Some were permanent, such as the "Confrerie de la Passion", which in 1402 secured the monopoly of the representations in Paris.For the people of the middle classes, artisans, and priests (all ranks in this matter being equal), it was an enviable honour to take part in this religious performance.It must be borne in mind that in all these the authors mingled truth and legend without distinction.
From 1400 to 1550 the authors were numerous, about a hundred of them are known, many of them priests.
At first somewhat short, the dramas eventually became very long.
Thus Arnoul Greban, canon of the church of Le Mans, wrote about 1450 a "Passion" consisting of about 35,000 verses.
This play was still further developed more than thirty years later by a physician of Angers, Jean Michel, whose work was the most famous and the best of its kind.
Before this period dramatic pieces were called "plays" or "miracles".
The embryonic representations, at first given in the interior of the churches, have been designated as liturgical dramas. It is true that the Church forbade the faithful during the early centuries to attend the licentious representations of decadent paganism.It is written in French, though the directions to the actors are in Latin. From the thirteenth century we have the "Play of St. He lays the scene of his play in the East, and mingles with heroic episodes of the crusades realistic pictures taken from taverns.Nicholas" by Jean Bodel, and the "Miracle of Theophilus" by Rutebeuf. His drama concludes with a general conversion of the Mussulmans secured through a miracle of St. Rutebeuf, who flourished in the second half of the thirteenth century, was born in Champagne but lived in Paris.Though at first a gambler and idler, he seems to have ended his days in a cloister.His miracle depicts the legend, so famous in the Middle Ages, of Theophilus, the oeconomus of the Church of Adana in Cilicia, who on losing his office bartered his soul to the devil for its recovery, but, having repented, obtained from the Blessed Virgin the miraculous return of the nefarious contract.But once this immoral theatre had disappeared, the Church allowed and itself contributed to the gradual development of a new drama, which was not only moral, but also edifying and pious.