"those four figures paused in tableau: the two slaves offering the victim to the altar (lifting the stretcher into the truck), the priestess brandishing the torch (waving the flannel nightgown), and the drugged virgin rising up on her elbow, with an otherworldly smile on her pale lips "

The tableau vivant ('living picture') was a popular 19th century social entertainment. Costumed guests would pose motionlessly and silently as historical or fictional characters from art works. The pastime, which had its origins in dramatic depictions in the Church, fell out of fashion following the birth of cinematography. However, it was thought to have been a large influence on the style of the early silent films. Tableaux vivants were also used as literary devices in many 19th century novels. (link?)