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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article analyzes Henry Medwall's play, Fulgens and Lucres. It describes the progressive manipulation of both theatrical convention and actor-audience relations that recurs throughout Fulgens and Lucres; and how the roles of, and boundaries between, player and spectator are played with and juggled around to help balance serious social commentary with light, festive entertainment. It discusses the play's performance conditions, patronage and audience, and performance space and meaning. Fulgens and Lucres offers an intricate weaving of dramatic tradition and innovation, balancing the symbols and devices of theatrical heritage with a new secular outlook based on the principles of humanism. It shows how performers and playwrights used and manipulated established dramatic traditions to present their notoriously divisive observations of their social betters, to offer new ideas or confirm old beliefs, and attempt to preserve the delicate equilibrium between master and servant, character and actor, legitimate critique and impertinent, seditious condemnation.

Keywords: social commentary, plays, entertainment, performance conditions, patronage, audience, performance space

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