Curtain Up at the V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum adds another terrific exhibit to its collections with Curtain Up. An enchanting display of theatrical history and technology, the exhibition contains a vast array of the components used to create make believe. Some of the material is purely functional, but most of it is fabulously decadent. Incredible faux-magnificent dresses, crowns, and outfits line the walls, all from a performance of one of New York or London’s great historic plays. Some of these wonderful costumes are shown next to a picture of the individual in the original production, dressed as the character. This method of display allows the viewer to appreciate the sometimes gaudy outfits in the context of the scene.
Also amazing are the miniature sets that directors would use to design and plan the backdrops for their plays. Each one is detailed to such an extent that the viewer could imagine small actors playing petite roles in the world’s tiniest theatre. The exhibit then takes the visitor inside the novel set of a modern play, with dazzling lights and music. The main focus is to convey ambiance and tone, rather than simulate any specific place.
Completely astounding, the entirety of Curtain Up is an elaborate set itself. With alterable lighting and sound installations, a small glimpse is given into the complexity of theatre and the technical prowess of all the engineers working behind the scenes. It seems as if the viewer has walked into a madhouse filled with garish costumes and ghoulish masks. Perfect for showing in the Victoria and Albert museum, the exhibit showcases theatrical creativity and accomplishment on the world’s largest stages.
Curtain Up is on at the Victoria & Albert Museum from 9th February until 31st August 2013, for further information visit here.