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Title: A Book of Marionettes
Author: Joseph, Helen Haiman
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Notes will be found after the Index.



[Illustration: DRYAD AND TWO FAUNS

[Puppets of Mr. William Simmonds, London]]



  A BOOK _of_ MARIONETTES

  _by_
  HELEN HAIMAN JOSEPH


  [Illustration]


  _New York_ · B. W. HUEBSCH · _Mcmxx_



  COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
  B. W. HUEBSCH



  _To my Father_

  ELIAS HAIMAN

  _With pride and love for the brave simplicity
  and gentle nobility of his life_



_Note_


The story of the marionette is endless, in fact it has neither
beginning nor end. The marionette has been everywhere and is
everywhere. One cannot write of the puppets without saying more than
one had intended and less than one desired: there is such a piquant
insistency in them. The purpose of this book is altogether modest, but
the length of it has grown to be presumptuous. As to its merit, that
must be found in the subject matter and in the sources from which the
material was gathered. If this volume is but a sign-post pointing the
way to better historians and friends of the puppets and through them on
to more puppet play it will have proven merit enough.

The bibliography appended is a far from complete list of puppet
literature. It includes, however, the most important works of modern
times upon marionettes and much comment, besides, that is casual or
curious or close at hand.

The author is under obligation to those friendly individuals who
generously gave of their time and interest and whose suggestions,
explanations and kind assistance have made possible this publication.
There are many who have been gracious and helpful, among them
particularly Mrs. Maurice Browne, Mr. Michael Carmichael Carr,
Professor A. K. Coomaraswamy, Mr. Stewart Culin, Dr. Jesse Walter
Fewkes, Mr. Henry Festing Jones, Dr. Berthold Laufer, Mr. Richard
Laukhuff, Mr. J. Arthur MacLean, Professor Brander Matthews, Dr. Ida
Trent O’Neil, Mr. Raymond O’Neil, Mr. Alfred Powell, Dr. R. Meyer
Riefstahl, Mr. Tony Sarg, and Mr. G. Bernard Shaw.

Above all, however, acknowledgment is due to the steady encouragement
and interested criticism of Ernest Joseph. Although he did not live
to see the finished volume, his stimulating buoyancy and excellent
judgment constantly inspired the composition of this simple account of
puppets.



_Contents_


  How I Came to Write a Book on Puppets,                               9

  Puppets of Antiquity,                                               14

  Oriental Puppets,                                                   24

  Puppets of Italy and Southern Europe,                               50

  The Puppets in France,                                              81

  Puppet Shows of Germany and of other Continental Countries,        113

  Puppetry in England,                                               143

  The Marionettes in America,                                        164

  Toy Theatres and Puppet Plays for Children,                        192

  A Plea for Polichinelle,                                           203

  Behind the Scenes,                                                 216

  Construction of a Marionette Stage,                                225

  Bibliography,                                                      229

  Index, 233



_Illustrations_


  SHADOW FIGURES DISCOVERED IN EGYPT BY DR. PAUL KAHLE      _End-papers_

  DRYAD AND TWO FAUNS                                     _Frontispiece_

  JOINTED DOLLS OR PUPPETS                                            18

  SIAMESE SHADOWS                                                     22

  JAVANESE WAYANG FIGURES                                             24

  JAVANESE ROUNDED MARIONETTES                                        26

  WAYANG FIGURES FROM THE ISLAND OF BALI                              28

  BURMESE PUPPETS                                                     30

  CINGALESE PUPPETS                                                   32

  EAST INDIAN PUPPETS                                                 34

  TURKISH SHADOW FIGURE OF KARAGHEUZ                                  36

  CHINESE PUPPETS                                                     38

  CHINESE SHADOW-PLAY FIGURES                                         40

  CHINESE SHADOW-PLAY FIGURES                                         42

  OLD JAPANESE PUPPET HEADS                                           44

  JAPANESE PRINT                                                      48

  A WOODEN ITALIAN PUPPET                                             52

  MEDIÆVAL MARIONETTES                                                54

  ITALIAN FIGURES USED FOR CHRISTMAS CRIB                             56

  PULCINELLA IN ITALY                                                 58

  ITALIAN PUPPET BALLET                                               62

  WOODEN SPANISH PUPPETS                                              78

  GEORGE SAND’S PUPPET THEATRE AT NOHANT                              92

  PUPPETS OF GEORGE SAND’S THEATRE AT NOHANT                          94

  PUPPETS OF LEMERCIER DE NEUVILLE                                    96

  TABLEAU (CHAT NOIR)                                                 98

  GUIGNOL AND GNAFRON                                                110

  MARIONETTE THEATRE OF MUNICH ARTISTS                               130

  MARIONETTES OF RICHARD TESCHNER, VIENNA                            134

  BOHEMIAN PUPPETS                                                   136

  PUNCH HANGS THE HANGMAN                                            148

  OLD ENGLISH PUPPETS                                                156

  GAIR WILKINSON AND ASSISTANT AT WORK ON THE BRIDGE OF THEIR
      PUPPET THEATRE                                                 158

  MARIONETTES EMPLOYED IN CEREMONIAL DRAMA OF THE AMERICAN
      INDIANS                                                        166

  ITALIAN MARIONETTE SHOW                                            172

  MARIONETTES AT THE CHICAGO LITTLE THEATRE                          174

  THE DEATH OF CHOPIN                                                178

  SHADOWY WATERS                                                     182

  TONY SARG’S MARIONETTES BEHIND THE SCENES                          184

  A TRICK PUPPET                                                     188

  GERMAN PUPPET SHOW FOR CHILDREN                                    196

  ENGLISH TOY THEATRE                                                200

  PATTERNS FOR THE MARIONETTE BODY DRAWN BY MAX KALISH               222

  DIAGRAMS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MARIONETTE STAGE                226



_How I Came to Write a Book on Puppets_


We were rehearsing laboriously. Some of our marionettes were finished;
the rest we borrowed from the cast of _Tintagiles_. The effect was
curious with Belangere and Ygraine acting as sentinels in their blue
and green gowns.

The play we were rehearsing was eventually given up. For various
reasons the little puppets about to be presented to you never displayed
themselves before the public. Undeniable facts, but for my story quite
irrelevant and inconsequential.

It was late and everyone else in the house had retired. I sat up all
alone, diligently sewing. Alone? Grouped around me in various stages
of completion sat the miniature members of the cast. I worked quietly,
much absorbed. Off in the corner there was a clock, ticking.

The Chief Prophet of the Stars lay in my hands, impressive by virtue
of his flowing white beard, even without the high purple hat. I rested
a moment, straightening a weary back. One long white arm of his was
pointing at me. He said: “Do not pity yourself. Despite your backache
you are having a lovely time.” I am sure he said this. I did not
answer. How could I? It was true. Near by was the black-robed Priest
with the auburn beard. “Even so,” he agreed, “her fingers are happy:
her tongue may not complain!”

“It is an honor to be permitted to dress us,” pompously proclaimed the
Chamberlain. He was perched upon the mantel. His queer, stiff beard
having been but recently shellacked was now in the process of drying.
He was a balloon shaped, striking fellow arrayed in orange.

“She must finish my high hat to-night,” said the Chief Prophet of the
Stars, “and see that my whiskers are decently trimmed. Then she may
retire.”

“No,” whimpered one of the spotty Spies from the floor, “she promised
to brighten my spots for tomorrow.” Then, in a loud aside, “She will
probably get my strings twisted while painting the spots. Serve her
right. She was too impatient to show me off yesterday. One should
finish the _spots first_, say I.” Ungrateful wretch, to be grumbling!
But he crawled and crept along the stage so wonderfully I hadn’t the
heart to chide him.

I sat the Chief Prophet upon my knee, crossly. His long arm protested
stiffly. I pulled the high hat down over his ominous brows. “It isn’t
right,” he said. It wasn’t. I took it off. How trying it must be for
him to have so clumsy a handmaiden. “Don’t pin it!” he commanded. “Rip
it and sew it neatly.” I picked up the scissors and ripped. Then I
sewed on in silence.

The marionettes, however, had many things to say.

“She is not as thorough as might be desired,” stated the Chamberlain.
“Indeed, I fear that in the manipulating also she is only an amateur
with no profound knowledge of the craft. Here am I, still dissatisfied
with the bow I make to His Majesty. I know just how I should bow. Who
would question my knowledge of etiquette? I shall not be content with
anything but _the correct_ bow, dignified and, in its way, imposing
as the nod of a King. It must be just so and not otherwise but _how
will she do it_? She has tried front strings and back strings and
innumerable petty expedients. She calls herself a puppeteer: let her
devise a way and that shortly! I scorn to display vexation but it
perturbs me not a little as the moment approaches for me to bow and the
bow, ahem ... refuses to function fittingly.”

“Try on the hat and do not be diverted by such details!” commands the
Chief Prophet. I sit him up seriously. “It will do,” he states; “trim
my whiskers.” I trim them, oh, very carefully. They hang augustly down
over his black stole. I gaze at him, entranced, and at his portrait
painted by a young artist. “I think you have caught the spirit of the
ideal,” he admitted. “Put me on the mantel.” I obey him.[1]

Next I take up the Spy. He writhes in my hand. I ply the paint brush,
more yellow paint on the yellow spots. True to prediction, his strings
become entangled. “I told you so,” hissed the green and yellow Spy.
“My spots will dry over night. You must arrange my strings tomorrow.”
I set him beside the Chief Prophet where he slinks down and subsides.
“Hee, hee, hee,” snickers the other Spy who has cerise spots of silk on
lavender. He is crouched on the floor in a heap. I raise him and place
him beside his fellow. He reaches out a long brown arm and pokes him
slyly.

I collect the other dolls. Very crude little rag affairs they seem in
their unfinished condition. The naked, white body of the King I lay
beside that of the Sentinel. One could scarcely tell them apart except
that the feet of the King are already encased in little scarlet boots
which are long and pointed and curled at the tips. The King is a stiff,
unbending person. But the other is a well built fellow fashioned with
exceeding care to stand and walk and sit superbly in a few clothes
holding a long red spear and a shield. Into the box I lay them, white
bodies, blank faces, limber arms and legs. “I shall have to shop again
for the King’s purple robe. What a bore!” I think, as I dump disjointed
priests, children and servants, all on top of His Majesty, and close
the cover of the tin box.

“You are insolent,” said the Chief Prophet of the Stars. “Well, yes,
perhaps, oh mighty marionette,” I admit, “but I am sleepy. Goodnight.”

“Fatigue is human,” remarked the black-robed Priest. “We marionettes
transcend such frailty.”

“We are immortal!!!” boomed forth the Chief Prophet. “So saith Anatole
France, also Charles Magnin, also others.”

“Hist,” whispered one of the Spies, “it is written in _The Mask_....”
And, as I moved quietly about in the adjoining room I heard them
discussing many matters, concerning themselves, of course. There was
talk of the ancient Indian Ramajana, of the Joruri plays of Japan,
of bleeding Saints and nodding Madonnas in Mediaeval churches. The
conversation veered to Pulcinella, his kinship with Kasper and
Karagheuz and with Punch across the channel. There were murmurings
of the names of Goethe, Voltaire, even Shakespeare to say nothing of
Bernard Shaw, Maeterlinck, Hoffmansthal, Schnitzler, all from the dolls
on the mantel and much, much more besides. Some things I overheard
distinctly before I fell asleep: some I may have dreamed. All that I
could recall I have put into a little book.



_Puppets of Antiquity_

     “I wish to discant on the marionette.
      One needs a keen taste for it and also a little veneration.
      The marionette is august; it issues from a sanctuary....”

                                                   ANATOLE FRANCE


Perhaps the most impressive approach to the marionettes is through the
trodden avenue of history. If we travel from distant antiquity where
the first articulated idols were manipulated by ingenious, hidden
devices in the vast temples of India and Egypt, if we follow the
footprints of the puppets through classic centuries of Greece and Rome
and trace them even in the dark ages of early Christianity whence they
emerged to wander all over mediaeval Europe, in the cathedrals, along
the highways, in the market places and at the courts of kings, we may
have more understanding and respect for the quaint little creatures we
find exhibited crudely in the old, popular manner on the street corner
or presented, consciously naïve and precious, upon the art stage of
an enthusiastic younger generation. For the marionette has a history.
No human race can boast a longer or more varied, replete with such
high dignities and shocking indignities, romantic adventure and humble
routine, triumphs, decadences, revivals. No human race has explored so
many curious corners of the earth, adapted itself to the characteristic
tastes of such diverse peoples and, nevertheless, retained its
essential, individual traits through ages of changing environment and
ideals.

The origin of the puppet is still somewhat of a mystery, dating back,
as it undoubtedly does, to the earliest stages of the very oldest
civilizations. Scholars differ as to the birthplace and ancestry.
Professor Richard Pischel, who has made an exhaustive study of this
phase of the subject, believes that the puppet came into being along
with fairy tales on the banks of the Ganges, “in the old wonderland of
India.” The antiquity of the Indian marionette, indeed, is attested by
the very legends of the national deities. It was the god Siva who fell
in love with the beautiful puppet of his wife Parvati. The most ancient
marionettes were made of wool, wood, buffalo horn and ivory; they seem
to have been popular with adults as well as with children. In an old,
old collection of Indian tales, there is an account of a basketful
of marvellous wooden dolls presented by the daughter of a celebrated
mechanician to a princess. One of these could be made to fly through
the air by pressing a wooden peg, another to dance, another to talk!
Large talking puppets were even introduced upon the stage with living
actors. An old Sanskrit drama has been found in which they took part.
But in India real puppet shows, themselves, seem to have antedated
the regular drama, or so we may infer from the names given to the
director of the actors, which is _Sutradhara_ (Holder of the Strings)
and to the stage manager, who is called _Sthapaka_ (Setter up). The
implication naturally is that these two important functionaries of the
oldest Indian drama took their titles from the even more ancient and
previously established puppet plays.

There are authorities, however, who consider Egypt the original
birthplace of the marionette, among these _Yorick_ (P. Ferrigni),
whose vivid history of puppets is accessible in various issues of
_The Mask_. Yorick claims that the marionette originated somehow with
the aborigines of the Nile and that before the days of Manete who
founded Memphis, before the Pharaohs, great idols moved their hands and
opened their mouths, inspiring worshipful terror in the hearts of the
beholders. Dr. Berthold Laufer corroborates this opinion. He maintains
that marionettes first appeared in Egypt and Greece, and spread from
there to all countries of Asia. The tombs of ancient Thebes and Memphis
have yielded up many small painted puppets of ivory and wood, whose
limbs can be moved by pulling a string. These are figures of beasts as
well as of men and they may have been toys. Indeed, it is often claimed
that puppets are descended, not from images of the gods, but from “the
first doll that was ever put into the hands of a child.”

The _Boston Transcript_, in 1904, published a report of an article by
A. Gayet in _La Revue_ which gives a minute description of a marionette
theatre excavated at Antinoë. There, in the tomb of Khelmis, singer
of Osiris, archaeologists have unearthed a little Nile galley or barge
of wood with a cabin in the centre and two ivory doors that open to
reveal a stage. A rod across the front of this stage is supported by
two uprights and from this rod light wires were found still hanging.
Other indications leave little doubt that this miniature theatre was
used in a religious rite, possibly on the anniversary of the death of
the god Osiris, whose father was Ra, the sun, as a sort of passion play
performed by puppets before an audience of the initiated. Mortuary
paintings show us the ritual and tell us the story. As everything
excavated at this site is reported to be of the Roman or Coptic period
this is probably the oldest marionette theatre ever discovered!

The Chinese puppets and still older _shadows_ of the land as well as
of other Oriental countries are all of considerable antiquity. In
truth, it matters little whence came the first of the puppets, from
India, Egypt or from China, nor how descended, from the idols of
priests or the playthings of children. It is enough to know of their
indisputably ancient lineage and the honorable position granted them in
the legends of gods and heroes. Whatever remains uncertain or fantastic
in the theories of their origin can only add to the aura of romance
surrounding this imperishable race of fragile beings.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the mythology of the Greeks one may find mention of the august
ancestors of the marionettes. Passages in the Iliad describe
the marvellous golden tripods fashioned by Vulcan which moved of
themselves. A host of great articulated idols were to be found in the
temples all over Greece. These were moved, Charles Magnin avers, by
various devices such as quicksilver, leadstone, springs, etc. There was
Jupiter Ammon, borne upon the shoulders of the priests, who indicated
with his head the direction he wished to travel. There were the Apollo
of Heliopolis, the Theban Venus, the statues created by Daedalus and
many others, all manipulated by priests from within the hollow bodies.

[Illustration: JOINTED DOLLS OR PUPPETS

Terra-cotta, probably Attic

[Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]]

But aside from these inspiring deities, in fact right along with
them, Greek puppetry grew up and flourished. Yorick writes, “Greece
from remotest times of which any accounts have come down to us had
marionette theatres in the public places of all the most populated
cities. She had famous showmen whose names, recorded on the pages of
the most illustrious writers, have triumphed over death and oblivion.
She had her ‘balletti’ and pantomimes exclusively conceived and
preordained for the play of ‘pupazzi,’ etc.” Eminent mathematicians
interested themselves in perfecting the mechanism of the dolls until,
as Apuleius wrote, “Those who direct the movement of the little wooden
figures have nothing else to do but to pull the string of the member
they wish to set in motion and immediately the head bends, the eyes
turn, the hands lend themselves to any action and the elegant little
person moves and acts as though it were alive.” A pleasant hyperbole
of Apuleius perhaps, but some of us credulously prefer to have faith in
it.

In the writings of the celebrated Heron of Alexandria, living two
centuries before Christ, one can find a very minute description of a
puppet show for which he planned the ingenious mechanism. He explains
that there were two kinds of automata, first those acting on a movable
stage which itself advanced and retreated at the end of the acts and
second, those performing on a stationary stage divided into acts by a
change of scene. The _Apotheosis of Bacchus_ was of the first type, the
action presented within a miniature temple wherein stood the statue
of the god with dancing bacchantes circling around, fountains jetting
forth milk, garlands of flowers, sounding cymbals, all accomplished by
a mechanism of weights and cords. It was an extremely elaborate affair.
Of the second type of puppet show Heron cites as example _The Tragedy
of Nauplius_, the mechanism for which was invented by a contemporary
engineer, Philo of Byzantium. There were five scenes disclosed, one
after the other, by doors which opened and closed: first, the seashore,
with workmen constructing the ships, hammering, sawing, etc.; second,
the coast with the Greeks dragging their ships to the water; third, sky
and sea, with the ships sailing over the waters which begin to grow
rough and stormy; fourth, the coast of Euboë, Nauplius brandishing a
torch on the rocks and shoals whither the Greek vessels steer and
are shattered (Athene stands behind Nauplius, who is the instrument
of her vengeance); fifth, the wreck of the ships, Ajax struggling and
drowning in the waves, Athene appearing in a thunder clap! This play
was probably taken from episodes of the Homeric legend and, although
Heron does not so state, the action of the puppets was most likely
accompanied by a recital of the poem upon which the drama was founded.

Xenophon describes still another type of show, a banquet at which
the host brought in a Syracusan juggler to amuse the guests with his
dancing marionettes. The best showmen in Greece seem to have been
Sicilians. These peripatetic showmen went from town to town with their
figures in a box. The plays they presented were generally keen, strong
satires on the foibles of human nature, the vices of the times, the
prominent or pompous persons of the day, parodies on popular dramas or
schools of philosophy. They were a favorite diversion of the masses and
of cultured people as well. Even Socrates is reported to have bandied
words with a Sicilian showman, asking him how he made a living in his
profession. To which the showman made reply: “The folly of men is an
inexhaustible fund of riches and I am always sure of filling my purse
by moving a few pieces of wood.” Eventually the puppets usurped a place
upon the classic stage itself, and it is reported that a puppet player,
Potheinus, had a small stage specially erected for his marionettes
on the thymele of the great theatre of Dionysius at Athens where
Euripedes’ plays had been presented.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Romans borrowed marionette traditions from the Greeks as they did
many other art forms. There were large articulated statues of the
gods and emperors in Rome. At Praeneste the celebrated group of the
infants of Jupiter and Juno seated upon the knees of Fortune appears
to have been of this sort; the nurse seems to have been movable. Livy
describes a banquet celebration and the terror of the people and of the
Senate upon hearing that the gods averted their heads from the dishes
presented them. Ovid, also, gives an account of the startling effect
produced upon the beholders when the statue of Servus Tullius moved.
As in Greece, there were special puppet performances given in private
homes as well as the wandering shows along the highways. The latter
were popular with common people, with poets, philosophers and emperors.
Marcus Aurelius wrote about them, Horace and Persius mentioned them.

The personages of the Roman puppet stage generally represented obvious
and amusing types of humanity; their repertoire consisted chiefly
of bold satire and parodies on popular dramas. The conventionalized
characters of Roman marionette theatres were not at all dissimilar
from the later heroes of the Italian _fantoccini_. A bronze portrait
of Maccus, the Roman buffoon, which was unearthed in 1727, might
serve almost as a statue of Pulcinella, hooked nose, nut-cracker chin,
hunchback and all. In fact it is thought that these Roman mimes or
_sanni_ have lived on in the Italian _burattini_, and in the characters
of the Commedia dell’ Arte. This theory has been criticized by some
who feel that the _personaggi_ such as Arlecchino and Pulcinella grew
out of the mannerisms and characteristics of the Italians, just as
the puppet buffoons of Rome were true offspring of the Roman people,
and that any resemblances between them may be laid at the door of
common frailties existing in humanity of all ages and ever fit subject
for the satirical play of puppets. Nevertheless it is not impossible
to believe that through the curiously confused period in Italy when
Pagan culture was giving way to Christianity, when heathen ideals were
half perishing, half persisting, something of the old was embodied
in, assimilated with the new. And so it may have happened with the
marionettes, Maccus emerging with much of Pulcinella, Citeria appearing
as Columbine. We have Pappus Bruccus and Casnar, the parasite, the
glutton, the fool, passed on somehow.

[Illustration: SIAMESE SHADOWS

Belonging to the collection in the Smithsonian Institution, U. S.
National Museum. This collection was presented by the King of Siam in
1876]

But not alone this. Excavators in the Catacombs have discovered
small jointed puppets of ivory or wood in many tombs. They look like
dolls, but they may have been religious images used by the earliest
Christians. The Iconoclasts in their zeal annihilated everything that
had the appearance of an idol, and many a puppet perished along with
the images of the gods, Maccus as well as Apollo! But soon the
Church saw the wisdom of using concrete, vivid representation instead
of mere abstract symbolism scarcely comprehensible to the simple
minded. “Into the churches crept figures, Jesus’ body on the Cross
instead of the Lamb. To the Apollo of Heliopolis succeeded the crucifix
of Nicodemus, to the Theban Venus the Madonna of Orihuela.” (P.
Ferrigni.) Occasionally these figures were made to move a head or to
gesticulate. And here we find the earliest beginnings of the mysteries
which were later to come out from the churches and monasteries as
precursors not only of our puppet shows but of practically all our
drama.



_Oriental Puppets_


There are few of us who at times have not unleashed our imaginations,
flung away the reins and bidden our thoughts roam freely beyond the
vision of our straining eyes. Who has not pondered whimsically what
sort of crooked creatures may be shambling over the craters and
crevices of the moon? Similarly the unfamiliar Eastern lands afford
adventure for our Western fancies. How alluring the imaginary sights
and sounds fantastically flavored; glimmer of spangles, daggers,
veils and turbans, camels and busy bazaars and mosques white in the
sun, strumming of curious instruments, gurgle, clatter and patter,
enigmatical whisperings and silences of unknown import. But of all
things so strange what could be fashioned stranger than the puppets
of Eastern peoples? As the dreams and philosophies of the Orient seem
farther away from us than its most distant cities, so these small
symbols of unfamiliar creeds and cultures for us are most amazing.
What skill and artistry is displayed in the creation of them, what
capricious imagery in their conception! Let us consider them.

[Illustration: JAVANESE WAYANG FIGURES

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

Probably the Javanese _shadows_ present the most weirdly fascinating
spectacle to our unaccustomed eyes. What singular creatures are
here? Bizarre beyond all description, grotesque forms with long,
lean beckoning arms and incredible profiles, adorned with curious,
elaborate ornamentation. They are made of buffalo skin, carefully
selected, ingeniously treated, intricately cut and chiseled, richly
gilded and cunningly colored, and they are supported and manipulated by
fragile and graceful rods of horn or bamboo. Such are the colorful and
inscrutable little figures of gods and heroes in the _Wayang Purwa_,
ancient and celebrated drama of Java, popular now as in the days of
Java’s independence.

These shadow-plays are half mythical and religious, half heroic and
national in character, portraying the well-known feats of native gods
and princes, the battles of their royal armies, their miraculous and
preposterous adventures with giants and other fabulous creatures. Each
incident, each character is familiar to the audience. One heroine
is thus described in Javanese poetry. “She was really a flower of
song, the virgin in the house of Pati. She was petted by her father.
Her well-proportioned figure was in perfect accord with her skill in
working. She was acquainted with the secrets of literature. She used
the Kawi speech fluently, as she had practised it from childhood. She
was elegant in the recitation of formulas of belief and never neglected
the five daily prayer hours. She was truly Godfearing. Moreover, she
never forgot her batik work. She wove gilded passementerie and painted
it with figures, etc., etc. She was truly queen of the accomplished,
neat and charming in her manner, sweet and light in her gestures, etc.,
etc.

“She was sprayed with rosewater. Her body was warm and hot if not
anointed every hour. She was the virgin in the house of Pati. Everyone
who saw her loved her. She had only one fault. Later, when she married,
she could not endure a rival mistress. She was jealous, etc.”

A prose account tells us of the same young lady. It is said of Kyahi
Pati Logender’s youngest child: “This was a daughter called Andjasmara,
beautiful of form. If one wished to do full justice to her appearance
the describer would certainly grow weary before all of her beauty could
be portrayed. She was charming, elegant, sweet, talkative, lovely,
etc., etc. Happy he who should obtain her as a wife.”

[Illustration: JAVANESE ROUNDED MARIONETTES

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

The plots are based upon old, old Indian saga, from the _Mahabharata_,
the _Ramayana_, the _Pandji_ legends and also upon native fable such
as the _Manik Muja_. There are several varieties of Wayang play, each
founded upon one or several of these sources. The _Wayang Purwa_ and
the _Wayang Gedog_ are silhouette plays presented by leather figures
behind a lighted screen. Sometimes, however, the women in the audience
are seated on one side of the screen, the men on the other, so that
some see the gray shadows, others the colored figures. The _Wayang_
Keletik is given not with shadows but with the painted hide figures
themselves displayed to the audience. All these performances are not
ordinary public events, but rather special productions in celebration
of particular occasions. Etiquette at the Wayang demands that regular
rites be observed before the performance, incense burned and food
offered to the gods.

The _Dalang_, or showman, is a person of great skill and versatility.
He seats himself cross-legged on a mat surrounded by figures; there are
about one hundred and twenty to a complete Wayang set. He directs the
gamelin music of the orchestra which keeps up a tomtom and scraping of
catgut throughout, gives a short preliminary exposition of the plot,
brings on the characters which he holds and manipulates with slender
rods, places them with precision and then the play begins. The Dalang,
as the music softens, speaks for each one of the characters. The
general tone is heroic with comedy introduced upon occasion. There are
struggles, battles, love scenes, dances. The Dalang shuffles with his
feet for the dancing, makes a noise of tramping or fighting, adjusts
the lights on the screen, all the while moving the figures and speaking
feelingly for them.

