“If It Moves, It’s Rude”: The Windmill Tableau Vivants
The Windmill was famous for its ‘tableau vivants’. Tableau vivants are ‘living pictures’, a person or collection of people posed statically to create a scene.
The Windmill’s tableau vivants were notable because at least one female within the scene would be nude.
However, these were not obviously titillating scenes. The Lord Chamberlain, the theatres censor, specified that posers must be absolutely motionless or be deemed obscene, prompting the saying ‘If it moves, it’s rude.’ Furthermore nude posers were also very carefully posed and lit to obscure almost as much as they revealed, and themes, costumes and poses were artistic, with posers invariably staring up and off, seemingly in a reverie, rather than provocatively gazing directly at the audience.
Further more posing in a tableau vivant was a feat of amazing stamina. Whilst it only takes seconds to pose with the exhibition standee, tableau vivant participants were required to pose totally still for 5-12 minutes. Exhausting work, I’m sure you’ll agree.