The end: Mythical futures in avant-garde mystery plays

Sharon Aronson-Lehavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biblical theatre re/presents, images and imagines the future. This is because the ultimate future, the End of Days, is a part of its narrative. The paradigmatic example is medieval mystery plays that present the world from creation to doom, and which end in the futuristic episode of the Last Judgment. In this essay I examine theatrical and performative mechanisms of performing the future/End in what I term modern mysteries, which are contemporary avant-garde performances of the biblical texts. These performances simultaneously rely on and open up anew scriptural texts to create a powerful, modern experience. I identify three models of the End in modern mysteries that are related to social and political issues: merger and utopia; descent, disappearance and apocalypse; and a cyclical, bi-directional movement towards both utopia and dystopia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


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