(Photo courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago – CITT)
One of the most beloved and well-known of the traditional carnival characters line-up, the Midnight Robber graces stages and audiences with his colourful exaggerated costumes, based on the American Wild West, inclusive of an oversize cowboy hat with fringed brim. The hat’s crown comes in different shapes and colours, such as a, coffin. The Robber usually has a flowing cape adorned with symbols of death, a black satin shirt, black pantaloons, and black shoes/boots. However, modern interpretations can see the Robber in a variety of colours outside of the traditional black.
His unique speeches, called “Robber Talk”, are haughty invocations with origins from a variety of sources, including the Bible and other pieces of classical literature, like Shakespeare. The Robber is also known for his trademark whistle that he blows before he addresses his audience. Often the Robber will have a prop gun, sword or dagger and a wooden money box in the shape of a coffin with which he will “threaten” his audience.