Log #1 for Week 1, January 7-11
There had been a significant spread of Christianity since the first century A.D. Christianity was accepted as the official religion by the Roman Empire and became the central unifying force in medieval Europe. Professor Luciano pointed out that the center of political, social power resides in church. The professor’s point is very important because we are about to discover how medieval drama emerged from inside the Catholic Church. After the fall of Western Roman Empire in 457 A.D, the lands were ruled by a number of feudal loads. Most people’s lives were limited within a couple of miles from their feudal systems; peasants were living in a harsh condition with no hope. The final corruption of the Roman Empire occurred in 476, which is the beginning of Early Medieval period in the western drama history.
The social hierarchy in the middle age consisted of three classes: lords, knights/churches, and peasants. There were many powerful feudal lords throughout the Europe, and maintaining their feudal systems was of prime concern to lords. One of the ways to protect their properties was hiring strong knights. I found a similarity between medieval Europe and the age of wars in Japan. This aspect of hiring strong knights reminds me of one of Kurosawa’s films. The title is Yojimbo/The bodyguard. In this film, a tough samurai seeks a job in a town where two powerful lords are fighting to each other. These two lords are the head of their gang members and are dying to hire a tough samurai. At the end of the film, the bodyguard tears down these two gang groups and brings a piece to the town. In Japanese culture, samurai is a cord of honor.
Moving back to middle age Europe, there were two ways for ordinary people to get decent lives. One is to go to military; the other is to become church clerics. This church clerics accounts for the emergence of drama. Inside the Catholic Church, drama was gradually evolving. Professor Luciano elaborates that church clergies practiced their religious ceremonies according to Hours and devotional Orders. These religious ceremonies were scheduled from dawn to dusk.
In 925, Quem Quaeritis Trope (Whom do you seek?) was performed as a part
of Easter mass, adapting scripture to enliven a worship. Professor Luciano
brought his music CD player in the class and played a Quem Quaeritis Trope
for us, which capitalized his lecture. By listening to this music CD, DWC
students had a firm grasp of what Quem Quaeritis Trope sounded like. It
has got a tradition of Gregorian chant because of the way the trope was
chanted. The trope was enacted by clergies, monks, boys, and scholars.
Quem Quaritis Trope is the origin of mystery play, such as Abraham and
Log #2 for Week 2, January 15-18
On Wednesday at the beginning of the class, Professor Luciano wrote down the class discussion protocols on the blackboard. These protocols seemed very important because reinforcing these can establish an ideal environment for DWC class where many discussions take place. These protocols are as follows:
- Raise hand
- Mutual courtesy (Be nice)
- No trashing people’s thought
This is an excellent way to create a positive learning environment because of the nature of DWC class. Since studying drama goes hand in hand with a number of discussions, setting the norms that allow us “the free and open exchange of ideas” is essential. By following these protocols, almost all DWC students can have opportunities to share their thoughts in a fair and safe environment.
This protocol prevents the discussion in which only a few students dominate
in the class, exchanging their own thoughts. It is safe to say that a few
DWC students are very devoted to their faith, such as Christianity, Judaism,
and so on. In some cases, a deeply religious student tends to rail the
direction of discussion in DWC class, convincing others that Christianity
is better than any other religions. From the view of our constitutional
right such as freedom of religion, this is a dangerous situation, and we
must avoid it by reinforcing class discussion protocols.
As long as DWC students follow these protocols, their knowledge in Christianity will be an asset in exploring drama from middle age to the eighteenth century England.
Go to Log #3 and #4