The image above shows a Royal Masque in progression. Masques were stylish entertainments produced by and for the monarch and the court. The more elaborate and lavish the production the better. Masques consisted of dramatic pageants, which incorporated drama, music, dance, ornate costumes, and elaborate scenery. While the performances often likened rulers to mythical gods and heroes, there was always room for subtle criticism of public policy and laws.
Can you create your own Elizabethan-style Court Masque? The following activity will show you how.
First, decide who you would like to honor with this masque. It could be one person or a group of people who you would like to honor. Think of a good-natured joke or humorous story about this person that you can tell at the performance.
Then, select a song or write your own that expresses how you feel about this person or group of people. You can dance to this song or sing it. If you dance to it, make sure there are enough people to dance and perform the music. If you would like to learn more about Elizabethan dances, click here .
Next, choose a scene from Shakespeare or write your own that expresses what you feel about the person or group of people you are honoring. The scene doesn't need to be long, maybe two to three minutes or one to two pages.
To dress up the revellers (actors) make some costume pieces and embellish them. Choose something simple, like necklaces, hats and bracelets and add a bit of flare: add glitter, feathers, scarves and ties. If you would like to see images of Elizabethan costumes, click here .
Rehearse it once or twice until you're comfortable and ready to perform.
Performance time! Start by introducing yourself and the person or group you're honoring. Then tell the joke or humorous story. Next perform your scene, followed by your dance, and conclude with a bow. Bravo!