Besides these so-called shadows the Javanese have also rounded
marionettes carved out of wood, which have long, slender arms and
fantastic touches revealing kinship with the figures of painted hide.
The play presented by these crude but rather startling dolls is called
_Wayang Golek_. The puppets are moved from below by rods attached to
their bodies and hands as are the shadow figures. Still other types of
plays are the _Wayang Beber_, presented by rolls of pictures, and much
later (eighteenth century) the _Wayang Topang_ in which rigidly trained
human actors, dressed in the conventional costumes of the Wayang
figures, take the parts of the puppets. But here as in the puppet
dramas the Dalang reads all the words.

On the island of Bali, one of the group of the Indian Archipelago,
Wayang plays are like those of Java. The old figures are very
wonderful, cut out of young buffalo hide, carefully treated and
prepared. The tool formerly used to make them was a primitive pointed
knife. The Wayang sets made to-day, in spite of the superiority of
modern European instruments which are employed, are very crude in
comparison. This is because with the loss of independence the natives
also lost all interest in their own art and culture; indeed new Wayangs
are made only when the old ones are worn out.

       *       *       *       *       *

The shadows of the Siamese _Nang_ are also unusual. This is a
representation of certain scenes from the Indian epic, _Ramayana_, and
depicts the adventures of Prince Rama and his wife Sita. It is given in
private homes for special festivals and is of a serious, poetic nature.
As described by a native of Siam, “It is a show of moving, transparent
pictures over a screen illumined by a strong bonfire behind.” It
is recited by two readers and sometimes requires as many as twenty
operators. The figures more nearly approach the human form than do
those of the Javanese shadows, but their queer, pointed headdress and
strange costuming produce a very striking and highly stylized effect.
They are made of hide which has been previously cut, scraped and
stretched with extreme care. The technique of decorating the figures
is most difficult, for the forms are stenciled and perforated by an
infinite number of pricks, to indicate not only the outlines but also
the nature of the fabric of garments, the jewels, weapons, etc. These
perforations scarcely show unless held before a light, when they give
a very rich and variegated effect. There is great art as well in the
dyeing and fixing of the colors, and in estimating the amount of light
which should be allowed to penetrate so as to give a well-proportioned
aspect to the figure as a whole. In Siam as in Java there are to be
found ordinary dramatic performances by wooden puppets more recent in
origin and not unlike those of Burma.

       *       *       *       *       *

These puppet theatres of Burma exhibit a peculiar combination of
fantastic legend and grotesque, realistic humor. The puppet stage of
the country seems to have been more highly developed than its regular
drama. A visiting company of Burmese marionettes was displayed at
the Folies Bergères in Paris, where they were much admired for their
beautiful costumes, wonderful technical construction, the natural poses
they assumed and the graceful gestures they made. Mr. J. Arthur MacLean
tells of the annual celebration which he witnessed a few years ago at
Ananda, the famous old Buddhist site. It consisted of a performance by
the temple puppets which began early in the evening and lasted all the
night through. The marionettes were the property of the temple and when
not in use were stored away there. They were large and elaborate and
manipulated with strings. The audience comprised the entire population
of the village; every man and woman was present and they had brought
all of their children. The first part of the show was comical for the
sake of the children who, we may presume, fell asleep as the night
progressed. The plays which followed became more and more serious and
were of a religious nature. Some Burmese puppets, however, are very
primitive, being painted wooden dolls, odd and humorous in spirit. The
license of the showman is extreme, but does not seem to offend the
taste of the native audience.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Turkestan and in Central Asia puppet shows are a very popular
diversion along with the feats of jugglers and dancers. There are two
types of puppets existing, one the very diminutive dolls carried about
by ambulant players whose extremely naïve dialogue is composed chiefly
for the amusement of children. The other, on a larger scale, is to be
seen on small stages erected in coffee houses or at weddings and other
private celebrations.

[Illustration: BURMESE PUPPETS

  _Upper_: Made of rag, cotton and plaster
  _Lower_: Made of painted wood

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

R. S. Rehm gives a description of a crude little marionette theatre in
Samarkand. Out in the crowded narrow streets sounds as terrifying as
the trumpet on the walls of Jericho announced the beginning of the
performance. The interior was a dark hall with a roof of straw matting
through the holes of which mischievous youngsters were continually
peeking until they were chased away. It was called _Tschadar Chajal_,
Tent of Fantasy. The puppets revealed Indian origin, but their huge
heads, with the clothing merely hung upon them, indicated Russian
influences. There was one scene of modern warfare with toy cannons
hauled upon the stage. Then came a play within a play. Yassaul, the
native buffoon, was a sort of master of ceremonies. Various comical
and grotesque marionettes appeared whom he greeted and led to their
places. The King himself entered upon a miniature horse, dismounted
and seated himself on a throne in the tiny audience. The performance
for His Majesty consisted of puppet dancers, puppet jugglers and last
of all, a marionette representing a drunken European dragged away by a
native policeman. At this point the small and also the large audience
expressed great delight.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the puppets of Persia a very ancient legend tells us how a Chinese
shadow play was performed before Ogotai, successor of Tamerlane. The
artist presented upon his screen the figure of a turbaned old man being
dragged along tied to the tail of a horse. When Ogotai inquired what
this might signify the showman is said to have replied: “It is one of
the rebellious Mohammedans whom the soldiers are bringing in from
the cities in this manner.” Whereupon Ogotai, instead of being angry
at the taunt, had his Persian art treasures, jewels and rich brocades
brought forth, also rare Chinese fabrics and carven stones. Displaying
them all to the showman, he pointed out the beauties in the products of
both lands as well as the natural difference between them. The showman
having learned this lesson of tolerance went away greatly abashed.

[Illustration: CINGALESE PUPPETS

  _Upper_: Devil and Merchant
  _Lower_: King and Queen

Part of a collection received from the Ceylon Commission of the World’s
Columbian Exposition, 1895, by the Smithsonian Institution. U.S.
National Museum]

_Shadows_ are mentioned in the works of the Persian poet, Muhammed
Assar, in 1385, when they seem to have been eagerly cultivated. Since
then, however, they have sadly deteriorated. It is said that wandering
jugglers with their primitive dolls scarcely elicit a smile from the
educated Persians, although they are sometimes asked into homes to
amuse guests or children. As a rule they play in open places and after
the show the owner collects the pennies from the audience standing
around, calling down the curse of Allah upon those who walk away
without paying. The comic puppet, according to Karl Friederich Flögel,
is Ketschel, a bald-headed hero “more cultured than all the Hanswursts
in the world.” He spouts poetry, quotes from the Koran, sings of the
houris in Paradise and, when alone, throws aside his wisdom, dances and
gets drunk.

       *       *       *       *       *

Professor Pischel has written that he believes the puppet plays of
India not only to have antedated the regular drama, but also to have
outlived it. He claims moreover that the puppet shows are the
only form of dramatic expression left at the present time. What a
contribution from the marionette to the land of its birth and, on the
other hand, how much the races of India must have given of themselves
and their imaginations to the little wooden creatures; for the interest
of the beholder, alone, is the breath of life which animates them
through the centuries.

It is amusing to read of the life-sized walking and talking puppets
used in the tenth century by a dramatist, Rajah Gekhara. One doll
represented Sita and another her sister. A starling trained to speak
Prakrit was placed in the mouth of _Sita_ to speak for her. The puppet
player spoke for the other doll as well as for the demon, which part
in the drama he himself enacted and spoke in Sanskrit.[2] In one of
the issues of _The Mask_ there is printed the following account of
religious puppets of the thirteenth century in Ceylon. A great festival
was being solemnized in the temple, which had been richly decorated for
the event and furnished “with numerous images of Brahma dancing with
parasols in their hands that were moved by instruments; with moving
images of gods of divers forms that went to and fro with their joined
hands raised in adoration; with moving figures of horses prancing; ...
with likenesses of great elephants ... with these and divers other
shows did he make the temple exceeding attractive.” (Mahavamsa, ch.
85).

In quite recent days, P. C. Jinavaravamsa, himself a priest and prince
of Siam, as well as an artist, has written an article attesting the
aesthetic worth and popularity of Indian puppets to-day. “Beautiful
figures, six to eight inches high, representing the characters of
the Indian drama, _Ramayana_, are made for exhibition at royal
entertainments. They are perfect pieces of mechanism; their very
fingers can be made to grasp an object and they can be made to assume
postures expressive of any action or emotion described in poetry;
this is done by pulling strings which hang down within the clothing
or within a small tube attached to the lower part of the figure, with
a ring or a loop attached to each, for inserting the fingers of the
showman. The movements are perfectly timed to the music and recitation
of singing. One cannot help being charmed by these Lilliputs, whose
dresses are so gorgeous and jeweled with the minutest detail. Little
embroidered jackets and other pieces of dress, representing magnificent
robes of a Deva or Yakha, are complete in the smallest particular; the
miniature jewels are sometimes made of real gold and gems.”

[Illustration: EAST INDIAN PUPPETS

From an old rest house for pilgrims connected with an old Jain Temple
at Ahmadabad. The figures were attached to a mechanical organ and their
motions followed the music

[Part of a collection in the Brooklyn Institute Museum]]

The popular plays of India have never been written down, as were the
classic dramas, but, according to the custom of wandering showmen,
they were handed on from father to son. Thus, much in them has been
lost for us. But Vidusaka, the buffoon, has survived, “as old as
the oldest Indian art,” the fundamental type of comic character, and
possibly the prototype of them all,--Vidusaka, a hunchbacked dwarf with
protruding teeth, a Brahmin with a bald head and distorted visage. He
excites merriment by his acts, his dress, his figure and his speech.
He is quarrelsome, gluttonous, stupid, vain, cowardly, insolent and
pugnacious, “always ready to lay about him with a stick.” Professor
Pischel avers that we can follow this little comedian as he wandered
away with the gypsy showmen whose original home was that of the
marionette, mysterious ancient India. He trails him into Turkey, where
he became metamorphosed into the famous (or infamous) Karagheuz after
having served as a model for the buffoons of Persia, Arabia and Egypt.
But more than this, it is believed that long before Arlecchino and
other offspring of Maccus found their way northward there existed in
the mystery and carnival plays of Germany a funny fellow with all the
family traits of the descendants of the Indian Vidusaka. And it was
probably the gypsies again, coming up from Persia and Turkey through
the Balkan countries and Hungary (where similar types of puppet-clowns
are to be discovered) who carried the cult from far-off times and
introduced into Austria and Germany the ancient ancestor of Hanswurst
and Kasperle.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Turkey, as in so many Oriental countries, the shadow play is the
chief representative of dramatic art. There are several little
tales told concerning the origin of Turkish puppets. One relates how
a Sultan, long ago, commanded his Vizier on pain of death to bring
back to life two favorite court fools whom he had executed, perhaps
somewhat rashly. The Vizier, in this dire dilemma, consulted with a
wise Dervish, who thereupon caught two fish, skinned them and cut out
of the dried skins two figures representing the two dead jesters. These
he displayed to the Sultan behind a lighted curtain, and the illusion
seems to have satisfied that autocratic personage.

Another story tells that long ago in Stamboul there lived a good man
who grieved daily with righteous indignation over the misrule of the
governing Pashas. He pondered long how to improve conditions and how
to carry the matter to the attention of the Sultan himself. Finally he
decided to establish a shadow play whose fame, he hoped, might lure
the Sultan in to see it. And, indeed, the people thronged to witness
his Karagheuz. But when at last the august Sultan came and took his
place in the audience, Karagheuz had more serious matters to display
than his usual pranks. The Sultan’s eyes were opened to the abuses of
his ministers, whom he removed and justly punished. The founder of
the Karagheuz play, on the other hand, was made Vizier. His show has
remained the favorite diversion of the people.

[Illustration: TURKISH SHADOW FIGURE OF KARAGHEUZ

[From Georg Jacob’s _Das Schattentheater_]]

These Turkish shadows are all centered around the hero, a sort of
native Don Juan, a scamp with a good bit of mother wit; he is called
“Karagheuz” (Black Eye). There are about sixty other characters to a
complete cast, among them Hadji-aivat, representative of the cultured
classes and boon companion of Karagheuz, and Bekri Mustafa, the rich
peasant just come to town, who frequents questionable resorts, gets
drunk and is invariably plundered. There are Kawassan, the rich Jew,
and a Dervish and a romantic robber and the Frank and the wife and
daughter of Hadji-aivat and all sorts of dancers, beggar-women, etc.
George Jacob brings to notice also pathological types such as the
dwarf, the opium fiend, the stutterer and others; also representatives
of foreign nations, the Arabian, the Persian, the Armenian, the Jew,
the Greek, all of whose peculiar accents and mistakes in speaking the
Turkish language form a constant source of merriment to the Turks
themselves. The plot generally consists of the improper adventures of
Karagheuz, his tricks to secure money, his surprising indecencies,
his broad, satirical comment on the life about him. Théophile Gautier
was present at a Karagheuz performance. He writes: “It is impossible
to give in our language the least idea of these huge jests, these
hyperbolical, broad jokes which necessitate to render them the
dictionary of Rabelais, of Beroalde of Eutrapel flanked by the vulgar
catechism of Vade.”

The extreme beauty of the production, however, and the expertness of
the manipulator somewhat redeem the performances for our Western eyes.
The figures are cut out of camelskin, the limbs skilfully articulated.
Holes in the necks or chests and, for special figures which
gesticulate, also in the hands, enable slender rods to be inserted
at right angles by which they are manipulated. The appearance of the
transparent, brightly colored figures, with heavy exaggerated outlines,
rather resembles mosaic work, while the faces are sometimes done with
the extreme care of portraits. The effect produced by these luminous
forms is truly beautiful; the color is heightened by surrounding
darkness, which tends to increase the seeming size of the figures and
to give them an almost plastic quality.

[Illustration: CHINESE PUPPETS

  _Upper_: Operated from above with strings
  _Lower_: Operated from below with sticks

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

From an account of F. von Luschan we may imagine the usual Karagheuz
performance to take place in somewhat the following manner. In any
coffee house the rear corner is screened off with a thick curtain
into which is inserted a frame. Over the frame a linen is stretched
taut. Behind it is set a platform or table upon or at which the
operator places himself and his figures. There is little equipment.
Four oil lamps with several wicks are furnished with good olive oil
to distribute an even illumination behind the screen. The manipulator
brings on his characters and talks for them. If two of them gesticulate
simultaneously, he overcomes the difficulty by holding one of the
rods lightly pressed against his body, thus freeing a hand for the
emergency. He must also keep time to the dancing with his castanets,
stamp the floor for marching, smack himself loudly to imitate the
sound of buffets and keep an eye on the lamps which threaten constantly
to set fire to himself and his paraphernalia.

[Illustration: WAYANG FIGURES FROM THE ISLAND OF BALI

[Collected by and belonging to Mr. Maurice Sterne, New York]]

These Karagheuz shows are popular not only throughout Turkey but, more
or less altered, in Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, Tunis, Tripoli,
and Morocco. It is recorded that in 1557 in Cairo a puppet play was
instrumental in stirring up a revolt and had to be prohibited. In
Arabia the shadows are decidedly debased in character, crude, and
wholly inartistic. In Tunis the performances are said to be mere
conglomerations of obscene incidents. Guy de Maupassant writes in his
_Vie Errante_: “We must not forget that it was only a very few years
ago that the performances of Caragoussa, a kind of obscene Punch and
Judy, were forbidden. Children looked on with their large black eyes,
some ignorant, others corrupt, laughing and applauding the improbable
and vile exploits which are impossible to narrate.” In 1842, however, a
traveller in Algiers witnessed a shadow play presenting incidents from
the _Arabian Nights’ Tales_, in which Karagheuz was a less rude buffoon
than usual. At the end of the play there appeared upon the screen the
illumined inscription: “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his
Prophet.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In China the art of the shadow play has long, long ago attained a
degree of perfection as high if not surpassing that of any other
country. The Chinese have quaintly designed marionettes, but in the
magical beauty of their shadows they are without peers. It is only
within the last few decades, in fact, that the artists of Paris with
the shadow plays at the Chat Noir have succeeded in at all approaching
their skill and inspiration.

[Illustration: CHINESE SHADOW-PLAY FIGURES: COLLECTED BY B. LAUFER IN
PEKIN, 1901

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

According to legend one might infer, although scholars deem it
doubtful, that the origin of puppets in the wide dominions of bygone
Emperors, Celestial Ones, dates back to the earliest periods of a
remarkably ancient culture. One story relates that a thousand years
B.C. shadows had grown so popular and famous that King Muh commanded
a famous showman named Yen Sze to come into his palace and amuse him,
his wives and concubines. Yen Sze, thus honored, bestirred himself
to operate the figures in an animated manner and proceeded to make
his little puppets cast admiring glances at the ladies of the Court.
The King became jealously enraged and ordered Yen’s head chopped off.
Poor Yen Sze,--he barely escaped his horrible fate by tearing up his
little figures and proving them harmless creatures of leather, glue and
varnish. Another fable tells us that in the year 262 B.C. an Emperor of
the Han dynasty was being besieged in the City of Ping in the Province
of Schensi by the warrior-wife of Mao-Tun, named O. Now the Emperor’s
adviser, being full of cunning, and having heard of the jealous
disposition of the warlike lady O, devised a scheme for ingeniously
ridding the Emperor of his enemies. He placed upon the walls of the
beleaguered city a gorgeously dressed female puppet and by means of
hidden strings made her dance alluringly upon the ramparts. Lady O,
deceived by the lifelike imitation and fearing, should the city fall,
that her husband, Mao-Tun, might fall in love with this seductive
dancer, raised the siege and withdrew her armies from the Emperor’s
City of Ping in the Province of Schensi. So wonderful, so helpful were
the puppets of China in 262 B.C.!

In more modern days there are several sorts of Chinese marionettes. In
any open place one might come upon the simple, peripatetic showman with
a gathering of little bald-headed children around him, (hence, they
say, the name Kwo or Mr. Kwo, which means Baldhead). Stepping upon a
small platform the puppeteer dons a sort of sheath of blue cotton, like
a big bag, tight at the ankles and full higher up. He then places his
box on his shoulders with its open stage to the audience. His head is
enclosed behind this stage and his hands are thrust into the dresses of
the dolls and manipulate them, a finger for each arm, and for the head.
The dialogue is rough, realistic humor. When the act is over he places
the puppets and sheath in his box and strolls on with the complete
outfit under his arm.

In the large stationary marionette theatres a very different state of
affairs exists. Here with expensive and elaborate scenery the puppets
are capable of presenting highly spectacular faeries in the manner of
the later Italian and French fantoccini. The plot is generally the
old one of an enchanted princess guarded by a dragon and rescued
by a prince; their marriage ceremony furnishes the occasion for the
spectacular display. Some dramas of a romantic or historic nature were
composed especially for performances at the court of the Emperor.
Sir Lytton Putney, first British Ambassador to China, has described
the reception accorded him upon his arrival, one event of which was
a marionette play. The chief personage in this piece was a little
comedian whose antics delighted the court. The marionettes belonged to
the Emperor himself, and the very clever manager of the show was a high
official in the palace.

[Illustration: CHINESE SHADOW-PLAY FIGURES: COLLECTED BY B. LAUFER IN
PEKIN, 1901

Entrance to a house; water-wheel and gate to the lower wheel; gate
leading to one of the Purgatories

[American Museum of Natural History, New York]]

It is the Chinese shadows, however, which are most famous and most
amazing for their range of subject and variety of appeal. The figures
are of translucent hide, stained with great delicacy. The colors glow
like jewels when the light shines through them, and the combination
of these colors is amazingly beautiful. The repertoire includes
anything and everything in the world of the seen and of the unseen;
street comedies, happenings of everyday life, heroic legend, fables,
historic drama, religious and mystical revelations with all the ghostly
fantasy bred of Taoist teachings (metamorphoses and visions of demons
marvellously produced!). According to the account of Rehm in his
extensive work _Das Buch der Marionetten_, the beauty and power of
these fascinating illusions carry the spectator away into realms of
make-believe. He has given several enthusiastic descriptions of the
productions. The following is one of them:

“The story is that of a son, sick with longing, who implores the Ruler
of the Shadow-world to show him the spirit of his departed mother. One
sees a landscape bathed in the magic atmosphere of twilight. In the
background there rises a pagoda whose shimmering reflection is mirrored
in the calm lake. All is silence and expectancy. The son appears; he
makes his respectful obeisance before the hallowed spot and brings his
offering. The smoke of the incense rises in small clouds. Suddenly the
silver tones of the wonderful Chinese zither are heard and accompanied
by its strains the transformation takes place. The pagoda vanishes,
luminous circles of color appear out of which the mother emerges. She
speaks to her son, who is trembling with awe; she offers him glimpses
of a hidden world, comforts and strengthens him. One hears her sigh,
recognizes her perturbation by the rising and falling of her breast and
the whole expression of her countenance. The beholders are completely
under the sway of the ghostly apparition. In the end everything resumes
its former aspect, the peace of the night envelops the landscape
resting under the silver moonlight. Swans appear upon the lake bathing
their white plumage in the cool waters and with this poetic impression
the dream-peace is concluded.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In Japanese literature, according to Mr. Henri Joly, one finds the
antiquity of the puppet show traced back into the depths of ages. Thus
the story runs: Hiriuk was a very ugly child, so his parents cast
him adrift in a boat. The boat floated away and was finally stranded
on the shore of Nishinomiya where the boy lived and died. After his
death, however, his restless spirit caused storms to rise and the
fishermen lost their livelihood until a man, Dokun, arrived who built
a temple to the Gods, whereupon the sea became smooth and the fish
plentiful. After Dokun’s death, the inhabitants neglected the temple.
Again gales arose and the fish disappeared. Then came another man
named Hiakudaiyu and made a doll and brought it to the temple. Then
hiding himself he displayed it and called: “I am Dokun, I have come
to greet you.” Whereupon the sea again became calm and fish again
returned. The emperor hearing of it summoned Hiakudaiyu to perform with
his show at court, and after witnessing it he exclaimed: “As Japan is
God’s country, we must, before anything else, entertain the Gods. Let
an office be created!” Hiakudaiyu was officially appointed to travel
from shrine to shrine about the land carrying the box which contained
his puppets. After his death others continued the art. Another
writer claims that Dokun was a Shinto priest, but it matters little.

[Illustration: OLD JAPANESE PUPPET HEADS

From a collection in the Brooklyn Institute Museum

[Founded by Mr. Stewart Culin in Kyoto, 1912]]

Japan has developed a marionette tradition altogether and amazingly
unique. Indeed so powerful a factor has it been that living actors in
the classic drama have accepted the conventions of the puppet stage and
are trained to the gesture and manner of the ancient marionette. This
does not apply, of course, to the innumerable strolling booths of
the Chinese _linen bag_ variety, but rather to the renowned and long
established stationary theatres for puppets, theatres with exclusive
boxes for the select and well-to-do of the audience and ample seating
capacity for the common people who visit the show in great numbers.

The dolls are not quite half as tall as a man; they are very
realistically conceived and the mimicry of nature is carried into
the minutest details. Mr. Joly has published some tracings of parts
of these Japanese puppets which indicate how elaborate the inner
mechanism must be; a hand in which each joint of each finger is
articulated, a head in which the eyes move from side to side. Indeed,
these marionettes frequently raise their eyebrows to express scorn
or surprise. The costumes are of rich silk and brocade, profusely
embroidered, often jeweled and always designed with special thought for
their decorative effect. Nay more, when a gown is new or particularly
handsome a boy comes deliberately out and places a lantern directly in
front of the doll so that no elegant detail shall be overlooked by the
audience. The puppets are, necessarily, very costly and they represent
altogether quite a large amount of capital for which the theatres are
often specially taxed.

The stages are quite large. The puppets are fastened by means of rods
to their stands (all but the spirits and magic figures, which are
worked with wires from above and float through the air). The most
curious feature in the Japanese show is the manner of manipulating.
The operators work on the stage in full view of the audience with the
puppets placed in front of them. They speak no word and are frequently
assisted by similarly mute scholars. These, to make themselves less
conspicuous, often wear black-hooded robes; but the expert and favorite
manipulators themselves are generally very gayly attired and their
entrances are not infrequently greeted with applause. Often there are
more persons working the puppets than there are puppets to be seen on
the stage.

The words of the drama are read by the _Gidayu_ or chanter, arrayed in
a splendid ceremonial costume and sitting respectfully on a platform
to the left of the stage behind a low stand upon which there rests a
copy of the text. He chants loudly and musically, varying according
to the nature of the account and of the characters. The chanters
are artists of high standing, in fact somewhere in the seventeenth
century they had already established a unique form of elocution. The
reading is generally accompanied by the strains of the samisen, a
three-stringed instrument, played by an artist who sits on the platform
next to the chanter. Sometimes besides the principal Gidayu there are
others who chant as a sort of chorus. In some performances there are
as many as thirty-three Gidayus, twenty-nine samisen players, some
forty manipulators and several cleaners of lamps and stage hands.
The chanter, after an exciting passage, may take a sip of tea or
expectorate into a little bamboo cuspidor, the musicians may emphasize
important lines by warning notes, the operators may jog about; Japanese
audiences are accustomed to these incidental happenings and accept them
with undisturbed equanimity. To Occidental witnesses they are likely to
seem distractions.

There are several types of classic drama in Japan, one of which is
the _Joruri_, or epical play originally composed expressly for the
marionette stage. The name is derived from a drama written by a clever
and beautiful court lady of Yeddo (1607–1688). It was called _The Story
of The Lady Joruri_ and being tremendously popular was followed by
many similar plays. It was later set to samisen music and during the
Eiroken period a woman singer gave performances of Joruri with puppets
in Kyoto. She was so successful that she was commanded to play before
noble families, finally even before the Emperor himself.

In these epic dramas there are long, poetic passages as well as
narrative parts. Early in the seventeenth century Takemoto Gidayu,
noted samisen player and puppet showman, invented a more brilliant
presentation of puppet shows to the accompaniment of Joruri recitation
and samisen music. His shows were popular with the nobility, the
populace and the Samurai (who enjoyed the warlike elements in them) and
he, too, was summoned to perform at the palace of the Emperor. In 1685
he established a stationary marionette theatre in Osaka called Takemoto
Za. For this theatre some of Japan’s best classic dramas were written.
One playwright, Chikamatsu Monzayemon, the Shakespeare of Japan,
together with his pupils, wrote about one hundred pieces for these
puppets. In 1703 a rival theatre was founded in Osaka by a pupil of
Gidayu. It was called Toyotake Za and it also had its able dramatists
and enthusiastic following. The two theatres were at their zenith early
in the eighteenth century; Izuma and Sosuki wrote for them. A few of
their plays were in a realistic vein, such as, _The Woman’s Harakari
at Long Street_, or more frequently they were of a heroic temper, _The
Battle of Kokusenya_, or _The Loyalty of the Five Heroes_, _The Revenge
of the Soga Brothers_, and often they were such romantic affairs as the
hopeless passion of two young lovers with the familiar ending of their
double suicide called _shinju_.

