The Murgatroyd Ancestral Portrait Gallery
Ruddigore is Gilbert and Sullivan’s parody of Victorian melodrama, traditionally set in the Regency Period, decades before Gilbert and Sullivan’s time. Director Joe Andrews set the company’s cancelled 2020 and remounted 2022 productions of Ruddigore decades before our time, as a 1940s film from the golden age of cinema, with opening film credits and quotes from classic films of the period included in the dialogue.
One of the features of this reimagined production of Ruddigore was that Sir Despard had given his ancestor’s portraits to a museum in an effort to be rid of their ghosts. Unfortunately, the scheme didn’t work as the museum sent him slides of the ancestor’s portraits and now the ghosts haunt him from the slide projector screen.
This concept required that all the ancestors have photos taken of their “portraits” which Sir Ruthven and Old Adam viewed from a slide projector onto a projector screen at the top of Act II.
The slides were also shown to the audience on the show drop during intermission. The slides included the ancestors’ names, birth and death dates.
Ancestor Portrait Photo Credit: Lee Stanford
“But what is a poor baronet to do, when a whole picture gallery of ancestors step down from their frames and threaten him with an excruciating death if he hesitate to commit his daily crime?”