a short allegorical stage entertainment, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries but still used, that features masked actors. Example: "Motel," a masque for three dolls from America Hurrah, by Jean-Claude Van Itallie, 3m or 3f.
A 16th and 17th century English stage entertainment combining poetry, music, singing, dancing, and acting, often setting mythological subjects in elaborate scenery. As an art form uniting music and drama, the masque was an important precursor of short-lived English opera. The masque survived into the 18th century: important works were Congreveâ€™s The Masque of Paris, and Handelâ€™s Semele. The Masque form has occasionally been revived in modern times, for example in Brittenâ€™s Gloriana and Harrison Birtwistleâ€™s The Mask of Orpheus.
A minor dramatic form combining dance, music, a short allegorical text, and elegant scenery and costuming; often presented at court, as in the royal masques written by Ben Jonson (1572-1637), with scenery designed by Inigo Jones (1573-1652), during the Stuart era (early seventeenth century).
a particular kind of theatrical performance, traditionally performed before royalty or other distinguished persons, in which the characters of the drama usually wear masks and represent abstract qualities
A lavish and elaborate form of entertainment, often performed in royal courts, that emphasizes song, dance, and costumery. The Renaissance form of the masque grew out of the spectacles of masked figures common in medieval England and Europe. The masque reached its peak of popularity and development in seventeenth-century England, during the reigns of James I and, especially, of Charles I. Ben Jonson, the most significant masque writer, also created the "antimasque," which incorporates elements of humor and the grotesque into the traditional masque and achieved greater drama tic quality. Masque-like interludes appear in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene and in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. One of the best-known English masques is John Milton's Comus.