"Castles and feasting meet dinner theatre" returns to Fort Hays State University's Memorial Union in the form of the annual Madrigal Feaste on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1.
Some seats are still available. Tickets -- $25 for FHSU students and $35 for the public -- can be purchased at the Memorial Union Office, room 208, or online at www.fhsu.edu/madrigal. No telephone orders will be taken, but for more information call 785-628-5308.
Modern day madrigal dinners transport the audience to a fabulous medieval or renaissance ceremonial feast, said Dr. Terry Crull, FHSU choral director and director of the Madrigal Feaste.
"After Advent, a time of introspection and fasting, elaborate preparations were made for a truly festive event," said Crull. "It was a real celebration, with eating, drinking, dancing and even animals parading through the great halls of castles and manors."
The event provided an opportunity to visit and exchange news. Trumpet fanfares signaled the service of specific courses and dishes within the feast. Guests danced, told stories and sang in enthusiastic outbursts of merrymaking.
Madrigal singing began as entertainment in Renaissance Italy and quickly spread throughout Europe, said Crull. Madrigal singing reached the height of its popularity in Elizabethan England, where several collections of madrigals were printed in Queen Elizabeth's honor.
The university's Madrigal Feaste is produced by the Memorial Union and presented in partnership with the Fort Hays Singers, led by Crull. The madrigal tradition at FHSU began in 1964.
"It's one of the most beloved and popular cultural traditions here," said Edie McCracken, director of the Memorial Union, who also noted that, in recent years, "audience members have begun to get into the Madrigal Feaste spirit by attending in costume."