International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Enaction - Imagination and Image: Ignatian Prayer in The Ascension
Artemis Preeshl

In 1572, Protestant divine Christopher Goodman criticized the presentation of Chester Cycle. Given new documents that have recently come to light, the conference, Chester Cycle 2010: Danger and Peril to Her Majesty, examined religio-political context of the Catholic plays. To address the provocative title of the conference, the production of The Ascension, the nineteenth of twenty-three plays in the cycle, highlighted Catholicism in the script in the pageant wagon performance. Exploration of diverse approaches revealed an unusual staging of this religious play. To wit, the salient features of Elizabethan acting, suspension and surprise, figured prominently in the period style. Moreover, the Ignatian Method of Prayer led to a reflective approach to acting. The cast read scriptural readings and Gospels in preparation for the Feast of the Ascension and envisioned images. After the actors re-read the scene, they improvised roles from the readings. Finally, the actors’ improvised and designed actions became medieval and Tudor architectural elements in the human set design. Period acting, Jesuit prayer, and Medieval and Renaissance imagery converged in this imaginative interpretation. This new method is called Enaction: Image and Imagination.

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