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Student theatre cast featured in peer-reviewed drama journal

April 20, 2012

After a successful collaboration on “The Ascension” at a medieval dramatic festival in 2010, a performance by a student theatre cast from Loyola University New Orleans was recently selected as one of only three Chester Cycle plays reviewed in a recent edition of Early Theatre, a peer-reviewed journal.

The University of Toronto's Chester: Peril and Danger to Her Majesty festival is dedicated to the group of mystery plays produced in Chester, England during the 15th and 16th centuries. The event featured students and faculty members from across North America performing a version of “The Ascension.”

In 1572, Christopher Goodman, a Protestant clergyman who objected to the cycle’s Catholic content, failed to prevent a performance of the Chester Cycle that he warned would cause peril and danger to her majesty. The Chester 2010 performances, which enacted the Christian story from Creation to Judgment, were based on Goodman’s description of those original performances.

Each performing group developed their own approach to the question of what made the Chester plays so dangerous that Goodman wanted them banned, which they eventually were in 1575. John Sebastian, Ph.D., associate professor of English, collaborated on dramaturgy and Ken Weber, associate chaplain of Mission and Ministry, offered musical direction. Directed by Artemis Preeshl, associate professor of theatre, Loyola’s production incorporated the Ignatian method of prayer, which she learned in the Jesuit Lenten Retreat in 2010 and again during the Ignatian retreat earlier this year.

Theresa Coletti, Ph.D., author of the book, “Mary Magdalene and the Drama of Saints: Theater, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval England,” complimented Loyola’s cast for having the “most authentic Northern European Jesus” of the Chester 2010 performances.

Early Theatre welcomes research in medieval or early modern drama and theatre history, rooted in the records and documents of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

For more information, contact Preeshl at aspreesh@loyno.edu or 504-865-2686.

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