The University of Lethbridge is exploring a pair of medieval “mysteries” but that doesn’t mean the actors are discovering “whodunnit” in “A Barne In Bedlam: Two Approaches to Medieval Plays,” running in the David Spinks Theatre, March 20-24.
“It’s not a mystery, it’s a retelling of Biblical tales,” said Mia Van Leeuwen, who is directing “The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve.”
There are two different interpretations of the plays by two different directors, working with the same cast for both of them.
“The Rise and Fall of Adam And Eve” is similar to what might have been seen 500 years ago when it debuted.
On the other hand, “Second Shepherd’s Play” is a satirical and contemporized interpretation of the nativity, where a couple pretend a lamb is their baby. It includes multi-media components of a video montage and soundscapes.
“It’s the same cast in both,” said Jordan Payne, who is joined on stage by Kaitlyn Olfert and Olusryi Dada.
“The second play, ‘Three Shepherds’ (directed by Gabrielle Houle), is about three shepherds talking about who stole a sheep when the angel Gabriel comes down and tells them Jesus is being born in Bethlehem.
“They decide ‘we’d better go to see that,’” Payne summarized.
Van Leeuwen noted creating “The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve” was a collaborative process with the cast, which they appreciated being able to do.
“Collaborating with the students was really important. We started with the themes from the play and started creating,” Van Leeuwen said.
“I love that they trusted us to contribute our ideas,” said Olfert.
“We were allowed to ask questions which really helped us understand the text,” Payne said, observing the plays are performed in medieval English; however, there is a lot of physicality in them which makes it easy to understand.
“Everybody knows these stories,” Van Leeuwen observed.
“They are very physical plays.”
“The creative process was a lot of fun,” Dada said, adding he enjoyed being able to speak in his native language of Yarube from Nigeria.
“They let me experiment with it, which was fun,” he said.
Tickets to experience these classic medieval tales are available at the University Box Office or by calling 403-329-2616 (Monday – Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.). Tickets are also available online: ulethbridge.ca/tickets. Tickets are $18 regular, $13 seniors and alumni, $12 students.