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Of course God would direct Creation from on top of a fork-lift....
January 27, 2013 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Adapted from the medieval English mystery plays by Tony Harrison, “The Mysteries” was first staged in 1977 at the National Theatre in London under the direction of Bill Bryden. It remained part of the repertoire of the Cottesloe Theatre for many years; the 1985 production was filmed for TV broadcast.

A cycle of three plays, “The Mysteries” tells the story of the Bible from the Creation to the Last Judgement. The original mystery plays were traditionally presented by the craft guilds, which inspired Harrison and Bryden to present the actors as modern-day workers and tradesmen - God, for example (as portrayed by Brian Glover), is a construction foreman. It incorporated live music (a mixture of traditional folk and contemporary folk-rock), dance (square and morris dancing), and audience participation. For the 1985 production, music was provided by the English folk-rock band Home Service, with guest vocalist Linda Thompson.

On YouTube (recorded from a Dutch broadcast, hence the subtitles):

The Nativity: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Parts 1 and 2 possibly NSFW, as they feature a mostly-naked Adam and Eve)

The Passion: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Doomsday: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
posted by e-man (3 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I suppose it's intrinsic to the source material, but I was frankly unprepared for the virulence of the antisemitism. There's a bit of a dig at Moslems, too; Pilate swears by "Mahound", and the Dutch translation helpfully explains that he's swearing by the Devil.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:41 AM on January 28, 2013


Joe in Australia: I suppose it's intrinsic to the source material, but I was frankly unprepared for the virulence of the antisemitism. There's a bit of a dig at Moslems, too; Pilate swears by "Mahound", and the Dutch translation helpfully explains that he's swearing by the Devil.
Both abound in Medieval literature. Chaucer tells a tale of a Jewish boy who becomes enthralled with the beauty of Christianity; his people react by killing him and throwing him in a toilet pit. Through a miracle, the dead boy rises and sings hymns, until the local Christians notice and pull him out. In typical Chaucerian fashion, this "religious story" is told as a comedy (which it clearly is, if one can get past the horrible anti-semitism).

As for the anti-Muslim sentiment... the only thing worse than defeating an opponent is having your ass handed to you, repeatedly, by said opponent. The Crusades are romanticized so much, at least in part, because of what a complete, colossal failure they (mostly) were.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:17 AM on January 28, 2013


It's a shame because I really love this production otherwise.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:19 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


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