[Illustration: JAPANESE PRINT (Hokusai)

Representing the famous actor, Mizuki Tatsunosuke, manipulating a
puppet on a go board]

Later in the eighteenth century the centre for puppet performances was
transferred to Yeddo and flourished there for half a century in two
large theatres called Hizen Za and Take Za. There were two smaller
theatres, also in Kyoto. At present puppet plays are occasionally
given in Tokyo at Asakusa Park. There are two such theatres also in
Osaka with clever chanters and skilful puppeteers which are among the
greatest attractions of the city. In the land of the cherry blossom,
however, as elsewhere in this modern world, the cinema has, for a while
at least, outrivaled the ancient puppet play in the affection of the
people and, according to Osataro Miyamori, deprived them of a great
part of their audiences.

But who shall belittle the remarkable achievements of the Japanese
marionette theatre? All in all there have been as many as two hundred
epic poets writing for the puppets and over a thousand dramas have been
composed for them. Moreover, in feudal Japan, where higher education
was confined to the priests and to the Samurai, the Gidayu chanters
were important educators of the masses who derived their conceptions of
patriotism, loyalty and ethics from the impeccable sentiments of the
heroic epic dramas.



_Puppets of Italy and Southern Europe_

    “Into whatever country we follow the footprints of the
    numerous, motley family of puppets, we find that however exotic
    their habits may be on their first arrival in the land they
    speedily become reflexes of the peculiar genius, tastes and
    characteristics of its people. Thus in Italy, the land of song
    and dance, of strict theatrical censorships and of despotic
    governments, we find the burattini dealing in sharp but
    polished jests at the expense of the rulers, excelling in the
    ballet and performing Rossini’s operas without curtailment or
    suppression, with an orchestra of five or six instruments and
    singers behind the scenes. The Spanish titere couches his lance
    and rides forth to meet the Moor and rescue captive maidens,
    marches with Cortez to the conquest of Montezuma’s capital or
    enacts with more or less decorum moving incidents from Holy
    Writ. In the jokken and puppen of Germany one recognizes the
    metaphysical and fantastical tendencies of that country, its
    quaint superstitions, domestic sprites and enchanted bullets.
    And in France, where puppet shows were early cherished and
    encouraged by the aristocracy as well as by the people, we need
    not wonder to find them elegant, witty and frivolous, modelling
    themselves upon their patrons.”

                                      _Eclectic Magazine_ (1854).


Every country of Europe has had marionettes of one type or another
persisting from very early stages through centuries of national
vicissitudes. Italy, however, may be considered the pioneer, the
forerunner of them all. It was wandering Italian showmen who carried
their _castelli dei burattini_ into England, Germany, Spain and France,
and these countries seem to have adopted puppet conventions, devices
and dialogues long established by the Italians, gradually adapting them
to their own tastes. The Italians have always displayed great ingenuity
and perseverance in developing and elaborating their marionettes;
indeed, this may be both cause and result of the perpetual joy they
appear to derive from them.

There are numerous records in early Italian history of religious images
in the cathedrals and monasteries, marvellous Crucifixes, figures of
the Madonna and of the saints that could turn their eyes, nod their
heads or move their limbs. These were the solemn forebears of the
Italian fantoccini! Moreover very early it became customary for special
occasions to set up elaborate stages in the naves and chapels of the
churches upon which were enacted episodes from the Bible or from the
lives of the martyrs. The performers were large or small figures carved
and painted with rare skill and devotion, sometimes elaborately dressed
and bejeweled and frequently moved by complicated mechanism. It was not
unusual, in the presentation of sacred plays, to utilize both puppets
and human actors together.

Vasari in his Life of _Il Cecca_ tells us that, “Among others, four
most solemn public spectacles took place almost every year, one
for each quarter of the city with the exception of S. Giovanni for
the festival of which a most solemn procession was held, as will
be told. S. Maria Novella kept the feast of Ignazio, S. Croce that
of S. Bartholomew called S. Baccio, S. Spirito that of the Holy
Spirit and the Carmine those of the Ascension of Our Lord and the
Assumption of Our Lady.” Of the latter he continues, “The festival
of the Ascension, then, in the church of the Carmine, was certainly
most beautiful, seeing that Christ was raised from the mount, which
was very well contrived in woodwork, on a cloud about and amidst
which were innumerable angels, and was borne upwards into a Heaven
so admirably constructed as to be really marvellous, leaving the
Apostles on the mount.” We may read in great detail of the impressive
_Paradiso_, an arrangement of vast wheels moving in ten circles to
represent the ten Heavens. These circles glittered with innumerable
lights arranged in small suspended lamps which represented stars.
From this Heaven or Paradiso there proceeded by means of two strong
ropes, pulleys and counterweights of lead, a platform which held two
angels bound firmly by the girdle to iron stakes. These in due time
descend to the rood-screen and announce to the Savior that He is to
ascend into Heaven. “The whole apparatus,” continues the historian,
“was covered with a large quantity of well-prepared wool and this gave
the appearance of clouds amidst which were seen numberless cherubim,
seraphim and other angels clothed in various colors.” The machines
and inventions were said to have been Cecca’s, although Filippo
Brunelleschi had made similar things long before.

[Illustration: A WOODEN ITALIAN PUPPET, QUITE OLD

[Property of Mr. Tony Sarg]]

“It has been pointed out,” writes E. K. Chambers in the second volume
of his _Mediaeval Drama_, “that the use of puppets to provide a figured
representation of the mystery of the nativity seems to have preceded
the use for the same purpose of living and speaking persons; and
furthermore that the puppet show in the form of the Christmas Crib has
outlived the drama founded upon it and is still in use in all Catholic
countries.” Ferrigni describes a cathedral near Naples where this
ancient custom is still continued, the church being quite transformed
for the occasion, its walls hidden by scenery and an imitation hill
constructed at the top of which stood the Presepio. Moving figures
travelled up the hill toward the manger of Bethlehem, which was
illumined by a great light. I have heard such spectacles described by
travelers with much enthusiasm and not a little awe. Imagine the deep
impression, the reverent delight, produced among the devout worshippers
in mediaeval times!

It must be admitted that many prelates condemned the use of these
religious fantoccini as smacking sinfully of idolatry. Abbot Hughes of
Cluny denounced them in 1086, Pope Innocent in 1210 and others also,
from time to time. But canons were never able to quite eradicate the
cherished custom, and the little figures always reappeared inside the
churches and in adjacent cloisters and cemeteries for spectacles,
mysteries and masks. The decree of the Council of Trent, however, was
instrumental in forcing most of them out of the churches, so that in
the sixteenth century they were generally to be found roaming about the
countryside and giving performances in the marketplaces and at fairs.

[Illustration: MEDIAEVAL MARIONETTES

[From an illustration in a twelfth-century manuscript in the
Strassbourg library]]

There are many types of Italian pupazzi. They have been called by many
names and exhibited in many manners. They are designed and dressed
and manipulated in innumerable ways. In a twelfth-century manuscript
discovered in the Strasbourg library there is an illustration of very
primitive little _figurini_. They represent a pair of warriors caused
to fight by means of two cords; the action is horizontal. Somewhat
the same principle is employed to operate simple little dolls dancing
on a board, generally a couple of them together, the string tied to
the knee of the puppeteer. He makes the figures perform by moving
his leg and generally plays on a drum or tambourine to accompany the
motion. As a rule the name burattini is applied to the dolls with
heads and hands fashioned of wood or paper-maché and manipulated by a
hand thrust under the empty dress, a finger and a thumb fitted into
the two sleeves to work the arms, another finger used to turn or bow
the head of the doll. These pupazzi were most frequently played in
pairs by travelling showmen with little portable castelli. Fantoccini
are the puppets fashioned more or less after the human figure. They
are made of cardboard or wood and occasionally in part of metal or
plaster. They are sometimes crudely carved, sometimes modelled with
attention to every detail. They are operated by means of wires or
threads connecting them with the control, which is in the hands of the
marionettist standing concealed above. The number and arrangement of
threads and controls may be simple or intricate. Sometimes the limbs
are wired and all the wires except those of the arms are carried out
of the head through an iron tube. Another device is that of wiring the
dolls and manipulating them from below by pedals. There is no end to
the variety of contrivances invented by the makers of marionettes. The
more elaborate dolls are generally exhibited in large and substantial
castelli or on permanent stages constructed in private homes or in
theatres used entirely for fantocinni, the spectacular effects being
carried out on an amazing scale.[3]

From earliest times the marionettes have been exceedingly popular with
both learned and ignorant. Every village was visited by ambulant shows,
every city had its large castello, frequently many of them, while noble
families had their private puppet theatres and engaged distinguished
writers to compose plays. Lorenzo de Medici is said to have enjoyed
puppet shows and to have given many of them. Cosimo I is reported to
have had the fantoccini in the Palazzo Vecchio, Francesco I in the
Uffizi: Girolamo Cardan, celebrated mathematician and physician wrote
in 1550, “An entire day would not be sufficient in which to describe
these puppets that play, fight, shoot, dance and make music.” Leone
Allaci, librarian of the Vatican under Pope Alexander VII, stopped
nightly to watch the burattini play. Prominent mechanicians and
scientists used their skill to create clever _pupazzi_; artists have
left us charming pictures of groups thronging around the castelli in
the public roads; poets and scholars wrote plays for the marionettes.

[Illustration: FIGURES USED FOR CHRISTMAS CRIB INSIDE THE CHURCH

Seventeenth or eighteenth century

[From the collection of Mr. Sumner Healey, New York]]

In the beginning the repertory of the pupazzi was derived entirely from
the _sacre rappresentazione_, consisting of scenes from the Old and
the New Testaments, stories of miracles and martyrdoms. Soon a comic
element was allowed to creep in, the better to hold the attention of
the audience. Fables were introduced for variety, and episodes from
heroic tales of chivalry, also satires reminiscent of Roman decadence.
The latter were performed by puppets fantastically dressed and
burlesqueing local types, and, naturally, speaking in the native
dialect of those particular characters. The showman improvised the
dialogue to fit the occasion, using only a skeleton plot to direct the
action just as did the actors of the _Commedia dell’Arte_. “Thus,”
claims an authority on Italian puppetry, “on this humble stage were
born types of the ancient Italian theatre, the immortal masks.” It
might be as difficult to prove as to disprove this statement, but at
any rate the pupazzi had a hand in popularizing and perpetuating the
famous _maschere_.

At this point it might be well to digress for a moment and to
consider the commedia dell’arte which is so interwoven with the story
of Italian marionettes. Along with the commedia erudita which was
flourishing at the courts of the great Italian princes there developed
an extemporaneous, popular theatre depending greatly for its spirit
upon the invention and talent of the actors. Perhaps the beginnings
of its gay humor may be traced back to the comic and local elements
introduced into the early _sacre rappresentazione_. Perhaps the
characters were copied from the familiar buffoons of Latin comedy. At
any rate, the well-known masks or _personaggi_ of the cast represented
amusing types from all strata of Italian society, and each was
immediately recognizable by a conventionalized and rather grotesque
costume. _Arlecchino_, who originally came from Bergamo, is the chief
personage of this motley group. He is a unique figure in his strange
suit of multi-colored patches, his black mask, his peculiar weapon,
all reminiscent of the Roman _Histrio_. At first conceived as a happy,
simple fellow, he became in time a character of unbridled gayety and
pointed wit. Then there was _Pulcinella_, descended probably from the
Roman _Maccus_, a Neapolitan rogue and merry-maker whose white costume
serves to accentuate the hump in his back and his other physical
peculiarities. There were _Scaramuccia_, also of Naples, false bravo
and coward, _Stentorella_, from Florence, a mean miserly wretch,
_Cassandrino_, the charming fop and braggart, a Roman invention.
_Messer Pantalone_ is a good-natured Venetian merchant deceived by all,
_Scapino_ is the mischief maker apt to lead youth astray, _Constantine_
of Verona is “said youth.” Then come _Brighella_, _Capitaine_,
_Pierrot_, world renowned, _Columbine_, _Isabella_, and a host of
other Italian conceptions, to say nothing of _Pasquino_, _Peppinno_,
_Ornofrio_ and _Rosina_ who are the masks of Sicily.

[Illustration: PULCINELLA IN ITALY

[From original color lithograph]]

It was customary to have the plot and the principal situations
sketchily outlined for the actors. They then went into the play
supplying dialogue and improvising action and appropriate jests as the
mood of the moment dictated. The humor of the theatre was merry and
spontaneous, though frequently extremely broad and of questionable
taste. But despite this license of manners, the morals and purposes
of the plays were good, levelling shafts of satire against the frauds
and abuses of the age, poking fun and scorn at rogueries, hypocrisies,
weaknesses. The commedia dell’arte flourished brilliantly for a
century or more. Flaminio Scala was the first director who attempted
to systematize it. In 1611 he published a number of scenarii and
detailed directions for the action. However, in time the unbridled wit
degenerated into mere vulgarity, the grace and spontaneity of gesture
into absurd acrobatic tricks and grimacing, the bubbling jests and
startling situations became stale. It was then that Goldoni came to
reform the Italian drama. In his plays, it is true, one may still find
traces of the popular masks, but they are relegated to minor rôles,
subdued and properly clad. They will never wholly die out.

Through various stages of the Italian drama the marionettes have
trailed gayly along, ever adopting the new without discarding the old.
Their repertoire is all inclusive. They have enacted sacred dramas and
legends of saints, _Sansone e Dalila_, _Sante Tecla_, _Guida Iscaretta_
and innumerable others. They have made use of the scenarios of old
Latin plays such as _Amor non virtoso_ and _Il Basilico di Berganasso._
When the bombastic, elaborate plays were discarded by the actors they
came into possession of the puppet showmen. Thereafter the burattini
became grandiloquent, and stalked about as princes and heroes of
tragedy, while their trappings and settings often grew correspondingly
elaborate. To fables of heroes and pastoral scenes, to the romances
of Paladins and Saracens and spectacular tales of brigands, assassins
and tyrants were added the pathetic and romantic melodramas of
foreign lands. _Il Flauto magico_, _La donna Serpente_, _Genovieffa
di Brabante_, _Elizabetta Potowsky_, everything was to be seen in the
castelli of the fantoccini, even the military plays of Iffland and
Kotzebue. Moreover Arlecchino and his band were always allowed to enter
at any time, into any situation. Indeed, when the commedia dell’arte
became at last discredited on the larger stage it sought shelter with
the puppets. Thus in the puppet booths the popular old personaggi were
kept alive among the people, where they had, indeed, been ever very
much at home.

These old masks continue to be found to-day in the puppet shows of
Italy, as are also the melodramatic tragedies popular with the masses
and the clever, satirical comedies given in more intellectual circles.
Stendhal (Marie Henri Beyle), in his _Voyage en Italie_, reports
that in Rome he witnessed a wonderful performance of Machiavelli’s
_Mandragore_ performed for a select and highly cultured circle by
marvellous little marionettes on a stage scarcely five feet wide but
perfect in every detail. Rome has always abounded in puppet theatres.
Ernest Peixotto writes in 1903 that noblemen were in the habit of
giving plays acted by fantoccini in their palaces, plays reeking with
escapades and political satire that dared not show its face on the
public boards. Stendhal wrote also that he found Cassandrino at the
_Teatro Fiano_ very much the vogue, presented as a fashionable man of
the world falling in love with every petticoat. Teoli, who had made
the part famous, was an engraver by profession as well as an expert
marionettist. His delightful little Cassandrino was sometimes allowed
to appear in a three-cornered hat and scarlet coat suggesting the
cardinal, sometimes as a foppish Roman citizen, clever and experienced
but still with a weakness for the ladies. He was a charming instrument
for voicing popular criticism against the ecclesiastics and the
government. What wonder that Teoli’s theatre was sometimes closed and
he himself imprisoned? But Gregory XVI reopened the theatre and long
after Teoli’s death it remained in the hands of his family.

At the present time in what was formerly this very Fiano theatre,
in the Piazza S. Apollinare, there still exists a prominent show of
fantoccini. Here the small auditorium is perfectly fitted out for the
accommodation of the very respectable middle-class audience with a
sprinkling of the aristocracy. The stage is well lighted, there is an
orchestra, the dolls are beautifully, nay, elegantly dressed. Here we
find Pulcinella entering into the plays, a well-mannered, dexterous
Pulcinella. The ballet is amazingly graceful, often ending with a
tableau or even fireworks.

The most popular puppet theatre in Rome to-day, however, seems to be
that in the Piazza Montanara. Here the rather primitive fantoccini
present, most frequently, the ancient tales of chivalry from Ariosto
but their repertory also includes such diverse dramatic material
as _Aeneas, King of Tunis_ and _The Discovery of the Indies by
Christopher Columbus_. The audience sitting in the pit is composed
chiefly of rough, bronzed working men with thick, unkempt hair, a noisy
crowd all eating cakes or cracking pumpkin seeds between their teeth.
A spectator thus describes a performance: “To-day they are to perform
the lovely tale of _Angellica and Medoro_, or _Orlando Furioso and the
Paladins_. The curtain rises and the marionettes appear. The valiant
Roland and Pulcinella, his squire, come forth with a bound and neither
of them touches the ground. Roland is covered with iron from head to
foot and holds in his hand the Durlindana, [his sword]. Pulcinella has
white stockings, a white costume, with wide sleeves, and a white cap
with a tassel. The marionettes are two feet high, their limbs perfectly
supple, and lend themselves to any movement, etc. etc.”

The same account tells us that the play of _Christopher Columbus_
had been given here fourteen evenings in succession, three times an
evening. In it the Indians excited special curiosity, decked out with
splendid plumes.

[Illustration: ITALIAN PUPPET BALLET

[From a drawing in Hermann S. Rehm’s _Das Buch der Marionetten_]]

In 1912 Mr. W. Story visited a similar theatre of fantoccini in Genoa
where elaborate productions (usually of the wars of the Paladins) were
presented to an ever-receptive audience. “What is that great noise of
drums inside?” inquired Mr. Story of the ticket seller. “Battaglio,”
was the reproving reply, “E sempre battaglie!” (Always battle!)
Although this perpetual fray was rather crude, it was followed by an
excellent ballet which danced the most intricate steps with masterly
ease and grace.

There is an account by Charles Dickens of the show which he witnessed
in Genoa. It is too entertaining to be omitted.

“The Theatre of Puppets, or _Marionetti_, a famous company from Milano,
is, without any exception, the drollest exhibition I ever beheld in my
life, etc.

“The comic man in the comedy I saw one summer night, is a waiter at a
hotel. There never was such a locomotive actor since the world began.
Great pains are taken with him. He has extra joints in his legs, and
a practical eye, with which he winks at the pit, in a manner that
is absolutely insupportable to a stranger, but which the initiated
audience, mainly composed of the common people, receive (as they do
everything else) quite as a matter of course, and as if he were a man.
His spirits are prodigious. He continually shakes his legs, and winks
his eye.

“There is a heavy father with grey hair, who sits down on the regular
conventional stage-bank, and blesses his daughter in the regular
conventional way, who is tremendous. No one would suppose it possible
that anything short of a real man could be so tedious. It is the
triumph of art.

“In the ballet, an Enchanter runs away with the Bride, in the very hour
of her nuptials. He brings her to his cave, and tries to soothe her.
They sit down on a sofa (the regular sofa! in the regular place, O. P.
Second Entrance!) and a procession of musicians enter; one creature
playing a drum, and knocking himself off his legs at every blow. These
failing to delight her, dancers appear. Four first; then two; the
two; the flesh-coloured two. The way in which they dance; the height
to which they spring; the impossible and inhuman extent to which they
pirouette; the revelation of their preposterous legs; the coming down
with a pause, on the very tips of their toes, when the music requires
it; the gentleman’s retiring up, when it is the lady’s turn; and the
lady’s retiring up when it is the gentleman’s turn; the final passion
of a pas-de-deux; and going off with a bound! I shall never see a real
ballet, with a composed countenance, again.

“I went, another night, to see these Puppets act a play called ‘St.
Helena, or the Death of Napoleon.’ It began by the disclosure of
Napoleon, with an immense head, seated on a sofa in his chamber at St.
Helena; to whom his valet entered, with this obscure announcement:

“‘Sir Yew ud se on Low!’ (The ow, as in cow).

“Sir Hudson (that you could have seen his regimentals!) was a perfect
mammoth of a man, to Napoleon; hideously ugly; with a monstrously
disproportionate face, and a great clump for the lower-jaw, to express
his tyrannical and obdurate nature.

“He began his system of persecution by calling his prisoner ‘General
Buonaparte’; to which the latter replied, with the deepest tragedy,
‘Sir Yew ud se on Low, call me not thus. Repeat that phrase and leave
me! I am Napoleon, Emperor of France!’ Sir Yew ud se on, nothing
daunted, proceeded to entertain him with an ordinance of the British
Government, regulating the state he should preserve, and the furniture
of his rooms; and limiting his attendants to four or five persons.
‘Four or five for me!’ said Napoleon. ‘Me! One hundred thousand men
were lately at my sole command; and this English officer talks of four
or five for me!’

“Throughout the piece, Napoleon (who talked very like the real
Napoleon, and was forever having small soliloquies by himself) was very
bitter on ‘these English soldiers’ to the great satisfaction of the
audience, who were perfectly delighted to have Low bullied; and who,
whenever Low said ‘General Buonaparte’ (which he always did; always
receiving the same correction) quite execrated him. It would be hard to
say why; for Italians have little cause to sympathize with Napoleon,
Heaven knows.

“There was no plot at all, except that a French officer, disguised as
an Englishman, came to propound a plan of escape, and being discovered
(but not before Napoleon had magnanimously refused to steal his
freedom), was immediately ordered off by Low to be hanged, in two very
long speeches, which Low made memorable, by winding up with ‘Yas!’ to
show that he was English, which brought down thunders of applause.
Napoleon was so affected by this catastrophe, that he fainted away on
the spot, and was carried out by two other puppets.

“Judging from what followed, it would appear that he never recovered
from the shock; for the next act showed him, in a clean shirt, in his
bed (curtains crimson and white), where a lady, prematurely dressed in
mourning, brought two little children, who kneeled down by the bedside,
while he made a decent end; the last word on his lips being ‘Vatterlo.’

“Dr. Antommarchi was represented by a puppet with long lank hair,
like Mawworm’s, who, in consequence of some derangement of his wires,
hovered about the couch like a vulture, and gave medical opinions in
the air. He was almost as good as Low, though the latter was great
at all times, a decided brute and villain, beyond all possibility of
mistake. Low was especially fine at the last, when, hearing the doctor
and the valet say, ‘The Emperor is dead!’ he pulled out his watch, and
wound up the piece (not the watch) by exclaiming, with characteristic
brutality, ‘Ha! ha! Eleven minutes to six! The General dead! and the
spy hanged!’

“This brought the curtain down, triumphantly.”

Goethe was greatly interested by the shows in Naples where every event
of local interest was introduced upon the puppet stage. The humor of
the Neapolitan Pulcinella was often vulgar; ladies were not supposed
to visit the shows, although they were frequently given in fine
society. On the street where they were most popular, however, they drew
about them picturesque audiences reminiscent of Hogarth’s sketches.
Pulcinella was made to speak with a squeaky voice by means of the
pivetta, a little metal contrivance placed in the mouth of the actor.
It is formed of two curved pieces of tin or brass, bound together and
hollow inside. The voice, passing through this, acquired a shrill and
ridiculous sound.

Until the eighteenth century the puppets enjoyed celebrity and prestige
in Venice. Vittorio Malmani tells us that from the sixteenth century
when they became the vogue among Italian nobility, Venetian patricians
were accustomed to build elaborate little puppet theatres in their
palaces. One example of this was that of Antonio Labia, who exactly
reproduced in miniature the huge theatre, S. Giovanni Grisostomo,
famous throughout Europe, stage, boxes, decorations, machinery,
lighting facilities, costumes--everything precisely imitated the larger
theatre. The actors were figurines of wax and wood. The first drama
produced here was _Lo Starnuto d’Ercole_ (The Sneeze of Hercules) which
we may find described in Goldini’s memoirs.

In the Piazza of San Marco and in the Piazzetta until the fall of the
Republic, so Malamani tells us, the castelli of the burattini were
numerous during carnival time. In the eighteenth century the _casotti_
of Paglialunga and Bordogna were great rival attractions until the
former showman died and his little actors went to swell the company
of Bordogna, whose descendants continued the theatre throughout the
eighteenth century. The casotto of Bordogna has been painted by the
brush of Longhi, standing near the great dove of the Ducal Palace.

A. Calthrop tells of his recent visit to a rough little place,
_Teatro Minerva_, where three-foot burattini, looking life size, were
manipulated crudely to the intense satisfaction of the audience. He
mentions a well-managed maschere, Guillette and her lover, a clownish
dwarf, both speaking in the Venetian dialect, and after the play, the
marionette ballet. Another account tells of a pretty little puppet
theatre with boxes, galleries and parquet where dolls thirty-five
inches high play classic tragedy of four or five acts and comedy
and pantomime, including always a marvellous ballet. Here the most
admired puppet receives encores, even bouquets and very properly bows
in response. The stages of such little theatres are as complete as
the most luxurious real stages. The figures can sit on chairs, open
bureau drawers, carry objects, and they are carefully and beautifully
costumed. The dialogue and subjects are far removed from the triviality
of the crude castelli, where the pupazzi are manipulated on the fingers
of the showman. It is not unusual to witness _Nebuccodnoser_ performed
by fantoccini or Rossini’s operas.

In recent issues of _The Marionette_ one will find an enthusiastic
eulogy of a remarkable puppet theatre in Torino, the proprietors of
which were the Lupi brothers. They had inherited their profession from
their grandfather, a wandering showman of Ferrara, and from their
father, a man of lively talent who had established the present theatre.
The two brothers were named Luigi I and Luigi II, respectively;
only one is still living. Their show has been taken far and wide.
It travelled from Buenos Aires to London, from Chicago to Venice,
and has gained as great applause as did the puppets of the famous
Prandi brothers of Brescia in their day. The repertory embraces the
universe in time and space, extends from the flood to the siege of
Makalle; comprises mythology, natural history and city news; stretches
from China to California, from Cafrena to Greenland, from spaces in
the air to abysses of ocean, from the circles of Paradise to the
caverns of Hell. It includes the old commedia dell’arte, dramas from
all literatures, the ballets of Pratesi and Manzotti, the operas of
Meyerbeer and Verdi, all the military glories of the nation from
the battle of Goito to the occupation of Rome, all the congresses,
earthquakes, epidemics, floods, coronations, exhibitions, etc.

In Bologna flourished the show founded by Filippo Cuccoli, whose clever
invention of the character Sandrone became so popular. In the hands of
the son, Angelo Cuccoli, the puppets continued until 1905, delighting
the public with their sprightly gayety.

In Bologna, too, lived the marionettist whom Gordon Craig designates
simply but reverently as _Maestro_. His trade was that of a watchmaker,
but he was a master showman of burattini, and the shows in his
unpretentious castello are the true evidences of his devotion and deep
understanding of the art of the marionette.

There are, it is claimed, over four hundred edifizi for marionettes,
large and small, in Italy, to say nothing of the wandering booths
of which there are two or three times as many. The large mechanical
theatres compete with regular players.

The most modern maschere on the puppet stage has changed a little in
appearance, if not in spirit from the ancient masks. We are told of a
miniature Tartaglia, who twists his lips into a grimace; of a puppet,
Rogantino, who grinds his teeth; of Stenterello, who can put his finger
to his nose and scratch it; and of the newer mask, Carciofo, who has
a hollow metallic case for a body which enables him to eat macaroni,
drink and smoke. He can also undress himself! In North Italy, Gian Duja
is a puppet hero whose exploits delight the public almost as much as
those of the Paladins. He is of Piedmontese origin. He slays whomever
he encounters, modern politics being mixed up with his various and
mighty adventures.

