PCS Blog

Masquerade in Theater and Film!

Posted by Shana | 05 April 2013


As we continue to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Portland Center Stage, we find it only appropriate to celebrate at our gala on May 11 in the style of one of the world’s most extraordinary parties, the Carnevale di Venezia! Carnevale and masquerade balls have long played an important role in plays, films and literature. Masquerades allow for anonymity, mystery and excitement. They provide the chance for a person to be daring, to become an actor for one night. Here are a few of my favorites!

The Phantom of the Opera
We are all familiar with the classic masquerade scene from The Phantom of the Opera musical and film...I mean, how could you forget Gerald Butler dramatically stomping down the grand staircase of the opera house in his sweet white mask, making all kinds of demands while everyone at the ball appears to be a very organized flash mob? I think a large majority of you are familiar with this wickedly awesome musical, so I've included a more comical clip for you to enjoy. I giggled out loud and by myself, double win! But really, if you haven’t seen the film it has some awesome masquerade costume ideas...also Patrick Wilson and Gerard Butler.
If you do want to watch the actual non-chipmunk clips, I don’t blame you. Click on the titles to watch the videos of Masquerade and Why So Silent.
David Bowie. Jennifer Connelly. Masquerade ball.
Nothing more needs to be said about this magic.
Romeo and Juliet
*Girlish Sigh* The tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. We all know the outcome of this tale but you just want them to be together so badly your hopeful romantic self just pretends the ending doesn’t happen. I mean, how could anything go wrong? Families that hate each other, a secret and emotionally charged teenage love affair, snail mail communication about fake deaths and the like. But shoot, I fall for it and cry every time! Oh William you play with my heart so! But how does this all tie in to our masquerade theme? Remember how the two lovers first meet? Romeo crashes the Capulet’s masquerade ball! Let’s take a look at some photos. (Side note: How awesome is Leonard Whiting’s lion mask?)
Here is a clip from the 1968 Romeo and Juliet film. I really enjoy that Romeo is like maybe one of three people wearing a mask. Great disguise tactic.
Marie Antoinette
I think my neck would hurt from all of that hair and fancy jewel decoration business. But did they ever know how to throw a grand ball! A horse-drawn stage with numerous dancing girls, confetti galore, men moving around dancing tambourine players, and everyone’s dancing like they’ve never heard music before. Yes, please!!
The Masque of the Red Death
Leave it to Edgar Allen Poe to write a short story about the plague of death haunting at a masquerade ball. And to then have the short story be adapted into a film starring the wonderful Vincent Price. For a good read check out Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. Here’s a clip from the 1964 film. But I have a surprise for you! Click here and you can watch entire film on Youtube!
I hope you have enjoyed my masquerade madness! I encourage you to share some of your favorite masquerade theater and film moments, below.
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