This play uses the trop of the play within a play, a framing device popular enough on the English stage, but up to this point I haven't much encountered it's use on the French stage. This play follows the conversion of Saint Genest, an actor who was converted to Christianity when an angel appeared to him while performing in a play mocking christians. The question here is clear : what is the difference between who we are and what we perform? Is the simple act of perform something enough to make it manifest?
This is also one of the only plays that I have seen from this period that does not take for its subject classical Roman, Greek, or Judaic antiquity. In comparison, this play set around 300 CE seems downright contemporary, seeing as it is operating within the Christian context. Choosing the story of a saint rather than a pagan subject from Greece or Rome, this play hearkens back to the traditions of liturgical drama funded by the church for the edification of the masses of Christian theology, rather than the neoclassical exploration of pagan philosophies disguised as proto-christian ideals.
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M.A. French Literature Florida State University