the york mystery plays
playwright | THE YORK REALIST
designer | BRAD CALEB LEE
photographer | ANTHONY BARLICH
The original York Mystery Plays were performed on the
feast of Corpus Christi, an annual holiday free from work,
and full of music and merriment. The cycle was intended
to show citizens their own failings and shortcomings,
reinforcing the need for them to attend church and repent.
But rather than telling the audience “you are not enough”,
our cycle asks a different question: “What if you are
enough? How might you transform today into a better
world, using the ‘you’ that you already have?”
Our point-of-view investigates the relationship between transformation,
faith and self, locating these questions in a visual
framework of the construction site.
In addition, the production debates those aspects of the
Testaments which today could be seen as problematic,
intentionally casting roles across lines of gender, ethnicity
and age to disrupt aspects of misogyny and racism within
the original texts.
It’s been almost exactly thirty years since the York Mystery
Plays were last performed in Chicago. Our student actors
have performed excerpts from the Cycle on select
Wednesday morning chapel services throughout the
school year. Audiences are invited to wander freely
through this chapel and, as these stories unfold around
them, wonder about how they might work to build a better
world for all.
God creates the Heavens and the Earth.
Adam (Caleb Rude) is tempted by Eve (Evelea Solgos).
Noah builds the Ark.
Isaac (Holly Robison) listens to Abraham (Sydney Ray).
Joseph (Caleb Rude) leads the way to Bethlehem.
Herod (Holly Robison) plots against Jesus.
Satan (Evelea Solgos) tempts Jesus.
The Last Supper, with participants from the audience.
Jesus (Joe Snedden) says goodbye to his disciples.
Pilate (Weizhen Huang) considers the case against Jesus.
Jesus (Michael Roth) is led to the crucifix.
Satan (Michael Roth) is banished.
God ends the York Mystery Plays.
Judas (Jayde West) plots against Jesus.