       *       *       *       *       *

The marionettes are an absorbing interest for the people of Sicily.
There is something appealing about the audiences of the usual modest
theatrino. It is composed entirely of men and boys; many of them may
have eaten dry bread without cheese or onions to save the small sum
required for admission. The people of the country are very poor,
but this is their favorite diversion. So they sit crowded into a
dark little hall, spellbound for hours, transported into a world
of romance which their spirits crave. It may be filled with crude,
primitive puppets, but it is glorified by the vivid intensity of their
imaginations.

The Sicilian shows are not very unlike the Italian. One finds farces
with local maschere, grotesque comedy, passion-plays, tragedies and
occasional ballets. But of all plays those forever and most intensely
adored are the ones founded upon the episodes of Ariosto’s _Orlando
Furioso_. Night after night the successions of thrilling adventures
proceed. Year after year the same dramas are presented, regardless of
historic veracity or of the artistic unities; their spell remains the
same. Time cannot wither nor custom stale their infinite invariability.
The spectators recognize (nay, they anticipate) each puppet hero or
villain as he enters. They know every detail of every character’s
costume. They have the order of events by heart.

Mr. Henry Festing Jones, wandering delightfully in Sicily, visited a
show in Trapani where the burattini were presenting some version of the
Paladins of France. Before entering, his guide, Pasquale, informed him:
“She will die to-night.” He referred to Bradamante. Mr. Jones expressed
regret and asked for particulars, whereupon Pasquale elucidated: “She
will die of grief at the loss of her husband.” And so, indeed, she
did. It proved an affecting scene and was read with deep pathos. The
Empress Marfisa, searching for Bradamante in the woods, finds her
prostrate in a grotto. “Farewell, sister, I am dying.” Then she dies.
An angel flutters down and receives her soul from her lips.

More thrilling, of course, was the fighting of the red-eyed Ferrain,
performed the same night (red-eyed, incidentally, “because he was
always in a rage”). The first episode presented Ferrain and Angelica
whose husband he killed. “He cut off Duca d’Anela’s head, which rolled
about on the stage. Immediately there came three Turks. Ferrain stabbed
each as he entered, one, two, three, and their bodies encumbered the
ground as the curtain fell.

“It rose as soon as the bodies had been removed, Ferrain stamping about
alone. There came three more Turks. He stabbed them as they came, one,
two, three, and their bodies encumbered the ground. To them there came
three knights in armour; Ferrain fought them all three together for a
very considerable time and it was deafening. He killed them all. Their
bodies, etc., together with those of the three Turks. A bloody sight.”

These fantoccini of Trapani were large and crude, dressed in heavy
armor. An iron rod, extending up from the head, another attached to the
sword hand served for the moving and manipulating of them. Strings were
employed to raise the vizier, etc. The legs and arms were apt to swing
rather wildly in the heat of the fray, the combatants often sweeping
off their feet through the air. Then armor clashed against armor,
body against body, swords shivering against shield. Truly, an amazing
display!

However naïve or even childishly absurd some of these exaggerated
episodes may appear, viewed with a sympathetic eye they become
manifestations of unconscious romance in the spirit of the Sicilian
people, a curiously mingled heritage which is theirs. While the
Paladins and Saracens heroically stamp across the boards of the puppet
show, one may sit back and recall the many great races dwelling about
the Mediterranean, which have had their influence in Sicily from the
Phoenicians and Greeks, Normans and Saracens down. One remembers the
reign of the Emperor Frederick II, the strange blending of East and
West, the Christian cathedrals of Moslem design and decoration, a
time inspired by the songs of the troubadours wandering through the
blossoming land and spreading their spell of Carolingian chivalry and
romance.

The familiarity of the people with the long and intricate legends they
love so well is humorously portrayed by Mr. Henry Festing Jones. This
author was particularly fortunate in having formed a friendship with
a very busy _buffo_ of Palermo and with his entire family. Hence the
illuminating intimacy of his visits behind the scenes. In a letter
anticipating Mr. Jones’ visit, the buffo writes concerning his show
that the marionettes had just produced _Samson_ and that, “just now
in _The Story of the Paladine_, Orlando is throwing away his arms and
running about naked in the woods, mad for the love of Angelica, and
soon we shall have the burning of Bizerta and the destruction of the
Africans. This will finish in July and then we shall begin _The Story
of Guido Santo_.” This programme appears to have been carried out in
order, for Mr. Jones, arriving at the _teatrino_, found the performance
of _Guido Santo_ in full swing.

“The buffo,” he writes, “took me into his workshop to show me two
inflammable Turkish pavilions which he was making. Ettorina in her
madness was to fire them in a few days, one in the afternoon, the
other at the evening repetition, as a conclusion to the spectacle. I
inquired, ‘Who was Ettorina and why did she go mad?’ It appeared, at
great length, that she went mad for love of Ruggiero Persiano.

“Next morning,” continues the narrator, “I called on the buffo in his
workshop. The two inflammable Turkish pavilions were finished, ready
to be fired by Ettorina, and he was full of his devils.” This led to
another question: “I never heard of Argantino before. Did you say he
was the son of Malagigi?”

“That is right. He did not happen to be at Roncesvalles, so he was not
killed with Orlando and the other paladins. An angel came to him and
said, ‘Now the Turks will make much war against the Christians and,
since the Christians always want a magician, it is the will of Heaven
that you shall have the rod of Malagigi, who is no longer here, and
that Guido Santo shall have la Durlindana, the sword of Orlando.’ And
it was so, and Argantino thereafter appeared as a pilgrim.”

“I remember about Malagigi; he made all of Rinaldo’s armor.”

“Excuse me, he made some of his armor; but he did not make his helmet,
nor his sword Fusberta, nor his horse Baiardo. First you must know that
Rinaldo was one of the four brothers, sons of Amone, and their sister
was Bradamante.”

“I saw her die at Trapani. The Empress Marfisa came and found her dying
of grief in a grotto for loss of her husband, Ruggiero da Risa.”

“Precisely; she was Marfisa’s sister-in-law because she married
Marfisa’s brother, Ruggiero da Risa.”

“Then who was the cavaliere errante, Ruggiero Persiano?”

“He was the son of Marfisa and Guidon Selvaggio, and this Guidon
Selvaggio was the son of Rinaldo.”

“Had Bradamante no children?”

“Guido Sante is the son of Bradamante and Ruggiero da Risa.”

“I heard something about Guido Sante in Castellinaria the other day.
Let me see, what was it? Never mind. I hope he left children.”

“I told you last year that he never married.”

“Oh, yes, of course; what was I thinking of? One cannot remember
everything at once and pedigrees are always confusing at first. Then
it was for love of Bradamante’s nephew by marriage, Ruggiero Persiano,
that Ettorina has now gone mad?”

“Bravo. And Malagigi was Bradamante’s cousin.” The buffo then
continued to tell the story of Malagigi and Argantino. How Malagigi,
the sorcerer, albeit a Christian, began to have fears of not getting
into Heaven when he died, hence decided to repent and burn all his
magic books but one. After having accomplished this, he summoned his
confidential and private devil and commanded, “Convey me to some
peaceful shore where I may repent of my sins and die of grief in a
grotto.”

Here his friend objected that this made “consecutive fifths” with
his cousin Bradamante dying of grief in a grotto in Trapani. The
buffo admitted it would have been better if one of them had had the
originality to die in bed as a Christian, but that it was the will
of Heaven and could not be altered; besides the people who missed
the death of Bradamante would be pleased to see Malagigi die. After
repenting like S. Gerolamo in his grotto, Malagigi died there. A long
time after his son Argantino and his second cousin Guido Santo were
travelling in Asia and found the tomb. Guido knelt down, saying, “I
perceive here a sepulchre.”

Presently the tomb opened and Malagigi’s skeleton rattled up and spoke
to them. He gave his magic book to Argantino, the horse Sfrenato to
Guido and made them swear to preserve the faith. After his skeleton
retired to the tomb it closed by a miracle while a ball of fire ran
over the stage. “And all this,” said the buffo, “happened only last
Friday. Why did you not come in time to see it? It was very emotional.”

Later the buffo gave a private performance of this emotional scene and
then “to take the taste of the skeleton out of our mouths,” as Mr.
Jones puts it, he brought forth a _Ballo Fantastico_. It was done by
a heavy Turk who danced himself to pieces, each limb falling off and
being changed into a little devil, the head into a wizard and so on,
until there were sixteen different devils, wizards, serpents, etc.,
from the one original Turk. After this there came on a marvellous
rope-dancer, extraordinarily lifelike and amusing.

At Catania, at the _Teatro Sicilia_ of Gregorio Grasso, Mr. Jones
saw _The Passion_ performed by puppets during Holy Week. Every scene
was presented in detail, from the meeting of the Sanhedrin and the
conspiracy between Annas and Caiaphas to destroy the Nazarene to the
Resurrection and the Ascension. The figures were all newly costumed
for this occasion and their faces freshly painted, but there lingered
about the soldiers a flavor reminiscent of the Paladins. The scenes
were arranged quite in the manner of the paintings of old masters. The
table set for the Last Supper and the puppets seated around it strongly
suggested Leonardo da Vinci. The figure of Jesus, although not wholly
successful, was manipulated with great understanding. It moved but
little, and then with simple, slow gestures; it was allowed to speak
only the few words given to Christ in the Gospels. When it caused a
miracle, a great light appeared and there was music. The puppets here
also performed the _Nativita_ at Christmas. For the rest they had the
usual Sicilian repertory.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Spain, as in Italy, one may trace the beginnings of puppetry back
to the ecclesiastic ceremonies in churches and monasteries where
articulated figures presented scenes from Holy Writ and legends of
saints and martyrs,--all this notwithstanding repeated canonical
prohibitions. These little figures remained as late as the sixteenth
century in the churches of Seville. We are told by Charles Magnin that
at the commencement of the seventeenth century a synod was held at
Orhuela, a little Valencian bishopric which solemnly forbade “admission
into churches of small images of the Virgin and female saints, curled,
painted, covered with jewels and dressed in silks and resembling
courtesans.”

[Illustration: WOODEN SPANISH PUPPETS

Part of a large and elaborate set

[Courtesy of the Bradlay Studios, New York]]

The emperor, Charles V, had a great love for curious and ingenious
mechanical toys, and with such encouragement many mechanicians applied
themselves to the invention of automatic contrivances. Giovanni
Torriani is said to have won favor by constructing a very wonderful
clock. When Charles V abdicated his throne and retired to the monastery
of Cremona, the loyal Torriani followed him to his retreat, and many an
hour this famous mathematician spent distracting the saddened monarch
with marionette shows. He constructed marvellous _titeres_, as the
Spanish puppets are called, little armed men who blew horns, beat
drums, and fought; little horses and even miniature bull-fights.

At the marriage festival of Louis XIV and the Infanta Maria Teresa a
feature in the procession which welcomed Mazarin’s arrival in Spain was
a group of mammoth Moors and their wives, which moved ponderously along
by means of very intricate internal mechanisms.

There had previously been theatrical puppets in Spain, but these
mechanical improvements were soon adopted by the popular _titereros_,
showmen, and the marionettes sprung up in all public places, in cities,
villages, fairs, even at court.

The characters and repertories of the titeres were always strictly
national, although the exhibitors were frequently foreigners. Moors,
knights, giants, enchanters, conquerors of the Indies, saints, hermits,
bull-fighters, characters from the old and new testaments, all were
displayed in the puppet castello. The Spanish _Grazioso_, costumed
somewhat in the fashion of Pierrot, was never a very prominent
puppet; he later acquired the name of Don Christobal Pulichinela. A
well-known type of wandering show consisted of a blind man, led by a
boy, with a mule and wagon to carry the castello and equipment. The
blind man generally recited the text of the play, the boy operated the
puppets. Cervantes depicts a Spanish show for us where Don Quixote
and Sancho Panza saw performed, “The manner in which Signor Gayferos
accomplished the deliverance of his spouse Melisandra,” and he relates
with much spirit how Don Quixote’s chivalrous zeal interfered with the
performance of Master Peter’s puppets. Since that time, over three
hundred years, there has been little change in the titeres of Spain.

In 1877 in Madrid Molière’s _Monsieur Pourceaugnac_ was presented by
marionettes. In 1808 a French savant was present at a Valencian puppet
show when the _Death of Seneca_ was performed. The account tells us
that, “In the presence of the audience the celebrated philosopher ended
historically by opening his veins in a bath. The streams of blood that
flowed from his arms were simulated cleverly enough by the movement of
red ribbon. An unexpected miracle, less historic than the mode of his
death, wound up the drama. Amidst the noise of fireworks the pagan sage
was taken up into Heaven in a _glory_, pronouncing, as he ascended, the
confession of his faith in Jesus Christ to the perfect satisfaction of
the audience. Spain, a country of anomalies, is not to be disconcerted
by an anachronism.”

In Portugal the titeres were used so frequently to represent hermits
and monks in monkish garb that they come to be called _Bonifrates_.
They were quite similar to the Spanish marionettes.



_The Puppets in France_

     “Ainsi font font font
      Les petites marionettes
      Elles font font
      Trois petits tours et puis s’en vont.”


The French, scarcely less than the Italians, are devotees of the
diminutive Polichinelle. Moreover in France this devotion is
particularly noticeable in the upper classes. Perhaps it is this
interest of aristocratic and cultured circles or possibly the happy
genius and good taste of the people themselves which have endowed
the marionettes of France with such undeniable charm, a sort of chic
cleverness and at times a rare and finished beauty.

The ancient Gauls, before their conquest by the Romans, had great
Druid gods, Belen, Esus, Witolf, Murcia, represented by huge and
fearful idols which were operated by means of internal mechanism to
terrorize into submission the fierce, barbaric worshipers who beheld
their solemn gestures. After the conquest Greek and Roman practices
were intermingled with barbarian rites and, eventually, the doctrine
of Christianity was infused into the mass of strange beliefs and
superstitions. But even in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
after the new religion had become established in the land, its
priests continued to employ the moving images as they had done in the
churches of Italy. Similarly too, we find the sacred representations
and religious rites within the churches giving birth to the mysteries
and morality plays just outside which gradually spread to booths in
the market places and roamed the countryside under the guidance of
ambulant showmen. In the Provençal cribs, the _Crèches parlantes_ of
the southern cities at Christmas time, there are to-day many qualities
remaining from these old mysteries; the large decorated stages, the
technical devices, the transformations, the beautifully dressed,
articulated dolls, the music and recitations.

One characteristic of the great French _mitouries_ was the use,
frequently and openly, of human actors along with marionettes. Many
records of such performances have been preserved, among them a
description of one celebrated annually at Dieppe on the first day
of August by a company of clergy and laity supported by several
figures set in motion by means of strings and counterweights. In the
open space before the Church of St. James there was represented the
_Mystery of the Assumption_. Four hundred _personaggi_ participated
and the marvellous spectacle attracted throngs of strangers to the
city of Dieppe. Similar performances at Christmas, Easter, or at other
times were given in all the larger cities of France, in Rouen, Lyons,
Paris, Marseilles. The plays were of a religious character. Notable as
late as the seventeenth century were the spectacles produced by the
monks of the Order of Théatines with clever movable figures upon the
presepio they constructed before their convent door. These monks won
the favor of no less a personage than Jules Mazarin, who had them give
performances in Paris.

But, as these religious puppets ventured out from the jeweled twilight
of the cathedrals into the bright sunshine they were accosted by
flippant crews of wanderers from the South, Pulcinella, Arlecchino,
Dottore, Cassandrino, Columbine, and other protagonists of Italian
puppet drama, exploring in their castelli the highroads and villages
of a new country. The merry foreigners intermingled happily with
the native _fantoches_; they altered their names and their natures
with easy adaptability and upon the French puppet stage appeared in
sprightly guise _Polichinelle_, _Harlequin_, _Pierrot_.

French theatrical puppets must have become established in the sixteenth
century for we find them mentioned in a work entitled _Serées_
published 1584, by Guillaume Bouchet, juge et consul des marchands à
Poitier. Polichinelle first presented himself to the Parisian public
about 1630 and although not yet at the height of his glory he was
completely changed into a buffoon of Gascony. In 1649 the marionettes
entered into the first permanent stage erected in Paris for the _jeu
des marionettes_, by the side of the Porte de Nesle. The proprietors
of this theatre were two brothers (or father and son as some prefer
to consider them) from Bologna, Giovanni and Francesco Briocci, the
name changed by the French to Brioché. It is said that Brioché first
displayed his dolls to attract clients for himself as he originally
plied the trade of dentist. At any rate Francesco carved the dolls and
Giovanni improvised the dialogue in French interspersed with quaint
Italian or Latin sayings. So amusing were these burattini that they
became tremendously the rage. We find Brioché mentioned in the works of
the academician, Perrault, and in 1677 Nicolas Boileau speaks of him as
a well known figure in the Parisian streets, “Là non loin de la place
où Brioché préside, etc.”

There is a well known story concerning Cyrano de Bergerac and a
trained ape of Brioché, _Fagotin_ by name. A contemporary account of
the incident thus describes the animal: “He was as big as a little
man and a devil of a droll. His master had put on him an old Spanish
hat whose dilapidations were concealed by a plume: round his neck was
a frill à la Scaramouche; he wore a doublet with six movable skirts
trimmed with lace and tags,--a garment that gave him rather the look
of a lackey,--and a shoulder belt from which hung a pointless blade.”
One day Cyrano saw the monkey arrayed in this livery wandering and
grimacing about the puppet booth. But the poet, whose sensitiveness had
been the cause of many a duel, imagined that the poor animal was making
faces at his large nose. He grew excited and drew his sword. Thereupon
the monkey, for whom this was a well-rehearsed trick, drew forth his
tiny wooden weapon in imitation. Cyrano was infuriated beyond reason
and rushing at the creature he killed it with his sword. All Paris
heard of the event and an anonymous pamphlet was published concerning
it in 1655 called “Combat de Cyrano de Bergerac contre le singe de
Brioché.”

Another amusing tale is told of an Italian showman, supposed to have
been Brioché himself, who wandered into Switzerland where puppets
had seldom been seen. There this venturesome fellow narrowly escaped
being burned at the stake by the simple-minded inhabitants who swore
they had heard the little figures jabber, hence knew they were little
devils summoned by evil methods to do their master’s bidding. He, poor
man, was compelled to save his life by stripping the puppets naked and
displaying before his judges their small crude bodies of wood and rags
and paper.

However, in France the puppet show gained such popularity and fame
that in 1669 Brioché was summoned to the court to amuse the royal
Dauphin, son of Louis XIV. Thus Polichinelle makes his bow in the
palace as the records of the royal accounts attest: “A Brioché, joueur
de marionettes, pour le séjour qu’il a fait à Saint Germain en Laye
pendant les mois de septembre, octobre et novembre pour divertir les
Enfants de France, 1365 livres.” The following year a French showman,
Francesco Datelin, was similarly summoned to entertain the Dauphin
with his puppets, “à raison de 20 livres par jour.” The royal interest
in marionettes extended still farther for, some years later, Francesco
Brioché and his little wooden figures were protected by a special order
of the King himself to the Lieutenant General of Police. And indeed,
they probably needed such protection, for their popularity seems to
have stirred up enmity against them. Besides they were often meddlesome
and impertinent and deserved the wrath they incurred.

Under such favorable conditions companies of marionettes sprang up
all over France. They attracted the attention of many writers of the
day in whose works we may find them often and favorably mentioned,
Gacon, Scarron, La Bruyère, Lemierre, Arnaud. Most ambitious among the
immediate successors of the Briocci was the French showman, Bertrand,
with his audacious puppets who never hesitated to poke their wooden
noses into matters of gravest import. The revocation of the Edict of
Nantes furnished one well known occasion. The puppets took sides,
representing Catholics and Protestants upon their little stages.
Pantalone was in one faction, Harlequin in another and Polichinelle,
as Ferrigni describes him, “always something of an unbeliever, is
ready at all times to pour ridicule upon the hypocrisy of bigots and
the libertism of reformers.” The play drew crowds of all classes until
it was finally stopped by the authorities who had been notified of
it in this manner: “To M. de la Raynie, Councillor of the King in
Council. It is said this morning at the Palace that the marionettes
at the Fair of Saint Germain are representing the destruction of the
Huguenots and, as you will probably find this a serious matter for
the marionettes, I have deemed it right to give you the information
thereof so that you may make use of it according to your discretion.”
But despite an occasional rebuff, the marionettes became more and more
firmly established in the two Fairs of Saint Laurent and Saint Germain.
What clever shows, what ingenious and indefatigable showmen! Bienfait,
Gillot, Tiquet, Maurice, De Selles, Francesco Bodinière, the brothers
Ferron at _The Sign of the Giglio_, the _Théâtre des Pygmées_ of La
Grille, the show in the Rue Marais du Temple, _Il Gallo_ and many
others.

Now indeed the emboldened fantoches began to wage a most amazing battle
royal, their opponents being no other than the managers, actors and
singers of the contemporary stage. The three great theatres alone at
this time had the privilege of representing musical opera, tragedy,
or commedie nobili. The puppets were restricted to mere farces of
one scene for not more than two characters, only one of whom was
allowed to speak and that “par le sifflet, de la pratique,” a little
contrivance which the showman put into his mouth when reciting to
produce the shrill squeak characteristic of Polichinelle from time
immemorial. But these showmen circumvented such limitations with many
devices,--pantomimes with musical interludes and figures with printed
cards hung up to explain the action, even living children combined with
puppet play.

The large marionettes of La Grille, manipulated by wires sliding on
rails and held upright by weights and counterweights, were claimed by
their owner to be a new invention, despite the fact that similar dolls
were not unusual in Italy. At any rate they were a novelty in France
and to them King Louis XIV accorded special privileges. Nevertheless
before long they had over-stepped them and trespassed upon the rights
of the actors of the opera. The latter complained to the King. He
issued fresh interdictions. The marionettes subsided: only to break
forth again. In 1697 the Italian actors in the _Hôtel de Bourgogne_
incurred disfavor at court and were temporarily put out of their
theatre. Bertrand immediately installed his puppets in triumph upon
their vacated stage which he, in turn, was eventually enjoined to quit
by a subsequent order of the King. Thus the struggle continued.

In 1720 further privileges were obtained by the marionettes, six or
seven at a time being allowed to sing, dance or recite upon the stage.
Immediately the famous showman, Francisque, engaged three prominent
poets to write new plays for his burattini, Fuzilier, Lesage, and
d’Orneval. They set about creating a quite new form of dramatic art,
a master stroke which has persisted ever since, the well known _opéra
comique_. The first one, _L’ombre du cocher poète_, was given in a
booth in the Foire Saint Germain and was so enthusiastically received
that the jealous antagonism of directors and singers of the opera
was aroused more violently than ever, but the opéra comique remained
popular. Piron composed for the burattini an opéra bouffe, La Place,
Dolet, Carolet, all invented puppet parodies on the plays and actors
of the day. Favert composed his first drama for the pupazzi and Valois
d’Orville inaugurated the _Revues de fin d’année_, a criticism of the
year’s dramatic production by the mocking marionettes.

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are quite rightly called the
golden age of marionettes. The puppets were executed and managed with
utmost skill, the mise-en-scène imitated the magnificence of the larger
theatres. The greater the impertinences the greater the popularity
of the puppets,--what wonder that the Comédie Française complained
of them as a “concurrence déloyale.” But with the entrance into the
puppet shows of the spectacular, the decline of the French marionettes
began. It is true that despite his crude and rather broad repartee so
popular in the two fairs, his jokes of doubtful taste relished upon
the boulevards, Polichinelle continued to be the vogue among the upper
classes. He was called to perform in the salon of the Duc de Bourbon,
of the Duc de Bourgogne, of the Duchesse de Berry, and of the Duc de
Guise at Meudon. At one time, indeed, the Duchesse de Maine had a
puppet stage built at her chateau of Sceaux and plays and epigrams
written for it by her friend and secretary, the academician Malezieu,
which finally involved an altercation between Polichinelle and the
Academy. At the same Castle of Sceaux in 1746 the Comte d’Eu had a
company of marionettes brought in and he operated and spoke for them
himself. Voltaire, present at this occasion, forgot his quarrel with
the burattini for having poked fun at his _Mérope_ and _Oreste_ and
took a hand himself at the manipulating. Eventually he found himself
composing for them and inviting them into his own castle, Cirey, where
he may have learned many things about the traditional Italian drama
from studying the personaggi of the puppet stage.

At this time, indeed, Fourre, Beaupré, Audinot, Nicolet and Servandoni
were making lasting names for themselves as directors of marionette
theatres but it gradually came to pass that, as the audiences grew
cold, witty jests were replaced by spectacular surprises such as the
mechanical triumphs achieved by the puppets of Bienfait. We read of
M. Pierre’s show. “Here are to be seen in every detail, mountains,
castles, marine views; also figures that perfectly imitate all natural
movements without being visibly acted upon by any string, storm,
rain, thunder, vessels perishing, soldiers swimming.” We hear of
Audinot’s exhibition of life-sized _bamboches_ imitating with striking
resemblance celebrities of the day, displaying the follies and vices of
the eighteenth century courts. Children were seen acting with puppets
and there were innumerable military pieces such as, _The Bombardment of
Antwerp_, or _The Taking of Charleroi_. Poor Polichinelle, indeed! We
will scarcely be surprised to find him struggling along as best he can
and finally suffering a last indignity by losing his little wooden head
for the edification of the Parisian mob on the very day, at the very
hour, when the unfortunate monarch Louis XVI was guillotined.

Everywhere puppets have originated among the common people: they are
primarily an expression of popular taste. Nevertheless, this rude show
of the masses has frequently aroused the curiosity of artists and some
of them have found in the very naïveté of the dolls unexpected artistic
possibilities. The delightful potentialities have been developed into
an exquisite and unique art genre in many countries, particularly in
France.

We have seen the kings and courts entranced by the burattini of
Brioché and his followers. Lesage, Piron and other dramatists were
engaged in writing plays for the fantoches; even the great Voltaire
entertained his distinguished guests at Cirey with his own puppet
shows. Rousseau was interested in them. Gounod wrote “The Funeral
March of a Marionette.” Charles Magnin, learned member of the Académie
Française, devoted himself to the task of chronicling the long history
of puppetry. Charles Nodier, persistent visitor of the Parisian shows,
is called by some Polichinelle’s laureate for the many sparkling pages
in his works that are devoted to the marionette.

We shall not be so greatly surprised, therefore, to learn that George
Sand had her own puppet theatre at her estate, Nohant, where for thirty
years she herself arranged the plays and dressed the dolls while her
son, Maurice, sculptured them and acted as director. It was called,
_Théâtre des amis_ and the first performance was given in 1847. This
was a very crude affair got up by Maurice Sand and Eugene Lambert
(painter of cats) for themselves and a circle of intimate friends. The
stage itself was merely a chair with its back turned to the audience, a
cardboard frame arranged in front of it with a curtain to be rolled up
and down. The operator knelt upon the seat of the chair, on his hands
were placed the puppets, which consisted merely of dresses hung upon
sticks of wood for the head, scarcely carved at all. Being tremendously
successful, this performance was followed by others. Thus the theatre
grew.

