Black Button Eyes Productions will present the world premiere of Masque of the Red Coronavirus, a free online-only script and video experience, written and directed by producing artistic director Ed Rutherford and adapted, in part, from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Masque of Red Death.” Poe’s story, along with a few contemporary newspaper articles about how the wealthy are reacting to the current pandemic, inspired Rutherford to create a script combining the two into a short, angry satirical piece. In late March, the company reached out to a variety of artists to curate remotely recorded, multi-disciplinary performances from the script including spoken word, song, original music, fire dancing, puppetry, burlesque dancing, opera and more. Masque of the Red Coronavirus is currently available for free streaming at blackbuttoneyes.com/masque-of-the-red-coronavirus. Appropriate for ages 18+.
With the Red Coronavirus running rampant across the countryside and a vaccine still months away, what’s a Prince to do? Lock himself in a secure bunker in an undisclosed location along with a cohort of his top donors, of course. To prevent himself and his rich supporters from becoming bored, The Prince has also brought a few artists into the bunker to entertain the crowd. But as the hour grows later and the night grows weirder, it’s clear that something else has also invaded the party.
Masque of the Red Coronavirus features Kat Evans, Sydney Genco, Scott Gryder (accompanied by Nick Sula with music by Jonathon Lynch), Adrian Hadlock, Dawn Xiana Moon, Shane Roberie, Mikaela Sullivan and Cyn S Tease Ya. The production also features original music by Jonathan Wagner and illustrations by Walter Bezt.
The 2020-21 season is set to continue Black Button Eyes Productions’ mission to bring to Chicago premieres and seldom-seen works containing elements of fantasy, in which the magical and surreal invade reality. The company was founded in 2014 with the acclaimed Midwest premiere of the musical Coraline, followed by Goblin Market, Amour, Shockheaded Peter, Nevermore-The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, the world premiere Nightmares and Nightcaps: The Stories of John Collier and their smash hit Chicago Storefront Premiere of Evil Dead the Musical. Most recently, the company presented the Chicago premieres of Dave Malloy’s Ghost Quartet and Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s Whisper House.