Can you create your own?
A modern-spelling script, used for our weekly read-throughs, can be downloaded by clicking here.
An at-home performance of the medieval York Mystery Play.
The York Mystery Plays were performed by the medieval craft guilds, and reflected the artistry of their communities. This tradition was resurrected in the 20th century and still goes on today, in the streets, parks and historic buildings of York.
Over the course of the year, we will create and perform all 48 plays from the York Mystery Plays- using household objects and filmed in our own homes. And we want you to create one of them! To find out more, visit our website at https://www.yorkmysteriesathome.co.uk/create-your-own.html
The seventh play from the York Corpus Christi Plays deals with the first murder, as Cain kills his brother Abel. It is based on the fourth Chapter of Genesis. The play was originally performed by the Guild of Glovers. There is no obvious link to the play's theme or characters. However, the Glovers relied on the other trades that make up the Genesis-based pageants- particularly on the guilds concerned with leather and cloth. As such, there is a familial link. I have chosen to create glove-puppets as a nod to the guild!
The original script- the Register- is missing two pages that form the heart of the play. These presumably deal with the sacrifice of Cain and Abel, the rejection of Cain's offering, the murder itself, and the hiding of Abel's body. This hole in the text resonates with the loss created by Abel's death. However, modern productions have instead tended to rely on stitching in lines from other play cycles (such as Chester or N-Town), or else have created new text for the occasion. A later addition includes the comic figure of Cain's servant Brewbarret.
The original script, in 15th Century Middle English, can be found here, courtesy of Prof. Clifford Davidson and the University of Rochester's TEAMS Middle English Text Series.
A modernised and edited version of the script can be downloaded by clicking here (PDF).
Watch an adaptation by Tom Straszewski: