Yes, it was the Red Death himself.
He had come like a thief in the night.
(Or, A better-late-than-never Halloween recap)
—from the desk of Sarah B.—
Ah, time—mortality—it all passes so quickly. And quickly the time has passed since our October performance of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” We hope it’s within the bounds of taste to offer this very late thank you to all the visitors who joined us at the castle of Prince Prospero for a – shall we say – “fated” Halloween evening.
For those of you who were, alas, not able to be there, here is a review of the evening: The lights are extinguished. Outside, a horrifying plague is devastating the countryside. We hear the bells tolling, see the people hiding their grief behind black veils. But inside the Red Room, or rather inside the castle of the dauntless Prince Prospero (that is, Mr. Pat Woods, channeling Charles I and the Sun King all in one), in an imaginary maze of sensuously embellished rooms, beats life’s heart. Here there is music, there is dancing, there are buffoons and mimes, there are dreams come to life – bizarre and the voluptuous dreams. Fearlessly and wantonly chasing the night away, laughing at the dangers that lurk outside, we find a crowd of the Prince’s fawning courtiers – a dizzy and green-haired Ms. Sharon Landon, an even dizzier and dare-we-say-dissolute Ms. Deni Carson, an alluring and risqué Ms. Antonella Gismundi, a gentleman-in-waiting Mr. Jeremy Bee. And so, the revel goes whirlingly on – the courtiers seduced by their own wild reverie, the orchestra outplaying itself (thanks to sound magician Mr. Anton Botes). And among our Red Room guests at the castle, some have come ready to join the revel, adorned with their own fab costumes: We see a boar-headed Beast, his Beauty flitting around somewhere; another Beast with golden locks and sinister-looking rams’ horns; ah, there’s…could it be… Zorro?; and a Pinocchio-nosed lad; and a young blood-stained, pink-haired gal whose clearly had a rough night; and an array of hand-painted masks (part of the evening’s activities), vampire cloaks, devils’ horns, witches hats. And so, indeed, the revel goes whirlingly on and on and on…UNTIL the shadowy ebony clock enters the scene (a steadfast Mr. Paul Batt, sporting his once-a-year bat(t)-inspired mustache and goatee) and strikes twelve. Oh! We all know what a clock striking 12 means, yes? Horror, of course! This night it is horror in the untenanted form of the Red Death himself. (Or is that the ever-awesome Mr. Addison Eng on his ever-awesome electric bass? And is he dressed in an equally awesome red-and-black cemetery coat created by costumer extraordinaire Ms. Jenna Robinette? And is that the creepiest painted face you’ve ever seen? Ah, NO, don’t be fooled.) Yes, it is the Red Death himself, stalking to and fro among the waltzers, deliberately passing within a yard of the Prince’s person. Courage, man! “Who dares insult us with this mockery?!” the Prince cries out as he draws his dagger. A battle ensues, and though we all know who the winner will be, still, it’s a tense and dramatic moment. The prince is no match for RD. He drops dead in an instant. His courtiers dare to make a rush at the enemy, but they, too, drop like flies… However, thankfully, the Prince’s crowd of guests from the Red Room all escaped, with their costumes intact. And everyone even had time for a few more glasses of wine before heading outside to…well, let’s just say we could no longer guarantee their safety. We wished them all well, and hoped they’d be around next year for another Happy Halloween.
The “Masque of the Red Death,” by Edgar Allan Poe, was performed at the Red Room last Oct. 28 and 31, in a staged Readers Theater style format by a group of dedicated RR regulars, with original music by Anton Botes, directed by Sarah Brooks and Pat Woods. Thank you to everyone at the Red Room and to all our guests for helping to make the evening a success!
Photo albums can be viewed here
Please take a look at a video of our event created by JJ Chen. Here also is a link to the music composed by Anton Botes for our production. Enjoy!