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Carnival or Shrovetide play that emerged in the 15th century as the first truly secular drama of pre-Reformation Germany. Usually performed on open-air platform stages by amateur actors, students, and artisans, the plays mixed popular comic and religious elements, reflecting the tastes of their predominantly bourgeois audiences. They often contained satirical attacks on greedy clergymen and other traditional dislikes of German burghers and are believed to have been influenced by pre-Christian folk traditions.
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