[Illustration: GEORGE SAND’S PUPPET THEATRE AT NOHANT

[From Ernest Maindron’s _Marionettes et Guignols_]]

George Sand developed very decided theories about her little dolls.
She writes that she prefers the sort which may be manipulated on three
fingers to those moved by means of wires. Her feeling was that when
she thrust her hands into the empty skirts of the inanimate puppet
it became alive with her soul in its body, the operator and puppet
completely one. She disapproved of realistic puppets. The faces of her
dolls were carved with great skill but purposely left crude, painted
in oil without varnish to get the strongest effect, with real hair and
beards and special attention given to getting light into the eyes.
There were, eventually, over one hundred dolls including such as
Pierrot, Guignol, Gendarme, Isabelle della Spade, Capitaine, also well
known types and personages of the day. Very popular and subsequently
famous was the _Green Monster_ at Nohant. It appears that in one of the
early plays the cast called for a green monster. Upon the maker of the
marionettes devolved the task of supplying one. Madame Sand, nothing
daunted, discovered an old felt slipper. By using the opening as the
wide jaws of the dragon and lining it with red to represent the inside
of the mouth, a very effective, long snout was presented which, with
a hand slipped inside, could be opened and closed most fearfully and
threateningly. It was a highly successful _green monster_. Whenever it
appeared there was much applause, and nobody ever seemed to notice or
to care that it had been manufactured out of _blue_ felt.

The repertoire of the Théâtre des amis was varied, sometimes fantastic
whimsies, sometimes travesties on daily events; sometimes the managers
grew ambitious and presented spectacular scenes with ballets; the
literary side of the production was always emphasized. These shows,
the best of their sort, continued through most troublesome times of
political upheaval and George Sand has written some touching paragraphs
upon the fact that hearts sorely grieved by these national trials,
could find distraction and a moment’s respite with the marionettes.

The puppets, too, had their vicissitudes. At one time, Victor Borie,
who was assisting, in attempting to represent a fire, burnt down
the whole stage. It was built up anew with more puppets and better
equipment. Madame Sand dressed the new dolls as she had the old. More
helpers had to be called in, all talented persons who entered into
the work with enthusiasm. The audience always contained celebrated
people, representatives of literature, art, music and statesmanship.
Once when the puppets presented a parody upon _La Dame aux Camellias_
(presumably not for young ladies) Dumas, fils, came to see and enjoy
the production. In 1880 the puppets moved from Nohant to Passy to the
home of Maurice Sand, where a large theatre had been prepared for them.
Here there were over four hundred elaborate dolls. But in 1889 Maurice
Sand died and the Théâtre des amis disappeared. A book written about it
was published in 1890.

[Illustration: PUPPETS OF GEORGE SAND’S THEATRE AT NOHANT

[From Ernest Maindron’s _Marionettes et Guignols_]]

Equally illustrious and possibly more exquisite, more precious,
were the puppets of the _Erotikon theatron de la rue de la Santé_,
established in 1862. Here it is said puppetry was raised to an ideal
level. Here, an enthusiastic press of the day proclaimed, here was
the proof of how highly developed a naïve and simple art may become
in the hands of rare spiritual and æsthetic personalities. Another
journal, _Le Boulevard_, exclaimed, “Again a new theatre! An intimate
theatre, Erotikon theatron, that is to say _Theatre of Amorous
Marionettes_. Reassure yourselves, everything that transpires is most
conventional; the blows of the cudgel are always protectors of
morality and if a mother would not see fit to bring her daughter, on
the other hand, painters and literateurs of talent take delight in it.”

It was indeed an exceptional experiment, a gathering of artists,
sculptors, musicians, actors, authors; Lemercier de Neuville, the
guiding spirit, assisted in his efforts by Carjat and Gustave Doré,
and also by Amedée Rolland, Jean Dubois, Henri Monnier, Théodore de
Banville, Bizet, Poulet Malasses, Champfleury, Duranty, Henri Dalage
and others, each contributing something toward the perfection of the
whole. M. Lemercier de Neuville was in the beginning architect, mason,
painter, machinist, carpenter, decorator, hairdresser and tailor,
actor, singer, dancer and imitator. Alfred Delvau has written an
entertaining history of this bizarre little theatre. The project seems
to have been suggested informally at the home of M. Amedée Rolland, by
a group of distinguished men of letters who had been lunching together,
among them De Neuville, who proceeded to transform the idea thus
lightly suggested into a concrete reality.

The auditorium seated only twenty people; its walls were painted with
mural decorations by artists of the group, as was the proscenium arch
of the stage. The stage itself was only a trifle over two yards wide,
but it was well equipped for the presentation of quite elaborate
faeries. For the most part, however, there were merely the pupazzi upon
the stage, which M. de Neuville worked himself upon his fingers. Their
faces were modelled with unsurpassed refinement and animation, their
creator having lavished his heart and talent in the making of them.
His _Pierrot Guitariste_ was, according to Maindron, the most charming
of all puppets, in gesture and bearing a masterpiece of mechanical and
plastic art. Others have called it the most highly perfected puppet
ever created. Another remarkable doll was the violoncellist who could
enter, bow in one hand, instrument in the other, seat himself, tune up
and play. There was a Spanish dancer particularly graceful and alluring
as well as a wonderful ballet, worked on one horizontal string, which
glided in and out and back and forth. Sarah Bernhardt was represented
among these fascinating pupazzi and Jules Simon, Coquelin, cadet, and
other celebrities familiar in Paris. As de Neuville lived among the
individuals he was representing what wonder that his mimicry was close
to perfection?

This altogether rare little theatre unfortunately endured for only
a year and produced in all but six or seven delightful if slightly
shocking pieces, although more had been written for it. Perhaps the
dissimilarity of talents comprising it was too great, but at least its
inspired cynicisms, amusing audacities and exquisite spectacles have
won the lasting acclamations of the French press, of royalty and of the
greatest geniuses of the day.

[Illustration:

  SIVORI
  PIERROT GUITARISTE
  COQUELIN CADET

Puppets of Lemercier de Neuville, Erotikon theatron de la rue de la
Santé

[Reproduced from Ernest Maindron’s _Marionettes et Guignols_]]

In the shadow play, as well as in the play of pupazzi, French artists
have attained great successes. The first _Ombres Chinoises_, so
called, of importance started simply enough about 1770 when Dominique
Seraphin, a young man of twenty-three, established his little show in
Versailles. In the beginning for the amusement of children, little
comical dialogues such as _The Broken Bridge_, or _The Imaginary
Invalid_ (from Molière), were presented by silhouette figures with
articulated limbs. In 1774 after a few years of unusual success,
Seraphin moved to Paris where, under royal protection, his little
shadows became very well established. Although they had been ensconced
in the Palais Royal by favor of the king yet they managed through the
cleverness of Seraphin to sustain themselves in popular favor after the
overthrow of royalty. Indeed they were said to be the first to avail
themselves of advertisements in the form of posted placards.

The advertisement was rather charming:

      “Venez, garçon, venez fillette,
      Voir Momus à la silhouette.
      Qui, chez Seraphin, venez voir
      La belle humeur en habit noir.
      Tandis que ma salle est bien sombre
      Et que mon acteur n’est que l’ombre
      Puisse, Messieurs, votre gaîté
      Devenir la réalité.”

Long after the death of Seraphin, until 1870 in fact, the show
continued in the hands of his descendants, presenting pieces especially
written for it, with music composed to accompany the shadows.

It was the art critic, Paul Eudel, who first published an illustrated
volume of such fairy pieces and melodramas composed by his grandfather
in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Half a century later
Lemercier de Neuville, who was interested in _pupazzi noir_ as well as
in other puppets, published another collection of little plays with
fifty illustrations and with explanations of designs and methods of
producing the shadows. De Neuville had enlarged the scope but had not
changed the principles of the art. He presented animals who opened
their jaws, processions and caricatures of celebrities such as Sarah
Bernhardt, Zola, and others.

[Illustration: TABLEAU

From a shadow play of _The Prodigal Son_ at the Chat Noir

[Designed by Henri Rivière]]

Then a little later came the wonderful shadows, now designated as
_Ombres Françaises_, and shown at the Chat Noir, famous cabaret of
Montmartre where gathered literary and artistic Bohemia. “The Chat Noir
has an art of its own,” writes Anatole France, “that is at once mystic
and impious, ironical, sad, simple and profound, but never reverential.
It is epic and mocking in the hands of the precise Caran d’Ache. It has
a bland and melancholy viciousness in Willette, who is, as it were,
the Fra Angelico of the cabarets. It is symbolic and naturalistic with
the very capable Henri Rivière. The forty scenes of the ”Tentation“
of St. Anthony amaze me. They exhibit lovely coloring, daring fancy;
impressive beauty and forcible meaning. I put them far above the
imps depicted by the austere Callot.” These comedies, spectacles,
military epics, oratorios, mysteries, Greek scenes, burlesques and
pantomimes, were indeed conceived with a certain large poetic glamour.
It was Caran d’Ache who made the great artistic contribution of giving
up articulation of individual figures, for the most part, to move great
numbers of them along. He invented perspective in shadows, using masses
of figures in different planes and producing a sense of solidarity
and immensity. His masterpiece, _Epopée_, the evocation of the Grand
Army of Napoleon, presented with epic grandeur company after company
of cuirassiers in long lines, the profiles diminishing in height as
the figures receded from the eyes. It conveyed, as one critic avers,
the idea of great space and of a vast army of men marching in serried
ranks “to victory or to death.” A few single figures were allowed to
stand out distinctly like the Little Corporal on horseback, there was
little speech only music and an occasional command. The effect of this
military silhouette was most impressive.

Next came Henri Rivière, who added the variety of color to the shadows,
and furthermore, by the use of two magic lanterns, created dissolving
views so that the background might be altered at will. The subjects
of his elaborate pantomimes were such as _The Wandering Jew_, _The
Prodigal Son_, and _The Temptation of St. Anthony_. Of the latter,
Rehm has given us an admiring appreciation. “We saw the sun setting
into the sea, the forests trembling in the morning breeze; we saw
deserts stretching out into the infinite, the oceans surging, great
cities flaming up in the evening with artificial lights and the moon
silvering the ripples of the rivers upon which barges were silently
and slowly gliding along. He (Rivière) employs everything from the
picturesque style of watercolor spread on with a brush to the imitation
of Japanese color prints, pen sketch and poster style, Gothic or
Pre-Raphaelite characteristics and naturalistic impressionism. In _The
Sphinx_ where the conquerors of all centuries, from the Pharaohs to
Napoleon, file past this monument of eternity; in his _March of the
Stars_ where shepherds and their flocks, beggars, slaves and fishermen,
and the Wise Men from the East make their pilgrimage to the Virgin
with the Divine Child; in the _Enfant Prodigue_ where the son of the
patriarch sets out for Egypt accompanied by his herds, his caravan, his
riders,--to return, a beggar,--everywhere we see this art, dreamlike
and philosophic, legendary, fantastic, sublime, creating ecstatic
illusions.” Of _The Sphinx_, a collaboration of Rivière and Caran
d’Ache, Jules Lemaître writes, “Here we have a true epic poem, simple
yet grandiose.”

Thus the magic touch of genius has transformed naïve shadows into
something altogether wonderful while crude pupazzi, animated with
thumb and fingers of the artist, have grown gloriously sophisticated.
The marionettes that are moved by wire or string also had their
renaissance in the sympathetic, stimulating atmosphere of Paris. Their
technical development J. M. Petite has called a veritable triumph of
ingeniousness, of prestidigitation, and of mechanics. The first of the
_Operator-Magicians_ was Thomas Holden, who came to Paris around 1875.
His puppets performed the most perilously difficult feats. Following in
his footsteps came two brothers who rivalled him in skill; Alfred and
Charles de Saint-Genois, who took the names of Dickson and John Hewelt
respectively. The puppets of Dickson are said to have operated as if
by magic. They were mute and appeared on the stage singly, but the
perfect elasticity and the winged grace of their gestures seemed truly
supernatural. They were displayed at the celebrated theatre of Robert
Houdin.

John Hewelt gave productions of quite a different nature. He
constructed not only a marionette stage for his actors, but an
orchestra of puppets with an animated little leader, and diminutive
spectators in the front boxes, a little lady with an opera glass,
another with a fan, perfectly gowned in the latest fashions, applauding
or chatting after the approved manner. Upon the stage appeared
startlingly lifelike figures impersonating Yvette Guilbert and other
celebrated actresses and actors of the day. Hewelt stood concealed on
a platform overlooking and manipulated his puppets by three controls,
with his feet as well as his hands. But despite his unsurpassed
inventiveness, his production did not quite satisfy the spirit. One
marvelled at the difficulties overcome more than at the beauty of the
performance.

As ingenious mechanically as the shows of John Hewelt and Dickson, but
conceived and carried out in a far more inspired and artistic manner,
were the puppets of the Galérie Vivienne. _Le Petit Théâtre de M. Henri
Signoret_ (1888–1892) has been immortalized in the writings of Anatole
France, most rare and delicate critic. It was an undertaking seriously
entered upon by some of the artistic spirits in Paris who desired to
witness intelligent and sympathetic performances of the classic drama
of all lands; Greek plays, the mysteries of the Middle Ages, Italian
and Spanish comedy of the sixteenth century. Apparently the stage of
the day did not satisfy this desire. After encountering insurmountable
difficulties in assembling an adequate cast of good actors, it was
decided to use marionettes. Forty friends, all artists, combined to
help the director, who was the fastidious literateur, M. Signoret. The
result was a brilliant success.

The theatre was like a little jewel case in its delicate detail;
it seated only two hundred and fifty people. The puppets were most
carefully constructed. The same skeleton framework was used for them
all but individual heads, hands and chests were put on each frame
which was finally costumed according to design. Both the modelling of
the faces and the costuming were the inspired creations of artists.
The marionettes were moved on rails in grooves or slides, the arms
and neck being wired and manipulated by pedals from underneath. The
audience was seated low so that the mechanism was invisible. The
public who patronized this marionette theatre, indeed, consisted
of such interesting people as Jules Lemaître, Émile Faguet, Anatole
France, Hugues Leroux, and they were unanimous in their approval.
The repertoire included classic drama of every epoch: _The Birds_ by
Aristophanes, _Abraham_ by the Abbess Hrotswitha, _Gardien Vigilant_
by Cervantes, _The Tempest_ by Shakespeare, _Tobie_ and _The Legend of
St. Cecelia_ by M. Boucher, _L’Amour dans les Enfers_ by Amédée Pigeon
written expressly for the marionettes of M. Signoret.

But let the fluent pen of the illustrious and enthusiastic witness
picture them to you. “I have already made the avowal,” declares Anatole
France, “I love the marionettes and those of M. Signoret please me
particularly. These marionettes resemble the Egyptian hieroglyphics,
that is to say, something mysterious and pure and when they represent a
drama of Shakespeare or Aristophanes I think I see the thoughts of the
poet being unrolled in sacred characters upon the walls of the temple.”
Of the representation of _The Tempest_ he writes: “M. Signoret’s
marionettes have just acted Shakespeare’s _Tempest_. It is hardly an
hour since the curtain of the little theatre fell on the harmonious
group of Ferdinand and Miranda. I am still under the charm; as Prospero
says, ‘I do yet taste some subtleties of the Isle.’ What a delightful
play! And how true it is that exquisite things are doubly exquisite
when they are unaffected....

“Look at the marionettes of _The Tempest_. The hand that carved them
imprinted on them the features of the ideal, whether it be tragic
or comic. M. Belloc, a pupil of Mercie, has modelled for the little
theatre heads which are either powerfully grotesque or of a charming
purity. His Miranda has the subtle grace of a figure of the early
Italian Renaissance and the virginal fragrance of that fortunate
fifteenth century which made beauty bloom a second time in the world.
His Ariel in his gauze tunic spangled with silver reminds one of a
miniature Tanagra figure, doubtless because aerial elegance of form is
a particular attribute of Hellenic art in its decline.

“These two pretty puppets spoke with the clear voices of Mesdemoiselles
Paule Verne and Cecile Dorelle. As for the more masculine parts in
the drama, Prospero, Caliban, and Stephano, poets such as MM. Maurice
Bouchor, Raoul Ponchan, Amédée Pigeon, Felix Rabbé spoke for them. Not
to mention Coquelin, cadet, who did not disdain to repeat the prologue
as well as the amusing part of Trinculo, the clown.

“The decorations also had their poetry. M. Lucien Doucet represented
Prospero’s cave with that cunning grace which is one of the
characteristics of his talent, etc.”

Again: “In the meantime I have seen the marionettes of the Rue Vivienne
twice and I have enjoyed them very much. I am infinitely thankful to
them for having replaced living actors.

“They are divine, these dolls of M. Signoret and worthy of giving form
to the dreams of the poet whose mind Plato says, was ‘the sanctuary of
the Graces.’

“Thanks to them we have Aristophanes in miniature. When the curtain has
risen on an aerial landscape and we have watched the two semicircles
of birds taking their places on either side of the sacrifice, we
have formed some idea of the theatre of Bacchus. What a delightful
representation! One of the two leaders of the birds turning to the
spectators utters these words: ‘Feeble men, like unto the leaf, vain
creatures fashioned out of clay and wanting wings, unhappy mortals
condemned to an ephemeral and fugitive life, shadows, baseless
dream....’ It is the first time, I think that marionettes have spoken
with this melancholy gravity.”

All this is very interesting and very serious, no doubt, but what
of the piping, impertinent voice of Polichinelle? And of this merry
Guignol who makes the children laugh? It may seem odd to insert these
slapstick buffoons into the midst of aristocratic literary puppets,
but after all Guignol was growing and thriving contemporaneously with
them and the hardy little fellow has outlived the most of them. Less
elaborate and socially less select than those others installed in their
artistic theatres, these al fresco performances in the Champs Élysées,
in the gardens of the Tuileries and Luxembourg follow the traditional
custom of their kind. The _castellet_ of Guignol is little different
from Punch’s booth, the dolls are most often simple creatures worked
on the fingers, squeaking extemporary dialogue such as one might hear
from the pupazzi of Italy or the figures of the Chinese peripatetic
showman swathed in his linen bag.

Polichinelle has been through difficult times. The French Revolution
found him obscure but a patriot, rejoicing at the new order of things.
Later he was discovered amusing Emperor Napoleon the Third at the
Tuileries Palace. In 1854 the French Zouaves and Grenadiers in the
Crimea took Polichennello along with them and he loyally followed up to
the very battlefield. But oftenest he was to be seen, through the long
lapse of years, humiliated, humbled,--dancing on a board at the twitch
of a horizontal string tied to the knee of some little Savoyard boy who
beat a tambourine or blew upon a pipe and sang a pathetic song as he
journeyed on to Paris. And there, too, on sidewalks and, when the wind
blew cold, in the shelter of arches puppets danced on the board and the
little boy gathered his pennies to send back home to his mother.

Thus Polichinelle has pursued his incredible career until we find him
to-day with a devoted wife La Mère Gigogne and many well known if
less popular fellows, such as Pierrot, and Harlequin, to say nothing
of his many delightful and successful offspring. There is Lafleur
the Polichinelle of Picardy, favorite of Amiens, a handsome peasant
fellow always pleasant spoken even when beating up the policeman.
Jacques is a little buffoon who entertains the public of Lille in his
modest basement theatre. There in _Joseph sold by his Brothers_, or
_Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves_ he performs the principal parts (“la
comédie pour un sou”). Most prominent of the progeny of Polichinelle is
Guignol. Indeed he somewhat over-shadows his sire.

Although he has established himself so thoroughly in Paris, Guignol
first came from Lyons. His creator was the modest but expert
marionettist, Laurent Mourguet. It is he who is reported to have
said to the friends weeping at his deathbed, “I shall never make
you cry as much as I have made you laugh.” Guignol originated in a
picturesque but humble cellar show. Although he has now moved into
new and finer quarters, he remains a modest workman simply dressed,
perpetually harried by his landlord and always with insufficient funds
to pay his rent. He has a wife, long suffering _Madelon_, and a wild
and wicked son _Guillaume_ and along with them one finds _Gnaffron_,
_Gringellet_, _Bobine_, _Bambochnette_, _le Gendarme_, _le Médecin_,
_le Propriétaire_, _le Juge_, all these and many others.

In the Gardens of the Luxembourg, on the Champs Élysées or elsewhere
in Paris, one may come upon these little actors merrily performing
on small stages erected for them, and with an audience of spellbound
children and nursemaids sitting before the castellet.

Most celebrated of these Parisian theatres is that of the _Vrai
Guignol_ in the Champs Élysées. M. Anatole, the founder of it, was
the first who undertook to expand the repertoire of Guignol and to
introduce pieces of adventure whose very names delight one: _The
Brigands of the Black Forest_, _The Enchanted Village_, _Mother
Michel and her Cat_, _The Temptation of St. Anthony_, and many more.
Unfortunately for M. Anatole there was no copyright law for puppet
plays and when a rival showman wanted to give a new play he merely
went to see Anatole’s performance and then reproduced it. But Anatole
himself deserves his reputation. He was an artist with prodigious
ingenuity: he wrote his own pieces, he could give twenty distinct
voices in one show as well as manipulate the dolls. He himself carved
the puppets’ heads while his wife made the costumes.

Inspired by his success a young literateur, Charles Duranty, attempted
in 1862 to _uplift_ Guignol. He had an elegant little castellet erected
and he spent months preparing the plays, giving them style and some
sort of philosophical turn. His figures were created by artists.
The prologue, it is said, was composed by a poet. The result was--a
failure. His show appealed to too limited an audience; it was too
artistic for the nursemaids and soldiers. The Tuileries were not for
philosophy. The scenes soon were left to Guignol and the Commissaire
who are so dear and delightful to their Parisian public. And again
recently, a version of Rostand’s _Chantecler_ was given by the puppets.
There were to be seen chickens, peacocks, dogs, even a magnificent
rooster, but Guignol and Guillaume were wanting. Surprised at first,
before long the children began to clamor for their heroes,--and they
had to be satisfied.

On the steamship La France, now sailing back and forth across the
ocean, one may find a little theatre for Guignol in the children’s
room. It is operated every day by Paul Boinet who is considered one of
the best Guignol experts in France and was specially engaged by the
French Line for that reason. He operates plays, we are told, in which
there are sometimes as many as fifteen actors and to each puppet’s
voice he manages to give a different intonation. The children’s room of
the steamer holds about fifty people and is filled to capacity at each
performance not only with children but with grown-up people.

Meanwhile literary puppets continue to afford pleasure in the artistic
salons or in semi-public productions throughout Paris. It would be vain
to attempt to mention them all. They are of every type. The artists
of France have the _habit_ of the marionette, they express themselves
spontaneously and gladly in this métier and hence we find them giving
more or less informal presentations of poetic or satiric drama here
and there, from year to year. M. Émile Renie had _le théâtre des
marionettes de la Rue des Martyrs_; Cayot established a _théâtre des
pupazzi_ in his photographic studio. At the Paris Exposition of 1900
there flourished a marionette theatre with a troupe of 4,000 dolls of
whom the leading actors were marvels of mechanical perfection. Quite
recently a show was installed at the Musée Grevin with decorations by
Jules Cheret. It was not a great financial success and was obliged
to close its doors. In 1896 in the Salons of _la Plume_, Lugné Poë
(Director of L’Œuvre) produced a marionette play of Alfred Jarry and
Claude Terrasse entitled _Ubu Roi_. The former also made the drawings
for two programmes, the latter was the leader of his orchestra.

Jules Lemaître in his _Impressions de Théâtre_ portrays with great
interest several puppet productions witnessed by him. One was the chic
Revue in four tableaux given in 1889 at the Salon de Helder by the well
known authoress, Gyp. It was called _Tout à l’égout_, a very clever
and original parody of the season past. There Gyp had represented the
type for which she has grown famous, Lou-lou the pert little French
miss as seen on the Champs Élysées. There also promenaded the literary
and political celebrities satirized in the inimitable style of the
keen-eyed Gyp. The parts were read by amateurs, effectively but with no
attempt at eloquence.

[Illustration: GUIGNOL AND GNAFRON

Presented by Pierre Rousset, French showman

[From Ernest Maindron’s _Marionettes et Guignols_]]

Very different in spirit was the puppet drama, _Noël ou le Mystère de
la Nativité_, by the poet Maurice Bouchor who had been active also in
the Erotikon theatron and that of M. Signoret. It was written in four
tableaux, in verse. The music for this delicate little mystery was
composed by Paul Vidal, the dolls were designed by MM. Henri Lombard
and J. Belloc, scenery by Félix Bouchor, brother of the poet, Henri
Lerolle and Marcelle Rieder. Lemaître described the performance as a
masterpiece of grace and beauty, particularly the last tableau of
the Adoration. “The music of the lullaby, rarely exquisite, soft and
celestial, etc. The Virgin puppet, almost immobile, merely inclining
slightly forward toward the Infant while singing, had the candor of a
lily and appeared as beautiful in the light in which she was bathed
as the purest and most naïve Virgin of the primitive painters.”
Another play by the same poet was given in 1894. It was in verse, five
tableaux. M. Lemaître considered it even superior as a drama to _Noël_
though possibly a bit strong for the puppets in its philosophy. It was
the last performance, unfortunately, of the “delicious marionettes of
Maurice Bouchor.”

The latest word I have heard of French puppets comes from the war zone.
Mr. Henry S. West has written in a recent number of the _Literary
Digest_ of French troops in the forests of Champenoux and Parroy who
had taken an oath “never to retreat from Lorraine.” Hence they have
made themselves a comfortable park with flower beds, gravel paths,
rustic bench, all in their _Parc des Braves_. Most diverting, however,
are their elaborately constructed scenes of puppet warfare. The most
famous of these is _The Seven Chasseurs of Domèvre_. It appears that
seven French soldiers at Domèvre held a bridge against a small horde
of Germans. It was a brave deed which resounded through Lorraine. Some
clever lad wrote several stanzas about it and tacked them up on trees.
This gave the idea to a dramatic critic who was off active duty for
the time. He and his friends worked together and in a week completed
the little show and placed it where it could be seen by every soldier
passing on his way to battle.

A grassy knoll was chosen. An arched bridge of two feet was erected
under which real water was made to flow. On one side of the bridge were
piled tiny logs and trees behind which were the seven Chasseurs eight
inches high dressed in the old red and blue French uniform, little caps
on their heads, wooden guns in their hands. Twenty Germans in real
field-grey were attempting to charge. Some were dead, others falling,
three running away, all with scared expressions carved upon their
little wooden faces. The verses were nailed up near by:

     “There were seven Chasseurs of Domèvre
      Who were so exceedingly brave
      When the Germans attacked
      They got thoroughly whacked,
      ‘Voila!’ said the men of Domèvre.”



_Puppet Shows of Germany and of Other Continental Countries_


Perhaps it was the luxuriant forests of Germany offering abundant
material and opportunity which encouraged the native aptitude, at any
rate the inhabitants of the land have at all times been noted for their
skill in wood carving. Moreover they appear to take a certain delight
in mechanical devices. From very early times these interests were
applied to the making of mechanical toys and dramatic puppets.

In the dark ages we find the people of the country carving a grotesque
sort of wooden doll, called _Kobold_ or _Tattermann_ which they set up
in the chimney and worshipped as a heathen household deity. Later these
little figures came to be worked by wires. As far back as the twelfth
century and according to Charles Magnin even in the tenth century, the
word _Tocha_ or _Docha_ was used to signify a kind of puppet. One of
the earliest Minnesingers mentions _Tokkenspil_ in his poem and another
speaks of the _Jongleuren_ attracting their audiences by displaying
little dolls which they pulled out at any time from under their
mantles.

