A Modern Day Masque

The Masques that we discussed in class were very elaborate productions put on for the elite and honored the royalty. A modern day analogy of this performance can be seen when viewing a video of the performances for Barack Obama’s inauguration. After Obama was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president, there were celebrity performances including the most talked about, “At Last” performance by Beyoncé. Since we have so many modern technologies including live broadcasting, people around the world could watch it then, and can review it now online at any given moment. Because technology was not available then, there were very detailed stage directions written that included details on what was worn by the actors, how the setting was created, and details of the events that encapsulated the essence of the performance. Below, please view the video of Beyoncé’s rendition of “At Last,” and take note as to how many things we are given the opportunity to see with our very own eyes such as the clothing worn, the lighting, the amount of people in the audience, how the stages are set, and what is offered in expression by the camera angles and allotted time given on screen to each detail. With the benefit of technology, us “commoners” can witness something that we will never be able to see in real life– a luxury that non-courtly individuals could only read about back then.

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