What Special Effects Were Used To Stage The Medieval Mystery Play “Noah’s Ark?”

High school
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Medieval plays like "Noah's Ark" served as pedagogical tools that provided teaching of the Scripture rather than a tool of entertainment. Despite this fact however, its staging and production design also involved special effects.


There were varied usage of the methods of production alongside the complexity of the plays from place to place, but the creation of theatrical, imaginary space was a notable characteristic of "Noah's Ark."2

In "Noah's Ark," processional staging was used and was considered an important aspect of the play. Processional staging was considered an extremely taxing task as compared with other theatrical forms, but was a distinctive physical feature of "Noah's Ark," being a medieval play. The play involved planning a clearly defined circuit, which can be pushed through a synchronized schedule and traversed in a reasonable amount of time. The actors and actresses were also faced with several difficulties, such as the rigors of continuously staging a single episode repeatedly throughout the day.

Revivifying "Noah's Ark" entailed experiments different from the traditional mobile pageantry stations or theatre-in-the round which used to characterise past presentations. A mobile is an important part of the special effects of "Noah's Ark," which involved the creation of a convincing scene.3 An isolated staging place was needed when the play was finally staged. The pageant wagons, which were also known as carriages, were considered a high place, constructed into a house with two rooms, being open in its upper floor. The lower room served as the dressing room while the higher room served as the stage on which the actors performed. ...
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