The subject of the early Tokkenspiel seems to have been gathered
chiefly from the legends of the _Edda_, and from the _Hildebrandslied_
and the _Niebelungenlied_. Praetorius mentions: “Foolish jugglers’
tents where old Hildebrand and such _Possen_ are played with _Dokken_,
called puppet comedies.” Later the mystery play appeared and the
automatic _Kruppenspiel_, religious drama here as elsewhere opening
up a path for the profane. These plays were founded upon such themes
as, _The Fall of Adam and Eve_, _Goliath and David_, _Judith and
Holofernes_, _King Herod_ or _The Siege of Jerusalem_.

Of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we have little positive
data. Romantic subjects appear to have been used for the puppets, also
history and fable such as _The Four Sons of Aymon_, _Genevieve of
Brabante_, _The Lady of Roussillon_, and even _Joan of Arc_ which was
quoted in another piece performed in 1430.

Invariably the comic element appears in the puppet shows of all
nations. In Germany and Austria the buffoon has always been a part of
even the most tragic dramas, lending variety and relief by his good
natured, if somewhat obvious jests. The first names by which he was
known in Germany may have been Meister Eulenspiegel or Hemmerlein,
later it became Hanswurst and Kasperle. The name Kasperle, so Rabe
claims, came through Austria and Professor Pischel goes still further
in his assertion that the prototype for Kasperle was brought into the
land over two thousand years ago from India. Later, of course, Italian
and French players introduced Pulcinella and Arlecchino with their
merry company.

In Hamburg puppets have been popular from earliest times. It was in
1472 that a showman announced _The Public Beheading of the Virgin
Dorothea_. This theme remained a favorite in the puppet plays of that
city for centuries, while the long suffering martyr continued to be
ever more and more elaborately but neatly beheaded, in full view of
the audience. In the eighteenth century an announcement proclaimed:
“Exceptional marionette players with large figures and, accompanied by
lovely singing, the execution of Dorothea.” The play of _The Prodigal
Son_ was another great favorite. It gradually lost its religious
character and became a rather gruesome affair producing with ingenious
mechanical appliances metamorphoses of which the country has always
been particularly fond. For instance, Reibehand, a tailor who set
up a booth in the horse market of Hamburg, advertised in 1752: “The
Arch-prodigal chastened by the four elements, with Harlequin a joyous
companion of the great criminal.” This _extra-moral_ piece, given in
great style, displays the prodigal about to partake of fruit which
turns into skulls in his hands, then water becomes transformed into
fire, rocks rend apart disclosing a corpse hanging from a gallows. As
it swings in the wind, the limbs fall off and then collect again, on
the ground, and arise to pursue the prodigal, and so on with similarly
pleasing surprises.

In 1688 another showman, Elten, advertised _Adam and Eve_ and following
it _Jackpudding in a Box_ and later another announces: _Elijah’s
Translation into Heaven_, or _The Stoning of Naboth_, followed by a
farce, _The Schoolmaster Murdered by Jackpudding_ or _The Baffled Bacon
Thieves_.

There had been in Hamburg, however, French marionette troupes which
gave very artistic puppet operas based upon mythological subjects,
such as _Medea_, including in one of its casts a puppet who smoked!
These plays were produced in combination with acts by living actors,
jugglers, acrobats, and trick horses.

As far back as the sixteenth century scepticism and sorcery had become
the order of the day with the Germans who have naturally a tendency
toward philosophical reflections, as well as a leaning toward the
occult and supernatural. It was then that _Faust_, embodying both of
these tendencies, first appeared upon the puppet stage, with most
significant consequences for German literature.

This puppet play might be sufficiently interesting in itself, but the
fact that it became the inspiration for one of the world’s greatest
dramas may lend an added justification for pausing a moment to trace
its curious history. Early in the sixteenth century it is said that the
Tokkenspieler presented, at the Fairs, _The Prodigious and Lamentable
History of Doctor Faustus_. In 1587 the famous _Spiesische Faust
Buch_ was published in Frankfurt and recorded the adventures of a
semi-historical charlatan who had wandered through Germany in the early
sixteenth century. He was famous not only for his skill in medicine but
in necromancy and other similar arts. He may have been identical with
Georgius Sabellicus who called himself Faustus Junior, implying that
there had been a still earlier Faust. He may possibly have been the
Bishop Faustinus of Diez, seduced from the right path by Simon Magus,
or the printer of Mainz, Johann Faust, who was declared to have been a
sorcerer. Whoever he was, the disreputable conjurer tricked fate into
granting him an immortal name. In 1588 two students of Tübingen and a
publisher were punished for putting forth a puppet play based upon this
Spies book. There are other versions of the Faust puppet show, that
played at Strassburg, that of Augsburg, of Ulm and of Cologne, each
varying slightly from the others. They were all first produced about
the time of Marlowe’s famous drama on the same theme or only a trifle
later.

The story of the Faust play has a tremendous appeal; it is a picture
of man’s vain desires and vain regrets. We find the scholar Faust
alone in his study, meditating over the wasted years of research and
the wisdom of this world which is so limited at best. He turns to the
black arts and summons up an evil spirit to serve him. In one version
of the puppet play Faust calls up numerous devils and decides to select
as his own particular servant the swiftest. Thereupon the evil spirits
describe their speed. One claims to be “as swift as the shaft of
pestilence”; the next is “as swift as the wings of the wind”; another
“as a ray of light”; the fourth “as the thought of man”; the fifth “as
the vengeance of the Avenger.” But the last, who is Mephistopheles,
is as swift “as the passage from the first sin to the second.” Faust
replies: “That is swift indeed. Thou art the devil for me.” Then he
signs the pact with his blood. A raven flies in and carries away the
message. Mephistopheles is bound for twenty-four years to provide Faust
with all the pleasures of this world and also _to answer truthfully
every question asked him_. In return Faust pledges his soul to the
devil at the expiration of the time.

Mephistopheles carries Faust to the court of the Count of Parma where
he entertains the count and countess with magical shows, calling up
Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
Throughout the play Faust is always taken seriously; Kasperle supplies
the ludicrous element. His buffoonery is at times really amusing. As
an assistant of Faust’s servant Wagner, he meddles with magic, on his
own responsibility. Having picked up a few words of incantation, he
uses them according to his own pleasure; but Kasperle is wiser than his
master for he very shrewdly refuses to sign away his soul. However, he
has discovered that by pronouncing the potent syllables “Perlippe” he
can summon up demons and by saying “Perlappe” he can make them vanish.
Thereupon he amuses himself (and the audience) by reciting “Perlippe,
perlappe, perlippe, perlappe,” so often and in such quick succession
that the poor demons get quite out of breath and very irritable.

In the last act we find Faust back after twelve years at his study in
Wittenburg. He has had his fill of pleasures and is sick at heart and
repentant. He asks Mephistopheles whether there would be a chance of
a sinner like himself coming to God. Mephistopheles, compelled by his
oath to answer truthfully, vanishes with a cry of terror which is an
admission of the possibility. Faust, with new hope in his heart, kneels
before the image of the Virgin in supplication. But Mephistopheles
reappears with a vision of Helen of Troy to tempt Faust, who resists
but finally succumbs. Forgetting the Virgin he rushes out with Helen
in his arms. Immediately he returns and reproaches Mephistopheles for
deceiving him, because the vision has turned into a serpent in his
embrace. “What else did you expect from the devil?” asks Mephistopheles.

Faust realizes he is lost. Moreover his time is up, for the devil
having served him both night and day considers that he has done
twenty-four years work in twelve. Wandering the streets in despair
Faust comes upon Kasperle, now the nightwatchman, and tries naïvely
to cheat the devil by offering Kasperle his own coat. But the shrewd
fellow is too keen to be thus taken to eternal torture in another’s
place. Ten o’clock strikes, then eleven. “Go,” says Faust to Kasperle,
“go and see not the dreadful end to which I hasten.” Kasperle goes out.
Twelve o’clock strikes and Faust hears the terrible sentence pronounced
upon him: “Accusatus est, judicatus est, condamnatus est.” The fiends
appear amidst flames and smoke and drag him away to his horrible fate.
Kasperle returning and finding him gone, exclaims: “Poof! What a smell
of brimstone!”

Even the briefest review of the plot cannot fail to move one somewhat
for there is in this crude puppet show a deep and general human
appeal. An earnest and anxious man to whom life has not been over-kind
stakes all in his eagerness and craving for truth. Despite the naïve
superstitions and the childish humor scattered throughout the play the
tragic seeking of a human soul, the struggle between Mephistopheles
and Faust demands our sympathy. In this respect there is more dramatic
intensity and more human interest to the puppet show than one finds in
either Marlowe’s play or even Goethe’s. In the former Faust is pictured
with a desire to _possess_ and we know that he is lost from the
beginning; in Goethe’s drama Faust is consumed with a desire to _live_
and we know throughout that he will be saved by his very struggles. In
the puppet play Faust is finally condemned, but until the very end, by
Mephistopheles’ own admission, he might have been saved.

The play was tremendously popular all over Germany. In 1705 the
puppets got themselves into trouble with the clergy by a performance
brought from Vienna to Berlin where it was announced, _Vita, Geste
e Descesa all’ Inferno del dottore Giovanni Faust_. Because of the
storm of approval aroused by the impious passages in the drama the
performance was finally prohibited in Berlin. But elsewhere productions
of _Faustus_ flourished. In 1746 in Hamburg an amusing announcement
proceeded to allay the fears of timid folk in the following manner:
“History of the Arch-sorcerer Doctor Johannes Fauste. This tragedy
is presented by us, _not_ so fearfully as it has been previously by
others, but so that everyone can behold it with pleasure.”

Half a century later Schutz and Dreher, very successful showmen of
Berlin with a splendidly equipped puppet stage, presented among
numerous old pieces of knightly romance, mythology and biblical
legend, the tragedy of _Faust_. It was acclaimed by high and low.
Then Geisselbrecht, a rival showman of Vienna, strove to outdo this
production and gave an elaborate Faust play with little figures whom
he made lift and cast down their eyes, even cough and spit very
naturally,--a feat which Kasperle was nothing loath to perform over
and over again as we may imagine. It was this very Geisselbrecht who
served as a model for _Pole Poppenspäler_, the delightful little novel
which Theodor Storm has written around the figure of a wandering puppet
showman. Geisselbrecht toured with his puppets and gave performances
all over the country, in Frankfurt among other places. The crowning
significance of his _Faust_ production was the fact that young Goethe,
who was very fond of puppet shows, is supposed to have seen this play
and to have drawn from it the first inspiration for his masterpiece,
_Faust_.

In his childhood Goethe had always manifested great interest in toy
theatres and puppets. At twenty years of age he wrote for his own
amusement, _The Festival of Plundersweilen_, a satire on his audience
of friends and family to be performed by marionettes. Later he
perfected it and produced it on a puppet stage specially erected for
the purpose at Weimar. There also he composed another puppet play to
celebrate the marriage festivities of Princess Amelia. Both of these
dramas are included in his works. In _Wilhelm Meister_ and in the
_Urmeister_ we find many paragraphs devoted to the toy theatre of his
childhood. But more important than this was the contribution of the
little _Puppen_ toward his immortal _Faust_. They not only suggested
the theme but offered models for the treatment of it which Germany’s
great genius was not too proud to follow.[4]

The unprecedented prominence of the Puppenspiel during the seventeenth
century was brought about by the long theological strife between the
clergy and the actors of the legitimate stage. The preachings and
denunciations of Martin Luther had put an end to dramatic church
ceremonies of which there seem to have been many. It went so far that
the ministers refused to administer the sacraments to actors. The
latter protested and appealed, but the people were restrained through
their fear of the Church. Consequently the profession fell into such
disrepute that the number of regular theatres rapidly decreased and
troupes were disbanded, while the humiliated and neglected players were
forced to join puppet companies and read for the marionettes to earn a
living.

It was a great opportunity for the marionettes. After the Thirty Years’
War showmen came into Germany from England, France, Holland, Italy,
even from Spain. To add to the attraction of their productions they
combined with the plays dancers, jugglers, trained bears and similar
offerings. In 1657 in Frankfurt Italian showmen established the first
permanent theatre for puppets. In 1667 a similar theatre was erected
for marionettes in the Juden Markt of Vienna where it remained for
forty years. In Leopoldstadt in the Neu Markt _Pulzinellaspieler_
gave performances in the evenings except Fridays and Saturdays, after
_angelus domini_. Even the Emperor Joseph II is said to have visited
this _Kaspertheater_ in Leopoldstadt.

A curious dramatic medley began to be presented. “At the end of the
seventeenth century,” writes Flögel, “the _Hauptundstaatsactionen_
usurped the place of the real drama.” These were melodramatic plays
with music and pantomime, requiring a large cast composed partly of
mechanical dolls, partly of actors. It was only timidly that the actors
thus ventured to return to the stage in the rôles of virtuous people
(to be sure of the sympathy of the audience). The famous showmen Beck
and Reibehand were noted for these performances, the subjects of which
were martyrdoms of saints, the slaughter in the ancient Roman circuses
and the gory battles of the Middle Ages (in all of which, needless to
say, the puppets performed the parts of the slaughtered and martyred,
as when the ever popular _Santa Dorotea_ was decapitated and applauded
so vigorously that the showman obligingly stepped out, put the head
back on the body and repeated the execution). In 1666 in Lüneberg,
Michael Daniel Treu gave the following _Demonstratioactionum_: “I: the
History of the city of Jerusalem with all incidents and how the city
fell is given naturally with marvellous inventions openly presented in
the theatre; II: of King Lear of England, a matter wherein disobedience
of children against the parent is punished, the obedience rewarded;
III: of Don Baston of Mongrado, strife between love and honor, etc.,
etc.” Then there followed in the list of plays _Alexander de Medici_,
_Sigismundo, tyrannical prince of Poland_, _the Court of Sicily_,
_Titus Andronicus_, _Tarquino_, _Edward of England_ and, of course,
_Doctor Johanni Fausto, Teutsche Comedi_ (to distinguish it from
Marlowe’s tragedy).

When one considers that these plays with all the necessary business
were long and complicated, one may imagine the difficulty of the
art of puppet showmen. Everything connected with the presentation,
the settings, directions and the plays themselves had to be learned
by heart. Young boys generally attached themselves to showmen as
apprentices and observed and studied for years before they were even
allowed to speak parts. These had to be acquired by listening, for
although the owner of the puppets generally had a copy of the play it
was so precious a possession that he guarded it most carefully.

The amazing repertory of the Puppenspiel during the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries ranged from myth and history to any event of the
day of intrinsic interest. In 1688 we find the marionette manager,
Weltheim, giving translations of Molière, also the old _Adam and Eve_
followed by a buffoonery called _Jack Pudding in Punch’s Shop_ and the
strange assortment of _Asphalides, King of Arabia_, _The Lapidation of
Naboth_, _The Death of Wallenstein_. Weltheim used students of Jena and
Leipsig to read for his puppets.

When in 1780 Charles XII of Sweden fell dead in the trenches of
Friedrichschall, slain (so popular tradition averred) by an enchanted
bullet, his death was immediately dramatized and produced on the puppet
stage. In 1731 the disgrace of Menschikoff was made into a drama
performed in German by the English puppets of Titus Maas, privileged
comedian of the court of Baden Durlach,--“With permission, etc., etc.,
there will be performed on an entirely new theatre and with good
instrumental music, a Hauptundstaatsaction recently composed and worthy
to be seen, which has for title--The Extraordinary vicissitudes of good
and bad fortune of Alexis Danielowitz, Prince Menzikoff, great favorite
of the Czar of Moscow, Peter I of glorious memory, to-day a real
Belisarius, precipitated from the height of his greatness into the most
profound abyss of misfortune; the whole with Jackpudding, a pieman, a
pastry-cook’s boy and amusing Siberian poachers.” Although Titus Maas
had permission to perform in Berlin his show was quickly stopped for
political reasons.

The undisputed predominance of puppets upon the German stage gradually
subsided in the eighteenth century as Gottsched and Lessing revived
the art of poetry and drama. The actors assumed their own place in
the theatre; the Puppen returned to a more modest sphere. But they
continued to be popular. After Schutz und Dreher in Berlin came Adolf
Glasheimer’s humorous satires of which the hero was _Don Carlos_, with
Kasperle to amuse the children, the whole arrangement conducted in
connection with a _Conditerei_. In 1851 a revival of marionettes in
cultural circles occurred and people streamed to see the clever show in
Kellner’s Hotel at Christmas time. Richter, Freudenberg and Linde were
three other favorite showmen of Berlin.

There had been, indeed, some very exclusive and artistic marionettes
at the castle of Eisenstadt in Hungary. Here Prince Nicholas Joseph
von Esterhazy had his own very elegant stage with dolls exquisitely
perfect and magnificently dressed. He even assembled an orchestra for
them, the leader of which was no other than Joseph Haydn himself. This
great musician did not scorn composing symphonies for the puppets, _The
Toy Symphonies_ and _The Children’s Fair_, both charmingly playful
compositions. He also wrote five operas for these distinguished
marionettes, _Filemon and Baucis_, _Genievre_, _Didone_, _Vendetta_,
_The Witches’ Sabbath_. But it was not his noble patron alone who
influenced Haydn to compose for the puppets. Previously he had become
interested and had written an opera called _The Lame Devil_ for the
burattini of an Italian puppet player, Bernardoni, in Vienna.

The marionettes have likewise attracted genius in other fields. The
Romanticists, Arnim and Brentano, as well as the poets Kerner, Uhland
and Mörike had interested themselves in shadow plays rather than puppet
shows. But Heinrich Kleist wrote a very sympathetic and profound little
essay called _Concerning the Marionette Theatre_. He seeks to discover
the mysterious charm in puppet gesture and he suggests that the great
dramatists must have watched the puppet plays with unusual interest and
that artists of the dance might well learn the art of pantomime from
the little figures.

In Cologne there has been developed a very unique, local puppet show
called the _Kölner Hanneschen Theater_. The originator was Christoph
Winter who invented the characters, established the standing theatre
and remained for fifty years its director. Upon his small stage
there appeared not only Kasperle, but a whole row of funny folk
types, mirroring in their little scenes the bubbling love of living
characteristic of the people they represent. The ingenious showman
had a saying that whatever type of man one had to deal with, give him
the sort of sausage he most enjoys. In accordance with this idea he
provided three shows, one for children, which was amusing but harmless,
one for the usual adult audience, which was more sophisticated, and
one especially suited to the rough Sunday crowd of laboring men who
thronged into the show, which, needless to say, was as vulgar as
possible. Hanneschen, Mariezebill, Neighbor Tünnes and his wife,
the village tailor and a host of others were always introduced and
furthermore any person in the vicinity who had made himself unpopular
was sure to be caricatured. Neither rank nor age was a protection.
Another unvarying principle was the happy ending; even _Romeo and
Juliet_ was altered to comply with the rule.

It is difficult now, perhaps, to think of Munich as it was just before
the war, a joyous center of literature and art. It was, however, in
this happy environment that the puppets rose to the very summit of
their honors and successes. In Munich one may find two charming little
buildings which were erected and maintained solely for the marionettes.
The oldest of these was built for the old showman, fondly called Papa
Schmidt by his devoted public. His career was a long one, terminating
with gratifying appreciation which many another worthy marionettist
has unfortunately failed to receive. It was in 1858 that the actor,
Herr Schmidt, took over a complete little puppet outfit of the retired
General von Heydeck who had been entertaining King Louis and his court
with satirical little puppet parodies. Installing these dolls in a
_Holzbaracke_ he opened a permanent theatre there for which Graf Pocci,
his constant advisor and friend, wrote the first play based upon the
tale of _Prinz Rosenrot und Prinzessin Edelweiss_. Graf Pocci continued
all his life to write little fairy plays for these puppets, over fifty
in all. The subjects were well known fairy tales, Undine, Rapunzel,
Schneewitschen, Der Rattenfänger von Hamlin, Dornröschen, and all the
others. The children loved them and the merry little Kasperle whose
humor, if a bit clumsy, was altogether clean and wholesome. Encouraged
by his initial success, Schmidt went to great expense and pains to
enlarge and elaborate his cast. His daughter, an assiduous helper, was
kept busy dressing the dolls of which there were eventually over a
thousand.

After long years of success, Papa Schmidt experienced some difficulties
due to moving his puppet show and decided to retire. To the honor of
Munich be it said, however, that he was not allowed to do so. The city
magistrates who, as youngsters, had adored the antics of Kasperle,
voted unanimously to build a municipal puppet theatre and to rent it to
old Papa Schmidt for his marionette shows. This was done and in a small
comfortable building situated in one of the parks, with an adequate
auditorium and stage, with space for the seven operators who guide the
wires and manage the complicated mechanism for _transformations and
surprises_, with trained readers to speak the parts behind the scenes,
with choruses and music whenever they were required, the ninety-four
year old showman worked with his dolls until the end of his life,
furnishing happy hours to countless children.

[Illustration: MARIONETTE THEATRE OF MUNICH ARTISTS

  _Upper_: Scene from Maurice Maeterlinck’s _The Death of Tintagiles_
  _Lower_: Scene from Arthur Schnitzler’s _The Gallant Cassian_
]

The celebrated _Marionette Theatre of Munich Artists_, although
inspired by the example of Papa Schmidt, was founded upon an altogether
different basis and with other aims and ideals. Paul Brann, an author
of local fame, was the instigator of it as well as its director. This
small but elaborate modern theatre was built by Paul Ludwig Troost,
and decorated elegantly but with careful taste, by other artists
interested in the enterprise. The stage itself is equipped with every
possible device useful to any modern theatre. There is a revolving
stage such as that used by Reinhardt, and a complicated electrical
apparatus which can produce the most exquisite lighting effects. The
expensive furniture is often a product of the _Königlichen Porcellan
Manufactur_. The mechanism for operating the figures is very perfect,
the dolls themselves as well as the costumes, scenery, curtains,
programs, etc., are all designed and executed by well known artists
such as Joseph Wackerle and Taschner, Jacob Bradle, Wilhelm Schulz,
Julius Dietz and many others. Indeed the scenic effects produced at
this little marionette theatre have given it the reputation of a model
in modern stagecraft.

The triumphs of these Munich puppets, however, do not depend altogether
on pictorial successes. Upon the miniature stage there are presented
dramas of the best modern poets as well as the older classic plays and
the usual Kasperle comedies. Puppets must remain primitive or they lose
their own peculiar charm, but the primitive quality may be ennobled.
Brann does not in the least detract from the innate simplicity which
the marionettes possess. Indeed, he considers this not a limitation but
a distinguishing trait. However, he has added poetic art to the old
craft and has expanded the sphere of the puppets. He has proven their
poetic possibilities and justified their claim to the consideration
of cultured audiences. The repertory has been specially selected to
suit his particular dolls, somewhat pantomimic, on the whole, with a
great deal of music. Generally the plays deal with incidents unrelated
to everyday life and these marionettes convey their audiences with
unbelievable magic to arcadian lands of dream and wonder. Graf Pocci’s
little Kasperle pieces were not scorned by these artistic marionettes
nor the old Faustspiel, Don Juan and the Prodigal Son, nor the
folk-plays of Hans Sachs. To these were added a rich variety, including
many forgotten operettas of Gluck, Adam, Offenbach, Mozart and others,
Schnitzler’s _Der Brave Cassian_, Maeterlinck’s _Death of Tintagiles_,
and _Sister Beatrice_, and dramas of Hoffmansthal. The popularity of
these puppet productions in Munich, and their success all over the
world, where they have been taken travelling into foreign lands, attest
the worth and value of the interesting experiment. For art, music and
literature a new medium has been discovered, or rather an old one
re-adapted to suit the requirements of the modern poetic drama.

Of recent years the shadow play has not been altogether overlooked in
Munich. In a 1909 issue of the _Hyperion_, Franz Blei, æsthete and
critic, describes two exquisite shadow plays performed in the salon of
Victor Mannheimer. The figures and scenery were the work of a young
architect, Höne; actors read the text, and Dr. Mannheimer directed.
“One thing,” writes Blei, “I believe was clear to all present: that
both of the plays thus presented, unhampered by perspiring, laboring
and painted living actors, appealed more strongly to the inner ear than
they could possibly have done in any other theatre. The author was
allowed to express himself, rather than the actor. The stage setting
and the outlines of the shadows, very delicately cut in accordance
with the essential traits of the characters, presented no more than
a delightful resting place for the eye and the imagination of the
beholder was unrestricted in supplying the features while lingering
on the extreme simplicity of the picture.” Elsewhere too in Germany
one finds appreciation of the possibilities of the shadow play, in its
simplest form as well as in its sophisticated uses.

Exotic and rare are the dainty marionette figures fashioned by Richard
Teschner in Vienna. From a performance of Javanese shadows witnessed
in Munich the artist received the first suggestion for these delicate,
precious creations. The thin, flexible limbs give us the feeling of
the Eastern Wayangs. To this Teschner has gradually added a bit of the
German folk spirit, quite noticeable in his society dramas where the
little dolls resemble comfortable, bourgoisie Germans and only their
fleshlessness reminds us of the Javanese origin. In other plays the
Eastern flavor is purposely maintained. There is, for instance, the
strange magician with the Assyrian headdress, or the enchantress in
gorgeous stiff robes with menacing eyebrows, altogether oriental, and
strange and beautiful. The grotesque and curiously misshapen animal
forms conceived by Teschner remind us of deep-sea monsters similar to
Hauptmann’s Nickelmann and of early Christian conceptions of Infernal
frightfulness to be found in the Witches’ Kitchen of Faustus, or in
the Temptations of St. Anthony. The smoothly finished, carefully
fashioned naked figures have a rather brazen daintiness, permissible
on the puppet stage alone. They offend perhaps at first sight by their
deliberate daring but they possess a certain precise charm, a rather
winning, rather quaint appeal. These precious little marionettes have
been exhibited in private circles only.

[Illustration: MARIONETTES OF RICHARD TESCHNER, VIENNA

[Reproduced from _Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration_]]

In Baden-Baden just before the war a quite remarkable and thriving
puppet show was to be found, belonging to Ivo Pühony. These clever
dolls were carved out of wood and were most adroitly manipulated,
marvellously so, we are told. The repertory of the puppets was very
extensive and ambitious. At the outbreak of the war Ivo Pühony
packed his dolls away in cases and left them in Baden-Baden. In
1914 Ernest Ehlert, actor and manager, and Fräulein E. Weissmann
took the neglected little creatures to Berlin where they performed
with tremendous success. They produced, among other things, _Doctor
Sassafras_, a puppet play by Pocci and no less ambitious a drama than
Goethe’s _Faust_. The latter received a real ovation as a serious,
artistic interpretation of the masterpiece; many witnesses declared the
production more effective than when given upon the larger stage. The
_Frankfürter Zeitung_ contained this description of the performance:
“The drama had a much purer and stronger emotional effect in this
symbolic, miniature presentation with its modest and reliable lighting
effects than is possible in the hard reality of the larger stage. The
circle of the heavenly army shimmering in magic red reminding one of
the pious fantasies of Beato Angelico; the voices of the archangels
sounding from above; the gleam of white light when the voice of the
Lord was heard; the dark chasm leading to the depths of the earth, out
of which the wonderful little figure of Mephistopheles appeared
and then, blinded by the radiance of Divinity, turned aside and
covered himself with his bat’s wing: all this provided a pure artistic
satisfaction which called forth enthusiastic applause.”

