Category Archives: Concept

Year End Report

Year-End Report

It’s been a year since I created Cold Reads/Online—a Facebook group whose member hosts create events in which anyone, anywhere, can read plays together via video chat. In that time I’ve hosted well over a hundred such events, attended by friends (and strangers) coast to coast.

Continue reading Year End Report

Come Read with Us

Hello Readers

For the past year, I’ve been working to develop the Facebook group Cold Reads/Online (CR/O), through which anyone can read with others anywhere via video chat rooms. I announced it it in a lengthy post here last April 19, and featured it on the home page. Since then I’ve read nearly 200 plays with 50-60 friends in nine states coast to coast, three to a dozen at a time. Continue reading Come Read with Us

The Dark and Middle Ages

Under Construction

This page, when completed, will narrate the centuries of church abolishment and resurrection between the classics and their rediscovery.

Dark Ages

Some wonder if the proscription of theatre throughout western Europe caused the Dark Ages of the next 600 years, during which time religion battled for souls and pondered the puzzle of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Others note the irony of an Easter Sunday near the end of the first millennium, in the predawn light of the Renaissance, at the Catholic monastery of St Gall, in Switzerland, where priests impersonating angels and the Marys acted out the Quem Quaeritis trope, in Latin:

“Whom seek ye in the tomb, Oh Christians?”
“Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, O Heavenly Beings.”
“He is not here, he is risen as foretold. Go and announce that he has risen from the tomb.”

Ironically, almost simultaneously, a German nun, Hrosvitha (935–73 CE), “the most remarkable woman of her time,” wrote six plays in Church Latin, modeled on Terence (but with Christian themes), to become the world’s first Neoclassic playwright, and one of the very few whose whose names and works appear until the late Fourteenth Century. Whether these plays were performed in their time is doubtful—surely not for the laity; they were in Latin, and theatrical performances were still forbidden.

Not so with Quem Quaeritis. In no time scriptural tropes turned into playlets, in vernacular dialects, based on Bible stories to attract worshipers, so successful that they overflowed into the streets and spread all over Europe, converting monarchs and their subjects to the One True Faith.

The American Century

NOTE: The remainder of this narrative deals primarily with theatre in the United States, although significant happenings in other nations are addressed as they pertain to the human art.

Immediately after the American Revolution, theatre in the new United States began to thrive; within ten years four companies were touring the eastern seaboard. After the War of 1812, the exploding population migrated west, and by the end of the 19th Century, every major town and city from Boston to Sacramento had at least one “opera house” (more than a few on Broadway), with professional companies in residence or riding the rails on tour, playing on riverboats. Continue reading The American Century