Performing for the King’ the creation of a court masque. The aim of the Banqueting House’s curator, Jane Spooner, is to give the visitor a sense of what went on behind the scenes at a 17th century masque and a taste of the atmosphere.
|Jones' innovative use of newly 'discovered' perspective.|
To illustrate this Jane recreates part of the 1620 production of Tempe Restored. This masque (a play with music and dancing) was a sort of Stuart propaganda piece, pushing the message of the Stuart’s as a uniting monarchy, bringing peace to a troubled England and Scotland. The extravagant spectacle was designed to amaze and awe, but of course this carried a commensurate price tag. For the ordinary working man looking in from the outside, the cost of such masques must have rubbed salt into the wound of their day-to-day hardships.
|Another of Inigo Jones' set designs.|
One of the most eye-catching things about Tempe Restored was the innovative set design by Inigo Jones. For maximum impact the main players (the King and Queen playing the parts of Apollo and Diana) were to descend from the heavens in a cloud. To achieve this Ingio Jones created a piece of scenery worked by pulleys and powered by teams of strong men. Don’t forget this was in a time before hydraulics and engines, so any heavy lifting had to be done by muscle power. These moving elements were heavy and dangerous - and made a lot of noise which was disguised by playing loud music.
|The screen before which the actors perform|
To find out more click on Performing for the King - open from July 19th to September 1st 2013.
|Even I got into the spirit of things and tried on a ruff!|