The Chester Mystery Plays

July 7th Chester cathedral
These mystery Plays have a very special place in my heart, mainly because of Noye’s fludde, which has been with me since I was thirteen and to which I basically owe my love of the arts. Britten took the short play and expanded it into an hour of joy and emotion and so much more. I was in it at school in a production overseen by Britten as I remember. I was a gossip and got drowned too early. Before school, Amanda and I were in a nativity version at kindergarten, and it was always a source of resentment that, as the dove, she got two moments, and me as the raven, just one. How I remember the paper wings Ma made. Anyway, the Mystery plays in this production were epic but still very raw, with a cast of seemingly hundreds, all wearing beautifully hand dyed costumes. It was full of gorgeous theatrically convincing me once again that to be literal is the death of theatre. so many magnificent imagery here…..the massacre of the innocents took my breath away with the sheer powerful simplicity of its metaphor. Some wonderful passing on of the story moments, and yes the ark was tremendous, and the crucifixion brutal. I nearly committed an act of brutality on the woman who checked the football scores in front of me, during the crucifixion. Gorgeous music and great rousing songs. an overwhelming production with extra lighting provided by the sunshine streaming in through the stained glass windows. Wonderful – well, full of wonders. But heck I want to film Noye’s Fludde.