'THIS MAN IS PYRAMUS': A Pre-history of the English Mummers' Plays

Pettitt, Thomas
July 2000
Medieval English Theatre;2000, Vol. 22, p70
Academic Journal
The article presents the author's insights on the historical aspects of mummers' plays in England. He says that the earliest record of this traditional English folk play dates back to 1737, but records of similar format plays may put mumming into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He mentions that social historians has pointed the inadequate documentations of mummers' plays, but he argues that there are many references on this folk play form and most of them suggests these were performed by costumed men during winter season events, like All Souls day and Christmas, in which they visit and entertain private households in return for food or money. However, these folk traditions were sometimes considered as public nuisance and as a way to assassinate and steal from prominent people.


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