shepherds' Play" in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1. Eds. M. H. Abrams, E. Talbot Donaldson, Hallett Smith, Robert M. Adams, Samuel Holt Monk, Lawrence Lipking, George H. Ford, and David Daiches, 344-65. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1979.

"The Second Shepherd's Play" in Staging Salvation: Six Medieval Plays in Modern English, adapted for performance by Lister M. Matheson, William G. Marx and Robert L. Kinnunen; music transcribed and arranged by Vincent J. Corrigan, 53-85. Tucson: ACMRS Publications, 2014.

"Special Report: Central New York Region Economic Profile." Office of the New York State Comptroller,, November 2016.

Stanislavski, Constantin. An Actor Prepares. Translated by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood. New York: Routledge/Theatre Arts Books, 1989.

Stevens, Martin. "The Dramatic Setting of the Wakefield Annunciation," PMLA, vol. 81, no. 3(Jun., 1966): 193-98.

Stevens, Marin. "Did the Wakefield Master Write a Nine-Line Stanza," Comparative Drama, vol. 15, issue 2 (Summer 1981): 99-119.

Twycross, Meg. "The Theatricality of Medieval English Plays" in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, ed. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher, 2nd ed., 26-74. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Winkler, Amanda Eubanks. "A Tale of Twelfth Night: Music, Performance, and the Pursuit of Authenticity," Shakespeare Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 251-70.

Worthen, W. B. The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, 6th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth Cenage Learning, 2011.
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Author:McGerr, Katherine E.
Publication:Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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