Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Play of Isaac; M. Frazer

Yes, I'm glomming Margaret Frazer's backlist. This is a newer series featuring a former Oxford scholar turned itinerant actor Joliffe. The feast of Corpus Christi is nearing and Joliffe's company has been hired to perform several features for a wealthy merchant and another play, Abraham & Isaac, on the feast day itself. Meantime the company will be housed & fed by the merchant. Old heresies, hidden friendships, Down's Syndrome (referred to as being an Eden Child, a phrase I really love), marriage and inheritance problems each take their turn. Joliffe is an observant loner who uses his classical education to help him solve problems by asking irritating questions others might hesitate over.

The reputation of the players and culture of the time means that the acting companies are often outsiders, openly reviled & blamed for many things (much like tinkers)- giving Ms. Frazer an opportunity to showcase a view of medieval life from a viewpoint vastly different than the more commonly written of Lord of the Manor. A more intersting and varied one, IMO. Highly recommended.

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