The Haunted Mansion (Semester One Project)
Inspired by the iconic Disneyland attraction, The Haunted Mansion is an immersive theatre experience that is an interlinked murder mystery storyline, featuring some of the principal characters from the omnimover dark-ride. The production would ideally be set in an empty Victorian-style building, transforming each of the rooms into different sets to portray the different scenes within the mansion. If no building was available, a large warehouse would be completely disguised and transformed into a full set. The performance would last around 3 hours, complete with food and drink placed in the main central hub of the mansion, ‘the grand hall’. All the different characters will be in the rooms they are most likely to be found, wandering from room to room if their storyline allows it. Guests would be encouraged to take things at their own pace and explore the mansion, creating their own storyline
The attraction itself doesn’t necessarily follow one specific story, instead, some characters have backstories, others are simply placed there for the look. the aim was to emulate this idea, by placing the majority of the story making in the audience’s hands (or at least so they think) to create a unique experience for each individual as I feel that this is partly what has made the Haunted Mansion so popular as an attraction. There is however 3 main storylines for guests to follow, each revolving around murder and deceit and it’s the audience’s job to put the pieces together and figure out who the killers are.
For the design of the characters, inspiration was loosely taken from the attraction itself. Due to the original concept of the ride being a “retirement home for ghosts’ this led to some difficulties in terms of a distinct period as characters cover a vast amount of time (BC to 1940s). There was however a focus on characters coming from the Victorian period, therefore this made sense to be the most dominant period. The main issue with designing this project was avoiding characters looking too “ghostlike” and instead wanted them to appear in more of a human state. This was in order to prevent the experience from becoming a haunted house and to focus the attention on the character's themselves.
The final costume make from this project is of Constance Hatchaway, the spirit of a black widow bride who murdered her way up the social ladder. The dress is a typical 1890s wedding gown that features several layers to create the Victorian silhouette. The dress is made of duchess satin and features a "blood-stained" hem of her victims' blood.