CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts - Multimedia and Performing

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The story takes place at the castellated abbey of the "happy and dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero. Prospero and one thousand other nobles and entertainers, have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Prospero and his court are presented as indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large, intending to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.

One night, Prospero holds a masquerade ball to entertain his guests in seven colored rooms of the abbey. Six of the rooms are each decorated and illuminated in a specific color: Blue, purple, green, orange, white, and violet. The last room is decorated in black and is illuminated by a scarlet light- "a deep blood color". The same room is also the location of a large ebony clock that ominously clangs at each hour, upon which everyone stops talking or dancing and the orchestra stops playing. Once the chiming stops, everyone acts like nothing happened and continues on with the masquerade. At the chiming of midnight, the revelers and Prospero notice one figure in a dark, blood-splattered robe resembling a funeral shroud, with an extremely realistic mask resembling a stiffened cadaver, and with the traits of the Red Death, which all at the ball have been desperate to escape. The story entertains a chilling end where all realize that when their time comes, no one escapes their ‘final hour’.

In our production we interrupt the story periodically with an introduction by the author (written and played by Grace Brooke Ardolino) with little interludes of music, dance, song, clown, and acrobatics thrown in for fun. The story culminates with a chilling finale, "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."

Black Box Theatre
Phoenix Building
6842 Van Nuys Blvd
Van Nuys, CA