Was Street Theater Ever Delivered In Rhyming Verse (in Europe, I guess)?

Been watching House of the Dragon. For those not familiar, it’s a fantasy series set in a universe that is roughly analgous to Medieval Europe (at least, at its most basic level, and there’s plenty of nuance to be debated).

There’s a scene in which two upper-class characters cavort about on the streets of the city to get an idea for how the hoi polloi live. They take in a street theater performance that mocks the monarch and his family, and the characters speak in rhyming verse.

Was this a thing in Europe (or anywhere for that matter)? Obviously Shakespeare comes to mind, but I’m talking about lowbrow stuff that would appeal to the crowds on the streets.

Don’t know if we have any direct evidence of what street performers were doing, but in general if you want to recite stuff from memory, rhyme and rhythm are tremendously good friends to you. Going all the way back to “Homer” and bards reciting 1000s of lines of epic poetry.

This is my non-factual (=wild-ass guess in my case) answer, too. It’s an extremely old concept. I’ve read that in some ancient cultures, laws were written in verse (with meter and rhyme), and I think the reason for that, or at least one of the benefits, is that it made it easier for common people to remember the laws. I’m talking about everyday situations that common people might be involved in, like the sale of goods and services.

I thought Shakespeare was the lowbrow stuff.

Mummers’ plays are folk plays performed by troupes of amateur actors, traditionally all male, known as mummers or guisers (also by local names such as rhymers, pace-eggers, soulers, tipteerers, wrenboys, and galoshins). Historically, mummers’ plays consisted of informal groups of costumed community members that visited from house to house on various holidays.[1][2][3] Today the term refers especially to a play in which a number of characters are called on stage, two of whom engage in a combat, the loser being revived by a doctor character. This play is sometimes found associated with a sword dance though both also exist in Britain independently.

Lots of history here, going back (although not continuously) to the 1300’s at least.

From my (limited) experience, mummers’ plays are very lowbrow, always performed in doggerel rhyme, and still taking place today.

They are often performed as street theatre (in the open) although usually as public entertainment in e.g. pubs.

“course jocosity captures the crowd
shakespeare and i are often low-browed”

I’m not knowledgeable enough about Shakespeare and his English to know, but unless I’m sadly mistaken, didn’t a Shakespeare performance require paid admission? I doubt many of the lowbrow people of Tudor-ian London would have been able to afford it.

Price of admission (if you didn’t want something fancy, like a seat) was a penny, about as much as a loaf of bread.

Yes, pretty much all extant medieval drama is in rhymed verse. (Using blank verse – unrhymed iambic pentameter – for plays was a later innovation, starting with Gorboduc in the 1560s.) Most medieval English plays that survive are morality or mystery plays intended to teach the audience about religion (although many of them also have funny bits, some of them quite crude), so they might not quite count as the “street theater” you’re looking for. But we do have one secular farce, Dame Sirith. The Middle English is a challenge to read, but you’ll be able to see at a glance that it rhymes. There are a bunch of other surviving farces in French from this era – basically, sketch comedy about sex, infidelity, and farting with no serious intent whatsoever – and IIRC, those are also in rhymed verse.