Victorian Era Details

Questions having been coming up periodically in rehearsals about what things looked like, or if things existed, during the Victorian Era.

How will we know this character is a doctor? What type of bag would one have had?

What did cat owners use for litter?

Sand, sawdust, or torn-up newspaper [source]

Did they use salt and pepper shakers?

Yes! “The lady of the house often used condiments as the centerpiece for her table in the Victorian era…Some were cruet sets consisting of salt, pepper and a vinegar cruet on a glass tray…More frequently found were condiment sets consisting of a salt, pepper and mustard pot, normally on a matching glass base.” [source]

What did dustpans look like?

Victorian Stuffed Animals

In rehearsal this week, we’ve started playing with some stuffed animals–using them primarily as props and stand-ins for puppets. We only have access to contemporary ones at this point, but it’s gotten us thinking about stuffed animals from the Victorian period, and the different mood they would create.

Check out some of our favorite images:



The theatre was located in an alley off the Rue Chaptal in Montmartre

The theatre was located in an alley off the Rue Chaptal in Montmartre

Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol (literally, “theatre of the great puppet”) has come up a few times in conversations about the aesthetic for SHOCKHEADED PETER, and I don’t think it’s hard to see why. Grand Guignol (pronounced Grahn Geen-yol) has become a general term for entertainment dealing with macabre subject matter and featuring over-the-top, graphic violence. It stems from a theatre in Paris, founded in 1897, famous for its horrifying productions featuring gruesome scenes of murder, torture, and death.

“Audiences flocked to see the shows, at times screaming out if the drama went too far. However, some have claimed that these shows allowed Parisians to feel something, anything, in a way their ordinary lives did not. The Grand-Guignol was popular up until just after WWII when the real horror of the war brought a decline to the public’s taste for brutal, bloody fictions.”

What do you think about this interpretation? Are humans drawn to horrific, but fictional, stories and images because they allow us to experience emotions more strongly than we do in everyday life?

Find more gruesome pictures here.

Special thanks to Army of Broken Toys member Meff for these links!