Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies Medieval Studies

 

Medieval media Revolutions

18 April 2015


 

The Medieval Americas

3 April 2015


 

The Black Death and Beyond

29 January 2015

 


 

The Digby Conversion of St. Paul

12 April 2014, Levis Faculty Center

Translated and directed by Ann Hubert

Cast

Saul/Paul.............................................................Jon Stricker

Poeta................................................................Erin Chandler

Ananias/Angel............................................Stephanie Svarz

Caiaphas..........................................................Shelby Garrett

Anna........................................................Samantha Moriarty

Servant to Caiaphas and Anna......................Joshua Lynch

Servant to Saul/Belial…………………...Tarek Nabulsi

Stable Boy/Mercury…………………….C.J. DeDivitis

First Soldier…………………. Ayzvara Suntharalingam

Second Soldier……………………….Janjay Knowlden

Voice of God……………………………..Jacob Serber

Crew

Costumes……….….........................The Krannert Center

Lights……………………………...New Revels Players

Special Effects………………………….......Jon Stricker

Director...............................................................Ann Hubert

 

 

Director’s Notes

The Conversion of St. Paul is a medieval saint’s play written in the late fifteen/early sixteenth century in a region of England known as East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk). This play dramatizes the experiences of an early church figure, portraying his life first as the persecutor Saul and later as the convert and preacher Paul. Presented with a life-altering miracle on the road to Damascus, Saul must decide what path to travel when confronted by a personal and spiritual cross-roads.

The Conversion of St. Paul is one of only two extant medieval English saints’ plays. In the 1530s, England experienced religious unrest when King Henry VIII converted from Catholicism to Protestantism in order to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. As a result, much Catholic iconography – statues, paintings, stained glass windows, and even plays – was destroyed throughout England. The Conversion of St. Paul survived because it emphasized religious change: the story of Saul’s conversion from Judaism to Catholicism was reinterpreted as a conversion from Catholicism to Protestantism, making the play a relevant and insightful tool reinforcing the cultural trend toward Protestantism.

The survival of The Conversion of St. Paul attests to the timelessness of drama, showing that every performance contributes an understanding to the original and current cultural context in which it is produced. These ideas about authenticity and anachronism inform this production. While I have adhered to the theatrical approach of “original practice” by staging this performance in the round as a dinner theatre, I have also selectively “modernized” segments to highlight ongoing tensions in religious discourse. We as a cast believe that our compromises between the fifteenth/sixteenth and twenty-first centuries authentically address layers of temporal context.


 

Performing the middle ages

A pilot project "Performing the Middle Ages" received funding in 2013 as part of a planning grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Illinois Program for Research in the Middle Ages for the "Humanities Without Walls" initiative. The "Performing the Middle Ages" project brings together scholars specializing in medieval performing arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, and Purdue University. Three performances were staged during the planning grant year 2013: the plays "Mankind" and "The Play of Antichrist" at the University of Illinois, and a Carthusian Vespers service at Notre Dame.

The members of the "Peforming the Middle Ages" teams are also developing plans for a future performance series integrating performances of medieval arts from across the globe with collaborative scholarly study and pedagogy. Planning meetings were held at the University of Illinois on 6 October 2012 and 20 April 2013.

The members of the Performing the Middle Ages planning teams are:

  • Cara Aspesi (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Robert W. Barrett (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Anna de Bakker (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Mark Bender (Ohio State Univ.)
  • Gabriela Currie (Univ. of Minnesota)
  • Margot Fassler (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Li Guo (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Ann Hubert (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Reginald Jackson (Univ. of Chicago)
  • Tala Jarjour (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Nicolas Kamas (Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Hildegard Keller (Univ. of Indiana)
  • Herbert Kellman (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Joseph Lam (Univ. of Michigan)
  • Michael Long (Indiana Univ.)
  • Christopher Macklin (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Rosemarie McGerr (Indiana Univ.)
  • Elizabeth Oyler (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Chan Park-Miller (Ohio State Univ.)
  • Shelley Quinn (Ohio State Univ.)
  • Brian Ruppert (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Claire Sponsler (Univ. of Iowa)
  • Andrea Stevens (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Carol Symes (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Kyle A. Thomas (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Elizabeth Walch (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Anne Walters Robertson (Univ. of Chicago)
  • Sara Weisweaver (Univ. of Illinois)
  • Paul Whitfield White (Purdue Univ.)
  • Charles D. Wright (Univ. of Illinois)

