Long before the plays of Shakespeare and Marlowe hit the stage, medieval audiences turned out for 18-hour-long play cycles by the Wakefield Master and the York Realist. Though we often read these works silently on the page, this course will emphasize aspects of public performance--including music, recitation, and stagecraft--that brought them to life for the original audience. These performances served a communal role and helped define the relationships between the various communities that made up medieval England. We will look at how Chaucer's poetry inscribes audiences of listeners and their potential responses to the material, consider the often overlooked musical component of the lais of Marie de France, and explore the notion of performing piety. In addition, we will look at how the Middle Ages have been performed in modern film and stage productions.