“The Wakefield Mysteries” is a series of medieval mystery plays based on stories from the Bible. The series’ original manuscript dates back to the mid-15th century and consists of 32 mystery plays written over the course of two centuries. It is the first medieval mystery production performed at Whitworth in the last 25 years.
Diana Trotter, theatre professor and director of “The Wakefield Mysteries,” says the production contains a high-volume blend of singing, dancing, tragedy, comedy and many other theatrical surprises. “One of the things I love about mystery plays is that they embody the fullness of humanity,” Trotter says. “We tend to separate our religious life from our ‘everyday’ life, or treat sacred things in a very hushed and reverent way. But the Incarnation of Jesus – God becoming human – is the ultimate in mixing the divine with the earthly. These plays really get that. They mix comedy, farce, drama, sorrow, reverence and worship all at once. And by doing so they proclaim that all of life is sacred.”
Trotter chose “The Wakefield Mysteries” as Whitworth’s fall production because of her love for medieval mysteries, and also because of the rich historical heritage of the plays. “They are true folk-plays, where the whole community was involved in producing and acting in them as a way of learning about and living out their faith,” Trotter says. “The plays had a wonderful ‘homemade’ quality to them in terms of the sets, props and magical effects.” Whitworth Theatre has maintained that same quality in its design choices, and freely mixes biblical and contemporary elements in the production.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Ella Johnson, theatre department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or email@example.com.