This is from Alice K. Turner’s fascinating The History of Hell, from Turner’s chapter on mystery plays.
Biblical parables like the stories of Dives and Lazarus or the wise and foolish virgins were not commonly staged, partly because they were not “history,” and partly because of an intrinsic dramatic pitfall illustrated by the story of Frederick the Undaunted, margrave of Thuringia. In 1321, he attended a performance of a wise and foolish virgins play put on by a boys’ school in Eisnadi and was so distressed by the verdict handed out to the fresh-faced lads who played the foolish virgins that he turned his back on the stage. “What is the Christian faith if the sinner is not to receive mercy upon the intercession of the Virgin and the saints?” he exclaimed in revulsion.
Frederick’s story is instructive on several counts. It illustrates the power of dramatic presentation in an illiterate society. It also demonstrates why other Hell scenes inevitably regressed toward farce. To show a group of pretty “girls” damned for carelessness was discomfiting. … To watch a gang of comical imps pretend to torture a hapless dummy fit in far better with the festival mood.