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morality play

John Heywood (c. 1497—1580) playwright and epigrammatist

John Rastell (c. 1475—1536) lawyer and printer

medieval theatre in Europe

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Were plays performed at Court, in the halls of the nobles, at the Inns of Court, and in colleges, generally but not exclusively by professional actors, dealing with a short episode and involving a limited number of characters. That interludes were sometimes performed by villagers we know from ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Their vogue was chiefly in the 15th and 16th cents. They succeeded morality Plays in the history of the drama, and are not always clearly distinguishable from them. The characters are still frequently allegorical, but the comic or farcical element is more prevalent, the versification tends to doggerel, and they are shorter than the moralities. The origin of the name is obscure. There are good examples by Heywood, Henry Medwall (see Fulgens and Lucrece), and Rastell.

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