In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Staging L'Omme Pécheur and The Castle ofPerseverance Peter Happé In this article I should like to provide a comparative study of the staging oíL'Omme Pécheur and The Castle ofPerseverance} It may well be that the English play of c. 1400-25, in some way not easily explained, was influenced by the French techniques in staging the moralités such as L'Omme which are roughly contemporary with it. My ultimate purpose is to suggest that the theatrical resources implied in the two chosen texts are remarkably similar, and that this in turn suggests that acting styles may well have been similar. To provide an adequate analysis I shall have to look briefly at the mystères, at L'Omme Pécheur itself, which is a play not much discussed, at The Castle of Perseverance, and at tournaments. En route I shall make occasional references to the Cornish plays which touch my main purpose in a number of ways. I The evidence to be reviewed comes from the extraordinarily rich theatrical conventions built up for the performance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of the mystères, which we may consider as external evidence though a little indirect, and the information about performance from within Verard's printed text of c. 1494 both from the extensive stage directions of which there are about two hundred, and from dialogue.2 It appears that little work has been done on the staging of the moralités. But it may be useful to identify some features of the mystères which were contemporary with them on the assumption that the two genres were performed in a similar manner. For the external evidence there is a wide range of sources in the texts of mystères themselves, together with supporting records of varying scope, and a great burden of critical scholarship. It all adds up to an inflammable mixture of contradictions and counter377 378Comparative Drama claims where certainty is often hard to find. Such ambiguities, however, provide pleasant pasture for further scholarship or speculation. But whatever the uncertainties there is no doubt that the mystères were performed over a period lasting from about 1430 to about 1600. I am calling them mystères though this is a handy way of designating Passions, Résurrections, Nativités, saint plays, and a variety of other types difficult to describe comprehensively except that they all are structured around scripture narrative or Christian legend. One important characteristic relevant to this large accumulation and to L'Omme Pécheur together with a small number of other moralités is their great size. This is in itself an indication of the strength of the theatrical tradition and also of the amount of resources which the cities and towns of France were prepared to expend at this period for a prestigious performance of the town play. L'Omme Pécheur has approximately 22,000 lines, and it is not the longest by any means. Such length might lead one to expect that the performance would take place over a number of days or indeed weeks. The text of L'Omme Pécheur, printed at Paris, indicates that the play was performed at Tours. There are also notes about performances of other plays at Tours for 1485 and 1490. The possible transfer to Orléans in 1507 is a link with the mystères in that the texts of some of these great cycles appear in various disguises and adaptations with versions or performances dependent upon one another in regionalized groups. Unfortunately there is no indication in the text of L'Omme Pécheur whether the performance lasts for more than one day, though 22,000 lines is well above the daily amounts commonly found in the mystères, something between 5,000 and 10,000 perhaps.3 The chief aspect of staging with which I will be concerned here is the configuration of the whole acting area. It is a topic upon which a great deal of work has been done for the mystères indicating the popularity of a type of stage that includes an open space with various names, such as "l'aire de...