Performances IN 2013

Mankind

A dinner theatre performance directed by Kimberly Fonzo and Ann Hubert

19 April 6:30pm

Levis Faculty Center

Nick Stanko as Titivillus (costume by Chris Hampson and Cara Adams)


 

The Play of Antichrist (Ludus de Antichristo)

translated by Carol Symes; directed by Kyle A. Thomas

19 April 4:00pm & 20 April 10:00am

South Quad, UI Campus

Josephine Lane (above) as Ecclesia

Elana Weiner-Kaplow (below) as Synagoga

(Jess Gersz, Costume Coordinator)


 

Carthusian Lauds Service

 

16 October

Univ. of Notre Dame

directed by Margot Fassler

 


 

The Medieval Globe: Communication, Connectivity, and Exchange

12-14 April 2012

 

al-Idrisi's World Map (1154 CE; copy of 1456)

Featuring the work of prominent scholars who are transforming our understanding of the medieval world – and the myriad ways in which our own world has been shaped by its complex relationship to the Middle Ages – this conference will

  • Explore modes of communication, media of exchange, and the myriad interconnections among medieval cultures
  • Demonstrate that the study of the medieval world is central to the study of global human endeavor, by discussing the deep roots of global processes and by engaging the complicated ways that ideas about the past inform the present and shape visions of the future
  • Enrich current perceptions of “medieval” (or “not modern”) peoples and phenomena, and to explore how “the Middle Ages” has been (and continues to be) constructed around the world and within a global context.

Speakers:

Jonathan Conant (Brown Univ.): “The Carolingians and the Ends of Empire”
Kathleen Davis (Univ. of Rhode Island) “Imagining the Past Globally: Questions and Possibilities for the Now and the Future”
Margot Fassler (Notre Dame) "Hildegard of Bingen's Cosmic Egg"
Geraldine Heng (Univ. of Texas at Austin) “Early Globalities: Projects, Questions, Methods”
Linda Komaroff (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) “Genghis Khan Faces West: Transmission and Dissemination of a New Visual Language”
Sharon Kinoshita (Univ. of California Santa Cruz) “Worlding Marco Polo”
Elizabeth Lambourn (De Montfort Univ.)
Carla Nappi (Univ. of British Columbia) “Translating the Medieval World”
Elizabeth Oyler (Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, UIUC) “Specters and Otherworlds in the Noh Play Tsunemasa”
Michael Puett (Harvard Univ.) “Understanding Early Medieval China in a Eurasian Context”
Christian Raffensperger (Wittenberg Univ.) “Who's Afraid of Macrohistory? The Joys and Pains of Crossing Traditional Boundaries in History Research and Writing.”
D. Fairchild Ruggles (Department of Landscape Architecture, UIUC) “Architecture, Agency, and Assassination: Mamluk Turks in 13th-14th-Century Egypt.”
Eleonora Stoppino (Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, UIUC) “Paper Travelers: Fictions of the Medieval Globe.”
Nicolás Wey-Gómez (California Institute of Technology) “Martin Behaim's Globe: Cosmography, Economics, and the Quest for Globalization in the Latter Middle Ages (1492)”


 

Religious Performance, City and Country in East Asia

October 9-10, 2013, Levis Center

This conference brings together leading scholars in the field from North America and Japan for a two-day symposium to examine the relationship between metropole and rural religious performance by drawing a set of clear lines of liturgical practice in the East Asia case, with special reference to Japan.  The keynote speakers will be Professors Matsuo Kōichi, National Museum of Japanese History, and Haruo Shirane, Columbia University. First, we pay attention to the position of medieval Japanese religious performance vis-à-vis continental East Asia. What were the ritual and cultural flows that informed the development of medieval Japanese Buddhist and other religious performance (Kami worship, Shugendō [mountain asceticism])? Second, we consider the character and movement of a series of religious performances in the Japanese isles. What were the producers and audiences of these performances? How, moreover, were these performative modes translated between groups in the metrapole and countryside? Third, how did performance genres such as divine dance (kagura) and visual didactic performance (etoki) influence religious performance and reception through their mixture of multiple media? Finally, how did the mobility of performers and media influence the development of religious performance? For example, how did the travel of a figure like the monk Ennin to China influence his production of shōmyō chanting in Japan? What does archeological study tell us about the movement of Pure Land Buddhist performative practices? How did performances of Kumano believers and Shugendō practitioners transmit or otherwise transform their practices in currents between metropole and mountainside? Furthermore, how were textual-performative practices related to temple arts and ritual transmission in the city and country?

Conference Program

 

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