Less serious in nature but very remarkable were the famous _Two Dancing
Chinamen_ in the troupe of puppet actors. These agile little dolls,
like figures from a Russian ballet, danced to the music of a phonograph
with perfectly captivating antics. One witness has written: “It is hard
to imagine how perfectly the slightly mechanical tone of the phonograph
combines with the slightly mechanical motion of the figures to give an
expression of what the fashionable philosopher of our day calls the
_élan vital_.” The last heard of Pühony’s puppets was a prospective
trip they were to take to the front for entertaining the soldiers and
the grave problem of whether it would be wise to allow the erstwhile
favorite marionette _Caruso_ to go along, considering that, despite his
power to amuse, he was after all a representative of the enemy.

Less excellent, crude puppet shows have gone wandering from village
to village through Germany and Austria in recent years, but they
have become more and more rare. These shows perform generally in the
little town halls, with the villagers, high and low, crowding in to
see performances of _Faust_ (ever welcome) or Hamlet (with a happy
ending), or, favorite of all, the life and death of the famous brigand
_Schinder Hannes_. The love of the Germans for puppet entertainment is
also constantly expressed in the little private puppet shows and shadow
plays given by or for the children in their homes, usually gotten up
for Christmas or birthday festivities.

       *       *       *       *       *

In most Continental countries there may still be found traces and
survivals of the old style puppet show and occasionally experiments
with marionettes in the new manner. It is said that in Bohemia the
marionette plays are the only form of drama now given in the native
tongue. A very famous showman of Bohemia was Kopecki who travelled
about with his show from town to town. A prominent Bohemian minister
now residing in New York relates that he remembers these puppets and
the terror which clutched his boyish heart whenever the little wooden
devil appeared, opening and closing his horrible mouth and emitting the
most inhuman and frightful noises. He remembers the comic characters
of the shows, a rude peasant and his wife. The peasant always wielded
a stick and there were many threatened beatings, but they never took
place. In 1885 the names of Kopecki and of another showman, Winizki,
were made doubly prominent by the publication of a book of their
old puppet plays taken down in shorthand by two Viennese authors
from performances they witnessed and written finally in wonderful
Hoch-Deutsch.

[Illustration: BOHEMIAN PUPPETS

  _Upper_: Devil, Priest, Peasant
  _Lower_: Soldier, King and Queen

[Property of the Reverend Vincent Pisek, New York]]

In Hungary the gypsies have always been the puppeteers, travelling
about with their rough little figures and accompaniment of music. From
Moldavia comes a report of gypsy players at Christmas time in the
olden days, one man crying out through the streets, “To the puppets,
to the puppets!” followed by two other gypsies with a little theatre
of marionettes. In these shows at the time of the Turkish wars in 1829
miniature Turks and Cossacks were made to belabor each other.

In Russia religious puppet plays were very common. There used to be
in Moscow a regular mystery performed by marionettes on the Sunday
before Christmas. It represented three Christian martyrs thrown into
a fiery furnace and was performed in front of the great altar of the
Moscow cathedral. Crude popular shows also wandered about and in 1812
Mr. Daniel Clarke discovered in Tartary, among the wandering Cossacks
of the Don, common little dolls made to dance on a board by means of a
string tied to the knees of a boy. These had probably been introduced
and become established back in the remote ages in this out-of-the-way
location.

Mr. Alexander Zelenko, formerly a professor at the University of
Moscow, has written some interesting facts concerning modern Russian
puppets. He says: “There still are travelling comedians who wander
all over the country with their little outfits of dolls and folding
screens. In most cases a so-called hand organ is used, and very often
a monkey or a bird picks out the tickets of happiness. The performer
uses a contrivance in his mouth to alter his voice for the different
impersonations. The principal hero is ‘Petrouchka’ or ‘Diminutive
Peter,’ the same as German ‘Kasperle’ and English ‘Punch.’ The hero
makes much mischief in a horse trade with a gypsy or with a German
doctor, a policeman or a recruiting officer. For such mischief the
devil takes his body into hell.

“Even now, as in the olden times, satires on social endeavor are very
often introduced, but only the common street-class enjoy them. From
time to time the educators take part in this movement and try to raise
the standard and to introduce the puppets into the school festivals.

“Some of these plays came into Russia from the West through Austria
and Poland,--old Christmas beliefs connected with religious or
nationalistic traditions. These Christmas Crib plays are mostly seen
in Southern and Western Russia and Poland. Some of the Russian artists
have been interested in the production and have given very fine
performances. I myself introduced many of this kind of marionettes into
the activities of the Children’s Clubs in Moscow. Very interesting
articles about the ethnographic and folklore value of these plays have
been written in Russian scientific magazines.”

In Poland, until the middle of the eighteenth century, there were
frequent puppet performances given in churches and monasteries around
Christmas time to amuse the people between mass and vespers. In the
play of _Szopka_ (stable) M. Magnin tells us there were little dolls
of wood or cardboard representing Mary, Jesus, Joseph, the angels,
the shepherds, the three Magi on their knees with offerings of gold,
incense and myrrh, not forgetting the ox and the ass and Saint John’s
lamb. There generally followed after this the massacre of the innocents
in the midst of which Herod’s own son perished by mistake. The wicked
prince, in his despair, called upon Death who soon appeared in the
form of a skeleton and cut off Herod’s head with a scythe. Then a
black devil with a red tongue, pointed horns and a long tail, ascended
and picked up the King’s body on his pitchfork and bore it off to
perdition. To this peculiar performance were often added indecorous
variations, despite the holy place in which it was performed. After
being finally expelled from the interior of the churches, it continued
to be popular for over a century, delighting both the rural and
the urban population of Poland from Christmas to Shrove Tuesday.
To this day performances of the Crib, or _Szopka_, are given by
ambulant puppet shows. The text is sung and spoken: the figures,
moving in pairs, represent characters of the old mysteries, also folk
types, heroes, spirits, etc. The stage for these shows appears to
be prescribed by tradition, of a certain structure, with intricate
national architectural details. It is not surprising to learn that
Stanislaw Wyspianski, Poland’s great dramatic and poetic genius, was
strongly interested in and influenced by this national type of puppet
stage which seems to have been the original inspiration for his later
strongly patriotic productions.

In Denmark, the puppets have pushed their way into literature. We find
that Johan Ludvig Heiberg, a prominent Danish dramatist, has written
several satirical marionette plays.

In Holland where _Jan-Classenspiel_ have been long established, the
puppet stage is a favorite diversion. Powel wrote in 1715 of its long
standing popularity with the people and we are told that the cultured
classes also found relaxation in the marionettes. Beyle states that
during his studies at Rotterdam he always left his book at the sound of
the showman’s trumpet.

The little Polichinelle of Belgium is called _Woltje_ which signifies
little Walloon and he has many clownish but harmless tricks with which
to delight his public. The popularity of the _Poechelnellespiel_
in Brussels may be imagined from the fact that, prior to the war,
there were fifteen standing puppet theatres offering every possible
enticement. Two very famous showmen were Toone and Machieltje who for
forty years gave performances to every class of audience, Machieltje
specializing on the popular plays, Toone giving private performances.
The successor of Toone was George Hembauf while the show of Machieltje
descended to Laurent Broeders, who have a wonderfully equipped theatre
in the suburbs. They possess over six hundred marionettes whose elegant
costumes can be changed (there are over eleven hundred of these
elaborate costumes). The Laurent Broeders do all the speaking for
their dolls and the repertoire includes a wide range of subjects from
important events in Flemish history to Dumas, adapted for puppets, and
the old play of _Les Quatre Fils Aymon_. Another large puppet show is
that of Pieter Buelens. He has four hundred puppets consisting chiefly
of officers, chevaliers and kings, each knight so richly dressed that
his robes cost from thirty to forty francs apiece. The dolls are about
a metre high, made of cardboard and carefully articulated so that the
gestures are extremely graceful. The scenery is naïve but picturesque;
eight complete sets including two palace scenes, two wood scenes (one
Winter, one Summer), two rooms, a prison, a rock, etc. The latest and
most modern theatre for marionettes is the _Petit Théâtre_ founded by a
group of æsthetes,--Louis Picard, James Ensor, Thomas Braun, Gregoire
le Roy,--and devoted to a naïvely refined art of puppetry. It was
opened with the pastoral opera of Mozart, _Bastien et Bastienne_, the
poetic version by Gautier-Villars.

In Antwerp the puppet shows are less elaborate and are generally
to be found off in inconspicuous corners around the wharves where
they are frequented chiefly by the laboring classes. There the
drama varies from mockery of local occurrences to tales of Turks,
bandits, kings, shepherds, sailors. One of these shows was the famous
_Poesjenellenkelder_, the cave of the Polichinelles, where in a dark,
gloomy cellar by the glimmer of a few smoking oil lamps the old and
ever moving romantic dramas of the puppet show were performed for an
appreciative and unspoiled audience. Hendrik Conscience, the Flemish
novelist, has described how in his boyhood he often spent his last
penny to witness the sufferings of the patient Genoveva or some
similarly affecting performance. This old underground theatre, we are
told, was open until the outbreak of the war.



_Puppetry in England_

     “Triumphant Punch! with joy I follow thee
      Through the glad progress of thy wanton course.”


Thus exclaims Lord Byron, and he is but one of the long list of English
poets, dramatists and essayists who have found delight and inspiration
at the puppet booth. “One could hardly name a single poet from Chaucer
to Byron, or a single prose writer from Sir Philip Sidney to Hazlitt
in whose works are not to be found abundant information on the subject
or frequent allusions to it. The dramatists, above all, beginning with
those who are the glory of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I, supply
us with the most curious particulars of the repertory, the managers,
the stage of the marionettes.” With this introduction M. Magnin brings
forward a brilliant array of English authors in whose works we may find
traces of the puppets, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher,
Milton, Davenant, Swift, Addison, Steele, Gay, Fielding, Goldsmith,
Sheridan and innumerable others.

In _The Winter’s Tale_ Autolycus remarks: “I know this man well. He
hath been a process server, a bailiff, then he compassed a motion of
_The Prodigal Son_.” Many other dramas of Shakespeare have similar
allusions. Milton’s _Areopagitica_ contains these lines: “When God gave
Adam reason, he gave him freedom to choose: he had else been a mere
artificial Adam, such an Adam as seen in the motions.”

Perhaps the casual mention of a popular diversion in the literature
of a nation is not as impressive as the fact that it has served to
suggest the themes of numberless dramas and poems. Shakespeare is said
to have taken the idea for _Julius Cæsar_ from the puppet play on the
same subject which was performed near the Tower of London in his day;
Ben Jonson’s _Everyman Out of his Humour_, Robert Greene’s _Orlando
Furioso_, Dekker’s best drolleries and certainly _Patient Grissel_
in the composition of which he had a hand, Marlowe’s _The Massacre
at Paris_ and many others may safely be said to have been suggested
by the puppets. There are marionettes in Swift’s _A Tale of a Tub_,
illustrated by Hogarth.

Some authorities claim that Milton drew the argument for his great
poem from an Italian marionette production of _Paradise Lost_ which
he once witnessed. Byron is supposed to have found the model for his
_Don Juan_ in the popular play of Punch’s, _The Libertine Destroyed_.
Hence it cannot be an exaggeration to state that even in England, where
the puppets are not supposed to have attained such prestige as on
the Continent, they were, nevertheless, not wholly insignificant nor
without weight.

As is usually the case, the puppets in England appear to have had a
religious origin. Magnin mentions as an undoubted fact the movement
of head and eyes on the Crucifix in the monastery of Boxley in Kent,
and one hears not only of single articulated images but of passion
plays performed by moving figures within the sacred edifices. E. K.
Chambers has found the record of a Resurrection Play in the sixteenth
century by “certain small puppets, representing the Persons of Christe,
the Watchmen, Marie and others.” This was at Whitney in Oxfordshire,
“in the days of ceremonial religion,” and one of these puppets which
clacked was known as _Jack Snacker of Whitney_. It is certain that
similar motions of sacred dramas and pageants given by mechanical
statuettes were not unusual within the Catholic churches, and that
during the reign of Henry VIII they were destroyed, as idols. Under
Elizabeth and James, religious puppet-shows went wandering about the
kingdom, giving the long drawn out moralities and mysteries, _The
Prodigal Son_, _The Motion of Babylon_ and _Nineveh with Jonah and the
Whale_, a great favorite.

These early motions or drolls were a combination of dumb show, masques
and even shadow play. Flögel explains that the masques were sometimes
connected with the puppets or given sometimes as a separate play.
“These masques,” he writes, “consist of five tableaux or motions which
take place behind a transparent curtain, just as in Chinese shadows.
The showman, a silver-covered wand in his hand and a whistle for
signalling, stands in front of the curtain and briefly informs the
audience of the action of the piece. Thereupon he draws the curtain,
names each personage by name as he appears, points out with his wand
the various important actions of his actors’ deeds, and relates the
story more in detail than formerly. Another masque which Ben Jonson’s
_Bartholomew Fair_ describes is quite different, for here the puppets
themselves speak, that is, through a man hidden behind the scenes, who
like the one standing out in front is called the interpreter.”

As early as 1575 Italian pupazzi appeared in England and established
themselves there. An order of the Lord Mayor of London at the time
authorizes that, “Italian marionettes be allowed to settle in the city
and to carry on their strange motions as in the past and from time
immemorial.” Piccini was a later Italian motion-man, but very famous,
giving shows for fifty years and speaking for his _Punch_ to the last
with a foreign accent.

There is little doubt, despite much discussion, that the boisterous
English Punch is a descendant of the puppet Pulcinello, brought over by
travelling Italian showmen. Isaac d’Israeli writes of his ancestry, in
the second volume of _Curiosities of Literature_, “Even Pullicinella,
whom we familiarly call Punch, may receive like other personages of
not greater importance, all his dignity from antiquity: one of his
Roman ancestors having appeared to an antiquary’s visionary eye in a
bronze statue: more than one erudite dissertation authenticates the
family likeness, the long nose, prominent and hooked; the goggle eyes;
the hump at his back and breast; in a word all the character which so
strongly marks the Punch race, as distinctly as whole dynasties have
been featured by the Austrian lip or the Bourbon nose.”

The origin of the name _Punch_ has given rise to various theories. Some
claim it is an anglicizing of Pulcinello, Pulchinello or Punchinello;
others that it is derived as is Pulcinello from the Italian word
_pulcino_, little chicken, either, some say, because of the squeak
common to Punch and to the chicken or, others aver, because from little
chicken might have come the expression for little boy, hence puppet.
Again, it is maintained that the origin is the English provincialism
_punch_ (short, fat), allied to _Bunch_.

The older Punchinello was far less restricted in his actions and
circumstances than his modern successor. He fought with allegorical
figures representing want and weariness, as well as with his wife
and the police. He was on intimate terms with the Patriarchs and the
champions of Christendom, sat on the lap of the Queen of Sheba, had
kings and lords for his associates, and cheated the Inquisition as well
as the common hangman. After the revolution of 1688, with the coming
of William and Mary, his prestige increased, and Mr. Punch took Mrs.
Judy to wife and to them there came a child. The marionettes became
more elaborate, were manipulated by wires and developed legs and
feet. Queen Mary was often pleased to summon them into her palace.
The young gallant, Punch, however, who had been but a garrulous
roisterer, causing more noise than harm, began to develop into a
merry but thick-skinned fellow, heretical, wicked, always victorious,
overcoming Old Vice himself, the horned, tailed demon of the old
English moralities. A modified Don Juan, when Don Juan was the vogue,
he gradually became a vulgar pugnacious fellow to suit the taste of the
lower classes.

During the reign of Queen Anne he was high in popular favor. _The
Tatler_ mentions him often, also _The Spectator_; Addison and Steele
have both aided in immortalizing him. Famous showmen such as Mr. Powell
included him in every puppet play, for what does an anachronism matter
with the marionettes? He walked with King Solomon, entered into the
affairs of Doctor Faustus, or the Duke of Lorraine or Saint George in
which case he came upon the stage seated on the back of St. George’s
dragon to the delight of the spectators. One of his greatest successes
was scored in _Don Juan or The Libertine Destroyed_ where he was in his
element, and we find him in the drama of Noah, poking his head from
behind the side curtain while the floods were pouring down upon the
Patriarch and his ark to remark, “Hazy weather, Mr. Noah.” In one of
Swift’s satires, the popularity of Punch is declared to be so enormous
that the audiences cared little for the plot of the play, merely
waiting to greet the entrance of their beloved buffoon with shouts of
laughter.

[Illustration: PUNCH HANGS THE HANGMAN

From a Cruikshank illustration of Payne-Collier’s _Tragical Comedy of
Punch and Judy_]

At the beginning of the nineteenth century when Lord Nelson, as the
hero of Abukir, was represented upon every puppet stage, he and Mr.
Punch held the following dialogue:

“Come to my ship, my dear Punch, and help me defeat the French. If you
like I will make you a Captain or a Commodore.”

“Never, never,” answered Punch. “I would not dare for I am afraid of
being drowned in the deep sea.”

“But don’t have such absurd fears,” replied the Admiral. “Remember that
whoever is destined from birth to be hanged will never be drowned.”

Gradually a sort of epic poem of Punch grew up, and there were regular
scenes where the dissolute, hardened fellow beats his wife and child,
defies morality and religion, knocks down the priest, fights the
devil and overcomes him. In 1828 Mr. Payne-Collier arranged a series
of little plays called _The Tragical Comedy of Punch and Judy_. In
this labor he was assisted by the records of the Italian, Piccini,
who, after long years of wandering through England, had established
his Punch and Judy show in London. The series was profusely and
delightfully illustrated by Cruikshank. These pictures and those of
Hogarth have perpetuated for all times the funny features of Punch and
Judy.

“With real conservatism,” writes Maindron, “the English have preserved
the figure and repertory of Punch almost as it was in the oldest days
of Piccini and his predecessors.” And it is thus one might find Punch
on the street corner to-day, maltreating his long-suffering wife,
teasing the dog, hanging the hangman. Mr. W. H. Pollock tells us of
stopping with Robert Louis Stevenson to watch a Punch and Judy show
given by a travelling showman in “bastard English and slang of the
road.” Stevenson delighted in it, and Mr. Pollock himself exclaimed:
“Everybody who loves good, rattling melodrama with plenty of comic
relief must surely love that great performance.”

But to return to the shows and showmen of other times. In the
Elizabethan period the motions were very prominent. The puppets
sometimes took over plays of the day, and satirized them cleverly
upon their own stages, the dolls costumed as nearly as possible like
the prominent actors whom they imitated. Later, when for a time the
Puritans abolished the theatres, the marionettes were allowed to
continue their shows, and thus the entire repertory of the real stage
fell into their hands. Permanent puppet stages grew up all over London:
people thronged to the puppets.

In Ben Jonson’s _Bartholomew Fair_ he allows the showman, Lanthorn
Leatherhead, to describe his fortunes: “Ah,” he said, “I have made
lots of money with _Sodom and Gomorrah_ and with the _City of Norwich_
but _Gunpowder Plot_, that was a veritable gift of God. It was that
that made the pennies rain into the coffers. I only charged eighteen
or twenty pence per head for admission, but I gave sometimes nine or
ten representations a day.” Captain Pod, a seventeenth century showman
mentioned in other writings of Ben Jonson, had a large repertory
including, among other plays, _Man’s Wit_, _Dialogue of Dives_,
_Prodigal Son_, _Resurrection of the Saviour_, _Babylon_, _Jonah and
the Whale_, _Sodom and Gomorrah_, _Destruction of Jerusalem_, _City of
Nineveh_, _Rome and London_, _Destruction of Norwich_, _Massacre of
Paris with the Death of the Duke de Guise_ and _The Gunpowder Plot_.
In 1667 Pepys records in his _Diary_ that he found “my Lady Castlemane
at a puppet play, Patient Grizell.” _The Sorrows of Griselda_, indeed,
was very popular at the time, also _Dick Whittington_, _The Vagaries of
Merry Andrew_ and _The Humours of Bartholomew Fair_. The marionettes,
indeed, grew so much the vogue, and the rivalry was felt so keenly
by the regular theatres, that in 1675 the proprietors of the theatre
in Drury Lane and near Lincoln’s Inn Fields formally petitioned that
the puppets in close proximity be forbidden to exhibit, or be removed
to a greater distance, as they interfered with the success of their
performances.

But not alone the theatres objected to the competition of the puppets.
One may read in _The Spectator, XVI_, that _young Mr. Powell_ made his
show a veritable thorn in the flesh of the clergy. It was stationed in
Covent Garden, opposite the Cathedral of St. Paul, and Powell proceeded
to use the church bell as a summons to his performances, luring away
worshippers from the very door of the church. Finally the sexton was
impelled to remonstrate. “I find my congregation taking the warning
of my bell, morning and evening, to go to a puppet show set forth by
one Powell, under the Piazzas, etc., etc. I desire you would lay this
before the world, that Punchinello may choose an hour less canonical.
As things are now, Mr. Powell has a full congregation while we have a
very thin house.”

This same Powell was the most successful motion maker of his day. He
originated the _Universal Deluge_ in which Noah and his family enter
the ark, accompanied by all the animals, two and two. This show was
given fifty-two consecutive nights, and was repeated two centuries
later by the Prandi brothers in Florence. Powell had booths in
London, Bath and Oxford, and played to most fashionable audiences.
_The Tatler_ and _The Spectator_ mention him frequently. It was his
Punch who sat on the Queen of Sheba’s lap, who danced with Judy on
the Ark, and made the famous remark to Noah concerning the weather.
He gave numerous religious plays, such as the “Opera of Susannah or
Innocence Betrayed,--which will be exhibited next week with a new pair
of Elders.” In 1713 he presented _Venus and Adonis or The Triumphs of
Love_, a mock opera. As another attraction to his shows, the ingenious
marionettist invented a fashion model, the little puppet, _Lady Jane_,
who made a monthly appearance, bringing the latest styles from Paris.
The ladies flocked to the puppets when she was announced on the bills.

A well known competitor of Powell was Pinkethman, in whose scenes the
gods of Olympus ascended and descended to strains of music. Crawley
was another rival. He advertised his show as follows: “At Crawley’s
Booth, over against the Crown Tavern in Smithfield, during the time
of Bartholomew Fair, will be presented a little opera called the Old
Creation of the World, yet newly revived, with addition of Noah’s
Flood, also several fountains, playing water during the time of the
play. The last scene does present Noah and his family coming out of the
Ark with all the beasts, two and two, and all the fowls of the air seen
in a prospect sitting upon trees: likewise over the Ark is seen the sun
rising in a glorious manner; moreover a multitude of angels will be
seen in a double rank, which presents a double prospect, one for the
sun, the other for the palace where will be seen six Angels ringing
bells. Likewise Machines descend from above, double and treble, with
Dives rising out of Hell and Lazarus seen in Abraham’s bosom, besides
several figures dancing jigs, sarabands, and country dances to the
admiration of the spectators: with the merry conceits of Squire Punch
and Sir John Spendall.”

After these motion makers, came other showmen with many inventions.
Colley Cibber wrote dramas for marionettes, and his daughter, the
actress, Charlotte Clarke, founded a large puppet theatre. Russell,
the old buffoon, is said to have been interested in this project also,
but it finally failed. When the Scottish lords and other leaders of
the Stuart uprising of 1745 were executed on Tower Hill, the beheading
was made a feature by the puppet exhibitions at May Fair and was
presented for many years after. Later Clapton’s marionettes offered a
play of Grace Darling rescuing the crew of the Forfarshire, “with many
ingenious moving figures of quadrupeds.” Boswell tells us in his _Life
of Johnson_ about Oliver Goldsmith, who was so vain he could not endure
to have anyone do anything better than himself. “Once at an exhibition
of the fantoccini in London, when those who sat next to him observed
with what dexterity a puppet was made to toss a pike, he could not
bear that it should have such praise, and exclaimed with some warmth,
‘Pshaw! I could do it better myself!’” Boswell adds in a note, “He
went home with Mr. Burke to supper and broke his shin by attempting
to exhibit to the company how much better he could jump over a stick
than the puppets.” Dr. Johnson was a great admirer of the fantoccini
in London, and considered a performance of _Macbeth_ by puppets as
satisfactory as when played by human actors.

At the end of the eighteenth century, Flockton’s show displayed five
hundred figures at work in various trades. Browne’s _Theatre of Arts_,
1830–1840 travelled about at country fairs showing _The Battle of
Trafalgar_, _Napoleon’s Army Crossing the Alps_ and the _Marble Palace
of St. Petersburg_. Some marionettes of the nineteenth century became
satirical, attacking literature and politics with mischievous energy.
Punch assumed a thousand disguises; he caricatured Sheridan, Fox, Lord
Nelson. William Hazlitt wrote seriously in praise of puppet shows.

There are gaps in the history of English puppets which seem to imply a
decline in the popularity of that amusement. One comes upon occasional
records of shows straggling through the countryside, and giving the
old, timeworn productions of _Prodigal Son_ or _Noah_, or _Pull Devil_,
_Pull Baker_. During the reign of George IV, puppets were found at
street corners, dancing sailors, milkmaids, clowns, but Punch, as ever,
the favorite.

Even now, puppets on boards may be seen in the streets of London. Of
the old shows, one resident of that city relates: “When I was a child,
marionettes used to go about the streets of London in a theatre on
wheels about as big as a barrel organ, but I dare say I am wrong about
size, because one cannot remember these things. I remember particularly
a skeleton which danced and came to pieces so that his bones lay about
in a heap. When I was properly surprised at this he assembled himself
and danced again. I was so young that I was rather frightened.”

There is to-day one of the old professional marionette showmen
wandering about in England, Clunn Lewiss, who still has a set of
genuine old dolls, bought up from a predecessor’s outfit. For fifty
years he has been traveling along the roads, like a character strayed
out of Dickens. He has interested members of artistic coteries in
London, who have been moved by the old man’s appeals for help, and some
attempts have been made to revive interest in his show. Surely Clunn
Lewiss deserves some recognition.

Altogether unconnected with popular puppets were the highly complicated
mechanical exhibitions of Holden’s marionettes. The amazing feats
performed by Holden’s puppets astonished not only England, but all the
large Continental and American cities where they were displayed. They
were tremendously admired. The surprising dexterity of manipulation,
and the elegance of the settings had never been surpassed. In Paris,
however, de Goncourt wrote of them: “The marionettes of Holden! These
creatures of wood are a little disquieting. There is a dancer turning
on the tips of her toes in the moonlight that might be a character of
Hoffman, etc.

“Holden was more of an illusionist than a true marionettist. He
produced exact illusions of living beings, but he was lacking in
imagination. The fantoches of Holden were certainly marvels of
precision, but they appeal to the eye and not to the spirit. One
admired, one did not laugh at them. They astonished, but they did not
charm.”

[Illustration: OLD ENGLISH PUPPETS

Used by Mr. Clunn Lewiss in his wandering show

[Courtesy of Mr. Tony Sarg]]

There have been several interesting amateur marionette shows within
the last decade. There are the Wilkinsons, two clever modern painters
who have taken their puppets from village to village in England and
also in France. They traveled about with their family in a caravan and
wherever they wished to give a show, they halted and drew forth a
stage from the rear end of the wagon. Their dolls are eight inches high
or more and they require four operators. They are designed with a touch
of caricature, and they perform little plays and scenes invented by the
Wilkinsons, very amusing and witty. Not long ago Mr. Gair Wilkinson
gave a very successful exhibition of his show at the Margaret Morris
Theater in Chelsea for a short season.

