Article Title

The First Perugian Passion Play: Aspects of Structure


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

One of the most valuable documents for studying the origins and development of vernacular drama in Italy and in all of western Europe is the fourteenth century laudario of the Confraternity of St. Andrew in Perugia. The laude in this collection were sung by members of the lay society when they gathered in their oratory to meditate on the passion of Christ, administer their works of charity, and practice self-flagellation in common. Similar groups of lay men and women, called disciplinati because of the adoption of the disciplina, or small scourge, into their devotional ritual, sprang up all over Europe after the movement initiated by Raniero Fasani had spread out from Perugia in the spring of 1260 in a chain-reaction of penitential processions that reached as far as Poland.1 In marked contrast to the enthusiastic excesses of the movement's origin, the numerous confraternities founded in its wake were notable for their conservatism and orthodoxy, especially in their early years. And, for reasons yet to be fully explained, within the circle of these lay confraternities vernacular drama began to flourish in late medieval Italy. The laudarî that have survived well document this theatrical tradition.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.