What is this real life diorama called? Kind of like a frozen scene from a play.
May 1, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

What is this 'live photograph' called? I'm forgetting what this experience/event is called. The basic idea is actors posing in a scene - they're not moving, and I believe the 'audience' can move around and through these posed people. It is kind of like a real life diorama; I believe it was from the late 19th century; the term itself may be French; I'm making myself crazy trying to find this.

I don't even really know how to explain this, but I remember reading about an 'event' or a kind of performance art, I believe from the late 1800s, where actors would pose in a kind of scene -- this may have been a response to photography, or it may have been something else altogether. It may have been a kind of parlor game; think of a frozen moment from a play, but not specifically on a stage. What is this experience or event called? Am I making this up?
posted by barnone to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe a tableau? I know they did several of these in The Little Colonel series.
posted by Addlepated at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2007

Best answer: Tableau vivant
posted by vetiver at 8:21 PM on May 1, 2007

Response by poster: You rock. I'm an idiot. Tableaux Vivants totally rule.
posted by barnone at 8:23 PM on May 1, 2007

Response by poster: Seeing how this is all nicely signed, sealed and delivered....anyone have a favourite?
posted by barnone at 8:25 PM on May 1, 2007

barnone, if you're interested, a modern version is done each summer in Laguna Beach CA: Pageant of the Masters. It's quite elaborate, and a big deal in the area (midway between LA and San Diego).
posted by rob511 at 8:34 PM on May 1, 2007

anyone have a favourite?

Nice frontispiece.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 PM on May 1, 2007

...there's a Gilmore Girls episode centering around one.

Don't judge me.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:09 PM on May 1, 2007

Online reverse dictionary. Pretty great for "what the hell is that word?" moments.
posted by SampleSize at 6:26 AM on May 2, 2007

Also featured in a hilarious Michelangelo's Creation of Adam episode of Arrested Development.
posted by eve harrington at 7:44 AM on May 2, 2007

All of this reminded me of the attempt to recreate George Seurat's “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte" -- “Saturday in the Park with Friends".
See http://blog.flickr.com/flickrblog/2006/07/first_impressio.html
posted by UnclePlayground at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2007

anyone have a favourite?

L'Hypothèse du tableau volé is awesome and features tableaux vivants.
posted by juv3nal at 10:04 AM on May 2, 2007

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