Dressed to kill: the costume design for Merry debaucheries and a Dance with death

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Johnson, Jaime
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Fine Arts
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Drama
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death has been adapted with both metaphorical and literal representations of death as in Mia van Leeuwen’s devised adaptation performed at the University of Lethbridge in 2022 for A Night at the Grand Guignol: 2022. In the costume and mask design for Prospero and his court members I endeavoured to contribute to the atmosphere of a strange world where nothing mattered except the amusements of an elite group hiding from the terrors of a real-life threat of plague. I also sought to create a unique representation of death, personified, that is both beautiful and terrifying. In this paper I outline the research into the obscure style of theatre used in this production, its connection to Gothic literature, the historical representations of Death in art, and the costume design for the Emcee character, Prospero and his court, and the Death character.
Edgar Allan Poe , personification of death , costume design , mask design , danse macabre , devised theatre