Title page for ETD etd-04112011-151905

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Whetstone, Whitney
URN etd-04112011-151905
Title Spectacle, Pageantry, and Parading
Degree Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Department Theatre
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Murphy, James L. Committee Chair
Bussolati, Eugene J., Jr Committee Member
Cho, Eun Jin Committee Member
  • propmaster
  • float building
  • Mardi Gras
  • Carnival
Date of Defense 2011-03-25
Availability unrestricted
We celebrate the arrival of spring with revelry in search of catharsis. Carnival’s roots trace from the ancient Greek and Roman pagan celebrations, to the pageant wagons of the Medieval theatre and the French masquerades, and on through the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is part of Louisiana’s rich cultural history of parading and spectacle, as well as public art and performance, as a civic responsibility, and as an economic booster.

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World builds parade floats, large-scale sculptures, and props for Mardi Gras, theme parks, and casinos around the world. I interned with Kern Studios and detail my experiences in prop building, including the armature, foam carving, paper-mâché, and installation.

I combined the knowledge I gained from Kern Studios and my own work studying Properties Technology in the theatre department at Louisiana State University in construction, painting, textiles, and carving to create my own parade float. I marched in the Box of Wine parade 2011 with my float based on the poppy field from the Wizard of Oz. I narrate the float building process from initial design, budgeting, trial-and-error, completion of the elements, final installation, and the parade event. By building my own project from inception to completion, I gained a broad experience in parading and spectacle.

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