On Monday, 17th June 2013 the Year 9 and 10 Drama students performed MUMMING SHOWS for the All Saints’ College boarders as part of the Annual Drama Comedy Night.
Mumming plays were folk plays performed by troupes of actors, known as Mummers. Originally from England, Mumming plays appeared from the mid to late 18th Century. The plays were usually short, comic dramas with rhyming texts. Mummers sometimes wore masks and often wore funny costumes, and their plays contained larger than life characters, songs and much frivolity. The cast is made up of stock characters: Figure of Light (Hero), Figure of Dark (Villain), Object of Desire (Princess), Quack (Sham Doctor) and Joker (Jester/ Narrator).
The play structure is largely based around the themes of duality - good versus evil, and resurrection. Generally, the two figures (light & dark) woo the object of desire. Their boasting and insulting leads to combat, which results in the death of one of them. The Joker calls for the audience to will the Sham Doctor to resuscitate the slain character. The main incident, therefore, is the killing and restoring to life of one of the characters.
Students learn about the dramatic form and performance style of the Mumming play.
Using well-known fairy tales, which they adapt, each performance troupe adopts the stock character roles and devises an original piece of theatre, based on the Mumming dramatic structure. This year, the students adapted the well-known tales of Cindarella, Little Red, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.
Mrs Zoë McGirr
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