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Wakefield Mystery Plays at Princeton University


Marguerite d'Aprile-Smith    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ) The Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater presents the Wakefield Mystery Plays, a senior thesis production directed by Phoenix Gonzalez  '11. In this production, The Second Shepherd's Play and Buffeting, two mystery plays written by one of the most famous playwrights of the time, come to life both inside and outside the Princeton University Chapel. Performances will be held on Friday, January 7 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 8 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

These two medieval English mystery plays explore both lighthearted comedy and community involvement to tell the story of the beginning and end of the life of Jesus Christ.  Gonzalez developed an interest in medieval theater in her sophomore year. Having studied both ancient Greek drama and Shakespeare, the best-known examples of classical theater, she became interested in what came in between. The Wakefield Mystery Plays, creative retellings of familiar stories found in the Bible, quickly became her favorites. According to Gonzalez, “The goal of this project is to capture some of the medieval aspects of the plays, while also exploring elements of modern life, and in so doing, to probe important questions such as: What is the role of the community as audience and creator in this type of theater? How can religious theater be understood today?”

The Wakefield Mystery Plays performances will be held on Friday, January 7 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 8 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Princeton University Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Performances will begin outdoors in the Chapel Courtyard.  Please dress appropriately.


The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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