The Ilkely Players, of Ilkely, Yorkshire, are a group of young women
who produced puppet plays for some five or six years, touring through
England. Their dolls were rather simple, mechanically; only the arms
were articulated, for the most part; the heads were porcelain dolls’
heads. Nevertheless this group of puppeteers deserves the credit
they attained by reviving the classic old show of _Doctor Faustus_,
at Clifford’s Inn Hall, Chelsea. They also gave very interesting
productions of Maeterlinck’s _The Seven Princesses_, and Thackeray’s
_The Rose and the Ring_, dramatized by Miss Dora Nussey, who was the
leader of the group. Inspired by their success, Miss Margaret Bulley
of Liverpool produced a puppet play of Faustus before the Sandon
Studio Club. Miss Bulley’s puppets were quite simple wooden dolls with
papier-maché heads and tin arms and legs, each worked with seven black
threads. The costumes were copied after old German engravings of the
eighteenth century and the production proved very effective.

Most highly perfected, and most exquisite of English puppets to-day
are those of the artist, Mr. William Simmonds, in Hampstead. They
originated in a village in Wiltshire as an amusement at a Christmas
party given by Mr. and Mrs. Simmonds every year to the village
children. The audience was so delighted that the next year more
puppets were made with a more attractive setting. Friends then became
so enthusiastic that the creators of the puppets realized what might
be done, and in London, the following Spring, they began giving small
private shows.

[Illustration: MR. GAIR WILKINSON AND ASSISTANT AT WORK ON THE BRIDGE
OF THEIR PUPPET THEATRE [Reproduced from _The Sketch_, 1916]]

The productions are only suited to a small audience of forty or
fifty. The puppets are mostly fifteen inches high, some smaller; the
stage is nine feet wide, six deep, and a little over two feet high.
The scenery is painted on small screens. At present there are three
scenes, a Harlequinade, a Woodland Scene and a little Seaport Town.
The puppets are grouped to use one or the other of these scenes. They
do not do plays but seem to find their best expression in songs and
dances connected with various by-play and “business” and a slight
thread of episode which is often varied, never twice alike. Mr.
Simmonds manipulates the puppets entirely alone and cannot work with
anyone close. He frequently operates a puppet in each hand, all with
the utmost dexterity and delicacy, and manages others by means of
hanging them up and moving them slightly at intervals, at the same time
singing, whistling, improvising dialogue or imitating various noises!
People generally expect to find half a dozen manipulators behind the
scenes.

Mr. Simmonds himself carves the heads, hands and feet of his
marionettes in wood (usually lime) and paints them in tempera to avoid
shine. They are beautifully done. Some are dressed, some have clothes
painted on them. Some are quite decorative, others impressionistic or
frankly realistic. Not contented with the little-bit-clumsy doll, Mr.
Simmonds has perfected his puppets with great technical skill until
they move with perfect naturalness, some with dignity, some with grace,
some with humor, each according to its nature.

In the Harliquinade the scene is hung with black velvet, lighted from
the front, which gives the effect of a black void against which the
figures of Harlequin, Columbine, Clown, Pantaloon and others appear
with sparkling brilliancy and vivid color. In the Seaport Town, a
medley of characters appear,--a sailor, a grenadier, a fat woman,
an old man, the minister, etc. There are songs used in this to give
variety. Particularly clever is an English sailor of the time of Nelson
who comes out of a public house and dances a jig, heel-tapping the
floor in perfect time, his hands on his hips and his body rollicking in
perfect character while he sings, “On Friday morn when we set sail.”
Another excellent dancing doll is the washerwoman of the old sort,
short and stout and great-armed, jolly and roughfaced.

In the Woodland Scene, creatures of the wood appear,--faun, dryad,
nymph, young centaurs, baby faun, hunted stag, a forester, a dainty
shepherd and a shepherdess, etc. The little sketch is entirely
wordless, having only musical accompaniment played by Mrs. Simmonds
upon a virginal or a spinet, or an early Erard piano (date 1804). The
sound is just right in scale for the puppets; anything else would
seem heavy. The fauns in this scene are most popular, particularly
the _Baby_ who has an extraordinary tenderness, and skips and leaps
with the agility of a live thing. The act of extreme dreaminess and
beauty is described thus by one who was privileged to witness it.
“In one scene a man went out hunting. He hid behind a bush. A stag
came on. He shot the stag which lay down and died. Then there came
one or two creatures of the wood, who could do nothing, and at last
a very beautiful nymph, lightly clothed in leaves. She succeeded in
resuscitating the stag, who got up and bounded away. When they had
gone, the hunter who had watched it all from behind the bush came out,
and that was all. Music all the time. No words. The stag was quite
astonishing.”

Although he is now living and working in Florence, Mr. Gordon Craig
must not be omitted from any account of English marionettes and
advocates of the puppets. Quite apart from the class of artistic
amateurs and equally remote from the usual professional marionettist of
to-day, Mr. Craig stands rather as a new prophet of puppetry, recalling
in stirring terms the virtues of the old art, and adding his new and
individual interpretation of its value.

Puppets are but a small portion of the dramatic experiment and
propaganda which Mr. Craig is so courageously carrying on in Florence.
But they are not the least interesting branch of his undertakings. He
has assembled a veritable museum of marionette and shadow play material
from all over the world. Pictures of some parts of his collection
appear regularly in “The Marionette.” There are also delightful puppet
plays appearing in this pamphlet. But this is not all.

With the marionette used as a sort of symbol, Mr. Craig has been
conducting research into the very heart of dramatic verities, and
producing dramatic formulas which should apply on any stage at any
time. He has invented his marionettes to express dramatic qualities
which he deems significant, and in his puppets he has attempted to
eliminate all other disturbing and unnecessary qualities. Thus he
creates little wooden patterns or models for his artists of the stage,
and he applies in actual usage Goethe’s maxim: “He who would work for
the stage ... should leave nature in her proper place and take careful
heed not to have recourse to anything but what may be performed by
children with puppets upon boards and laths, together with sheets of
cardboard and linen.”

At the beginning of his experiments with marionettes Mr. Craig and his
assistants constructed one large and extremely complicated doll which
was moved on grooves and manipulated by pedals from below, with a small
_telltale_ to indicate to the operator the exact effect produced. But
this marionette was not satisfactory for Mr. Craig’s purposes.

He then directed his energies in an exactly opposite direction, toward
simplification. The result was small, but very impressive dolls, carved
out of wood and painted in neutral colors,--the color of the scenes in
which they moved, to allow for the fullest and most variable effects
produced by lighting. Most interesting, too, the manner in which
Mr. Craig applied his theories concerning gesture with these little
puppets. Each marionette was allowed to make one or two gestures,--no
more. But these gestures had to be exact, invariable, and the perfect
indication of whatever meaning they were intended to convey. Before
inventing the action of a puppet, Mr. Craig would study, for days or
weeks, watching various people making the movement and expressing
the emotion he desired to portray. Then he would extract from these
observations the general and essential qualities of this particular
gesture; all else, due to the peculiarities of individuals, was left
out as irrelevant for the stage. Hence when Mr. Craig’s puppet moves,
it moves simply, significantly and--one more essential--surely. For
nothing is left to chance. The gesture, once selected, is produced with
infinite care and is made invariable. No whim of the manipulator, no
accident of chance, can alter it. One motion of the finger operates
the figure, and the result is assured.

Naturally a character may be required to exhibit varied succeeding
emotions, not encompassed by one or two motions. In that case the
figure is taken off the stage and replaced by another similar in
appearance but differently articulated for a different purpose. There
are sometimes as many as six or eight puppets for one character.
Mr. Craig has experimented with his marionettes in many plays, some
comedy, some tragedy. It is not recorded whether he has ever given one
finished puppet production: it is immaterial. The idea embodied in
these little puppets is immense,--a valuable and lasting contribution
to constructive dramatic criticism.



_The Marionettes in America_

    “They come from far away. They have been the joy of innumerable
    generations which preceded our own; they have gained, with our
    direct ancestors, many brilliant successes; they have made them
    laugh but they have also made them think; they have had eminent
    protectors; for them celebrated authors have written. At all
    times they have enjoyed a liberty of manners and language which
    has rendered them dear to the people for whom they were made.”

  ERNEST MAINDRON


How old are the marionettes in America? How old indeed! Older than the
white races which now inhabit the continent, ancient as the ancient
ceremonials of the dispossessed native Indians, more indigenous to
the soil than we who prate of them,--such are the first American
marionettes!

Dramatic ceremonials among the Indians are numerous, even at the
present time. Each tribe has its peculiar, individual rites, performed,
as a rule, by members of the tribe dressed in prescribed, symbolic
costumes and wearing often a conventionalized mask. Occasionally,
however, articulated figures take part in these performances along with
the human participants. Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes has published a minute
description of a theatrical performance at Walpi which he witnessed in
1900, together with pictures of the weird and curious snake effigies
employed in it.

The Great Serpent drama of the Hopi Indians, called _Palü lakonti_,
occurs annually in the March moon. It is an elaborate festival, the
paraphernalia for which are repaired or manufactured anew for days
preceding the event. There are about six acts and while one of them is
being performed in one room, simultaneously shows are being enacted
in the other eight _kivas_ on the East Mesa. The six sets of actors
pass from one room to another, in all of which spectators await their
coming. Thus, upon one night each performance was given nine times and
was witnessed by approximately five hundred people. The drama lasts
from nine P.M. until midnight.

Dr. Fewkes gives us the following description of the first act: “A
voice was heard at the hatchway, as if some one were hooting outside,
and a moment later a ball of meal, thrown into the room from without,
landed on the floor by the fireplace. This was a signal that the first
group of actors had arrived, and to this announcement the fire tenders
responded, ‘Yunya ai,’ ‘Come in,’ an invitation which was repeated by
several of the spectators. After considerable hesitation on the part
of the visitors, and renewed cries to enter from those in the room,
there was a movement above, and the hatchway was darkened by the form
of a man descending. The fire tenders arose, and held their blankets
about the fire to darken the room. Immediately there came down the
ladder a procession of masked men bearing long poles upon which was
rolled a cloth screen, while under their blankets certain objects were
concealed. Filing to the unoccupied end of the kiva, they rapidly set
up the objects they bore. When they were ready a signal was given, and
the fire tenders, dropping their blankets, resumed their seats by the
fireplace. On the floor before our astonished eyes we saw a miniature
field of corn, made of small clay pedestals out of which projected corn
sprouts a few inches high. Behind this field of corn hung a decorated
cloth screen reaching from one wall of the room to the other and from
the floor almost to the rafters. On this screen were painted many
strange devices, among which were pictures of human beings, male and
female, and of birds, symbols of rain-clouds, lightning, and falling
rain. Prominent among the symbols was a row of six circular disks the
borders of which were made of plaited corn husks, while the enclosed
field of each was decorated with a symbolic picture of the sun. Men
wearing grotesque masks and ceremonial kilts stood on each side of this
screen.

[Illustration: MARIONETTES EMPLOYED IN CEREMONIAL DRAMA OF THE AMERICAN
INDIANS

_Upper_: Serpent effigies, screen and miniature corn field used in Act
I of the _Great Serpent Drama_ of the Hopi Katcinas

[From _A Theatrical Performance at Walpi_, by J. Walter Fewkes, in the
Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 1900, Vol. II]

_Lower_: Drawing by a Hopi Indian of articulated figurines of corn
maidens and birds

[From _Hopi Katcinas_, by J. Walter Fewkes]]

“The act began with a song to which the masked men, except the
last mentioned, danced. A hoarse roar made by a concealed actor
blowing through an empty gourd resounded from behind the screen, and
immediately the circular disks swung open up-ward, and were seen to be
flaps, hinged above, covering orifices through which simultaneously
protruded six artificial heads of serpents, realistically painted.
Each head had protuberant goggle eyes, and bore a curved horn and a
fan-like crest of hawk feathers. A mouth with teeth was cut in one
end, and from this orifice there hung a strip of leather, painted red,
representing the tongue.

“Slowly at first, but afterwards more rapidly, these effigies were
thrust farther into view, each revealing a body four or five feet long,
painted, like the head, black on the back and white on the belly.
When they were fully extended the song grew louder, and the effigies
moved back and forth, raising and depressing their heads in time,
wagging them to one side or the other in unison. They seemed to bite
ferociously at each other, and viciously darted at men standing near
the screen. This remarkable play continued for some time, when suddenly
the heads of the serpents bent down to the floor and swept across the
imitation corn field, knocking over the clay pedestals and the corn
leaves which they supported. Then the effigies raised their heads and
wagged them back and forth as before. It was observed that the largest
effigy, or that in the middle, had several udders on each side of the
belly, and that she apparently suckled the others. Meanwhile the roar
emitted from behind the screen by a concealed man continued, and wild
excitement seemed to prevail. Some of the spectators threw meal at the
effigies, offering prayers, amid shouts from others. The masked man,
representing a woman, stepped forward and presented the contents of
the basket tray to the serpent effigies for food, after which he held
his breasts to them as if to suckle them.

“Shortly after this the song diminished in volume, the effigies were
slowly drawn back through the openings, the flaps on which the sun
symbols were painted fell back in place, and after one final roar, made
by the man behind the screen, the room was again silent. The overturned
pedestals with their corn leaves were distributed among the spectators,
and the two men by the fireplace again held up their blankets before
the fire, while the screen was silently rolled up, and the actors with
their paraphernalia departed.”

There are some acts in the drama into which the serpent effigies do
not enter at all. In the fifth act these Great Snakes rise up out of
the orifices of two vases instead of darting out from the screen. This
action is produced by strings hidden in the kiva rafters, the winding
of heads and struggles and gyrations of the sinuous bodies being the
more realistic because in the dim light the strings were invisible.

In the fourth act two masked girls, elaborately dressed in white
ceremonial blankets, usually participate. Upon their entrance they
assume a kneeling posture and at a given signal proceed to grind
meal upon mealing stones placed before the fire, singing, and
accompanied by the clapping of hands. “In some years marionettes
representing Corn Maids are substituted for the two masked girls,”
Dr. Fewkes explains, “in the act of grinding corn, and these two
figures are very skillfully manipulated by concealed actors. Although
this representation was not introduced in 1900, it has often been
described to me, and one of the Hopi men has drawn me a picture of the
marionettes.”

“The figurines are brought into the darkened room wrapped in blankets,
and are set up near the middle of the kiva in much the same way as the
screens. The kneeling images, surrounded by a wooden framework, are
manipulated by concealed men; when the song begins they are made to
bend their bodies backward and forward in time, grinding the meal on
miniature metates before them. The movements of girls in grinding meal
are so cleverly imitated that the figurines moved by hidden strings at
times raised their hands to their faces, which they rubbed with meal as
the girls do when using the grinding stones in their rooms.

“As this marionette performance was occurring, two bird effigies were
made to walk back and forth along the upper horizontal bar of the
framework, while bird calls issued from the rear of the room.”

The symbolism of this drama is intricate and curious. The effigies
representing the Great Serpent, an important supernatural personage in
the legends of the Hopi Indians, are somehow associated with the Hopi
version of a flood; for it was said that when the ancestors of certain
clans lived far south this monster once rose through the middle of the
pueblo plaza, drawing after him a great flood which submerged the land
and which obliged the Hopi to migrate into his present home, farther
North. The snake effigies knocking over the cornfields symbolize
floods, possible winds which the Serpent brings. The figurines of the
Corn Maids represent the mythical maidens whose beneficent gift of corn
and other seeds, in ancient times, is a constant theme in Hopi legends.

The effigies which Dr. Fewkes saw used were not very ancient, but in
olden times similar effigies existed and were kept in stone enclosures
outside the pueblos. The house of the _Ancient Plumed Snake of Hano_ is
in a small cave in the side of a mesa near the ruins of Turkinobi where
several broken serpent heads and effigy ribs (or wooden hoops) can now
be seen, although the entrance is walled up and rarely used.

The puppet shows commonly seen to-day in the United States are of
foreign extraction or at least inspired by foreign models. For many
years there have been puppet-plays throughout the country. Visiting
exhibitions like those of Holden’s marionettes which Professor Brander
Matthews praises so glowingly are, naturally, rare. But one hears of
many puppets in days past that have left their impression upon the
childhood memories of our elders, travelling as far South as Savannah
or wandering through the New England states. Our vaudevilles and
sideshows and galleries often have exhibits of mechanical dolls, such
as the amazing feats of _Mantell’s Marionette Hippodrome Fairy-land
Transformation_ which advertises “Big scenic novelty, seventeen
gorgeous drop curtains, forty-five elegant talking acting figures in
a comical pantomime,” or _Madam Jewel’s Manikins_ in Keith’s Circuit,
Madam Jewel being an aunt of Holden, they say, and guarding zealously
with canvas screens the secret of her devices, even as Holden himself
is said to have done.

Interesting, too, is the story of the retired marionettist, Harry
Deaves, who writes: “I have on hand forty to fifty marionette figures,
all in fine shape and dressed. I have been in the manikin business
forty-five years, played all the large cities from coast to coast,
over and over, always with big success; twenty-eight weeks in Chicago
without a break with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a big hit. The reason I am
selling my outfit is,--I am over sixty years of age and I don’t think
I will work it again.” How one wishes one might have seen that _Uncle
Tom’s Cabin_ in Chicago! In New York at present there is Remo Buffano,
reviving interest in the puppets by giving performances now and then in
a semi-professional way with large, simple dolls resembling somewhat
the Sicilian burattini. His are plays of adventure and fairy lore.

Then, too, in most of our larger cities from time to time crude popular
shows from abroad are to be found around the foreign neighborhoods. It
is said that at one time in Chicago there were Turkish shadow plays in
the Greek Colony; Punch and Judy make their appearance at intervals,
and Italian or Sicilian showmen frequently give dramatic versions of
the legends of Charlemagne.

In Cleveland two years ago a party of inquisitive folk went one night
to the Italian neighborhood in search of such a performance. We found
and entered a dark little hall where the rows of seats were crowded
closely together and packed with a spellbound audience of Italian
workingmen and boys. Squeezing into our places with as little commotion
as possible we settled down to succumb to the spell of the crude
foreign fantoccini, large and completely armed, who were violently
whacking and slashing each other before a rather tattered drop curtain.
Interpreted into incorrect English by a small boy glued to my side,
broken bits of the resounding tale of _Orlando Furioso_ were hissed
into my ear. But for these slangy ejaculations one might well have
been in the heart of Palermo. A similar performance is described by
Mr. Arthur Gleason. It was a show in New York, the master of which was
Salvatore Cascio, and he was assisted by Maria Grasso, daughter of the
Sicilian actor, Giovanni Grasso of Catania.

[Illustration: ITALIAN MARIONETTE SHOW Operated in Cleveland for a
season. Proprietor, Joseph Scionte [Courtesy of Cleveland _Plain
Dealer_]]

“For two hours every evening for fifty evenings the legends unrolled
themselves, princes of the blood and ugly unbelievers perpetually
warring.” There was, explains Mr. Gleason, some splendid fighting.
“Christians and Saracens generally proceeded to quarrel at close
range with short stabbing motions at the opponent’s face and lungs.
After three minutes they swing back and then clash!! sword shivers
on shield!! Three times they clash horridly, three times retire to
the wings, at last the Christian beats down his foe; the pianist
meanwhile is playing violent ragtime during the fight, five hidden
manipulators are stamping on the platform above, the cluttered dead are
heaped high on the stage.” When one considers that such puppets are
generally about three feet high and weigh one hundred pounds, armor and
all, and are operated by one or two thick iron rods firmly attached to
the head and hands, what wonder that the flooring of the stage is badly
damaged by the terrific battles waged upon it and has to be renewed
every two weeks!

Far removed from these unsophisticated performances, however, are the
poetic puppets of the Chicago Little Theatre. I use the present tense
optimistically despite the sad fact that the Little Theatre in Chicago
has been closed owing to unfavorable conditions caused by the war. But
although “Puck is at present cosily asleep in his box,” as Mrs. Maurice
Browne has written, we all hope that the puppets so auspiciously
successful for three years will resume their delightful activities,
somehow or other, soon.

At first the originators of the Chicago marionettes travelled far
into Italy and Germany, seeking models for their project. Finally in
Solln near Munich they discovered Marie Janssen and her sister, whose
delicate and fantastic puppet plays most nearly approached their own
ideals. They brought back to Chicago a queer little model purchased in
Munich from the man who had made Papa Schmidt’s Puppen. But, as one
of the group has written, the little German puppet seemed graceless
under these skies. And so, Ellen Van Volkenburg (Mrs. Maurice Browne)
and Mrs. Seymour Edgerton proceeded to construct their own marionettes.
Miss Katherine Wheeler, a young English sculptor, modelled the faces,
each a clear-cut mask to fit the character, but left purposely rough in
finish. Miss Wheeler felt that the broken surfaces carried the facial
expression farther. The puppets were fourteen inches high, carved in
wood. The intricate mechanism devised by Harriet Edgerton rendered
the figures extremely pliable. Her mermaids, with their serpentine
jointing, displayed an uncanny sinuousness. Miss Lillian Owen was
Mistress of the Needle, devising the filmy costumes, and Mrs. Browne
with fine technique and keen dramatic sense took upon herself the task
of training and inspiring the puppeteers as well as creating the poetic
ensemble.

[Illustration: MARIONETTES AT THE CHICAGO LITTLE THEATRE

Production of _Alice in Wonderland_ under Mrs. Maurice Browne’s
direction

_Upper_: The Duchess’s Kitchen

_Lower_: The White Rabbit’s House]

The Chicago puppets are neither grotesque nor humorous and they have
little in common with the puppet of tradition. Theirs is an element
of exquisite magical fairy-land, with dainty beings moving about in
it, who can express beauty, tragedy and tenderness. Their repertoire
consists for the most part of fantasies written or adapted by members
of the group. The first was a delicious fairy adventure, a play for
children, _The Deluded Dragon_, founded upon an old Chinese legend,
wherein a lovely Prince seems to follow a Wooden Spoon down the River
certain that he will chance upon Adventure, which he does. The play
was decidedly successful, despite a most unfortunate accident at the
first performance caused by the impetuosity of the somewhat hurried
puppeteers. To be more explicit, “the fierce but fragile dragon parted
in the middle, his five heads swinging free of his timorously lashing
tail.” “The same year,” continues Miss Hettie Louise Mick, herself
puppeteer and composer of marionette plays, “Reginald Arkell’s charming
fantasy, _Columbine_, was produced with more patience and proved a
wholly delightful and almost finished thing.”

The next year two fairy tales were presented, _Jack and the Beanstalk_
and _The Little Mermaid_, both dramatized by the puppeteers. Great
technical advances had been made in the latter play and a delicate,
fantastic effect attained, approaching the ideals of the founders. The
last and most ambitious performance of this season was Shakespeare’s
_A Midsummer Night’s Dream_, given not only for children but openly
for the grown-ups. Of this production Miss Mick has written: “Puck,
who had been known formerly as the rather stiff little fairy who
introduced and closed each play in rhyme, now became his romping,
pliant self, tumbling through the air, doubling up in chortling
glee upon his toadstool and pushing his annoying little person into
every disconcerted mortal’s way. Titania emerged, a glowing queen of
filmy draperies, attended by flitting elves, and Oberon resumed his
crafty, flashing earth-character, his attendants being two inflated
and wholly impudent bugs. The Mechanicals, while clumsy, fulfilled
their parts well and brought the outworn humor of Shakespeare into
hilarious reality, the scene between Pyramus and Thisbe never failing
to bring roars of appreciation from the audience. Only the Greeks
were a dank and dismal failure. Hurriedly constructed to meet the
rapidly approaching production date, they were awkward, long-headed,
stiff-jointed creatures highly unlike their graceful originals. But
the lighting and settings, and the prevailing atmosphere of exquisite
unreality were such that the audience came night after night for five
weeks, and at the end of that time, when the theatre closed for the
season, demanded more.”

Mrs. Browne, in an informal letter about her puppets, has written
concerning this performance: “I don’t think I ever have seen such
delicate beauty as was achieved at the end of the Midsummer: I say it
in all simplicity because I have a curious, Irish feeling that the
little dolls took matters into their own hands and for once allowed us
a glimpse into their own secret world. The audience, whether of adults
or of children, never failed to respond with a sudden hush and the
poor, tired girls who had been working in great heat over the colored
lights for two hours never failed to get their reward.” Mrs. Browne
then proceeded to give an idea of the patient toil behind the scenes.
“We rehearsed six hours a day for about seven weeks to prepare the
play. Six girls worked the puppets; there were about thirty of them,
so you can see how many characters each girl had to create and how
many dolls she had to work (my puppeteers spoke for each puppet they
handled). Besides the actual workers, I had an understudy whose duty it
was to stand on the platform back of the girls to take their puppets
from them when the scenes were moving quickly and many characters were
leaving the stage at once; she then hung the puppets where they could
be easily reached for their next entrance. Hers was, of course, the
most thankless task of all because she had none of the pleasure, and
the accuracy of the performance depended upon her efficiency. None who
have not worked with puppets can understand the nervous strain of these
performances.”

The third year of the Chicago puppets saw progress in many directions.
The enthusiasm of the puppeteers had finally been aroused to the
point where each contributed suggestions in the line of mechanical
construction or the adapting of plays. Mr. H. Carrol French of the
South Bend Little Theatre came to be puppet manager and added many
improvements to the mechanism of the dolls, constructing the bodies of
wire instead of wood (some suggestions for which he received through
the courtesy of Mr. Tony Sarg). The new dolls were more sensitive to
manipulation than the old, and more individual in their gestures. The
repertoire for this season consisted of two little fairy plays, _The
Frog Prince_ and _Little Red Riding Hood_, adaptations of Miss Mick,
and then _Alice in Wonderland_, made into a play by Mrs. Browne.
While this play never wove so strong a poetic spell as _A Midsummer
Night’s Dream_, it marked great strides in skill on the part of the
manipulators. This same year the little puppets went on a tour, not
only into the suburbs of Chicago but, under the auspices of the
Drama League, as far as St. Louis. Let us hope that at some not too
distant date Puck, moving sprite among this brave and poetic band of
marionettes, will gaily revive and travel farther with his troupe so
that we all may witness and enjoy his fairy charms.[5]

[Illustration: MARIONETTES AT THE CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

Presenting _The Life of Chopin_

Puppets and scenery designed by Carl Broemel]

The Cleveland Playhouse has had its puppet stage from the very
beginning of the organization. Mr. Raymond O’Neil, the director,
has always taken a great interest in the puppets. He believes, with
Mr. Gordon Craig, that they might well serve as models in style,
simplicity and impersonality for living actors, but he also avers that
they are capable of presenting certain types of drama as effectively
if not more satisfactorily than the best of actors, and certainly
better than any second-rate performers. When the Cleveland Playhouse
was still a very small, informal group it was decided to produce a
serious marionette play. The director selected for this purpose _The
Death of Tintagiles_, written by Maeterlinck expressly for puppets. A
Cleveland artist, Mr. George Clisby, worked out the proper proportions
for the marionettes and the stage and their relation to each other.
It is recognized by all who witness them that the effectiveness and
success of the Cleveland productions are due in great part to the happy
proportions prevailing in the marionette scenes and the sense of a
complete, harmonious whole which they create.

Mr. Clisby also designed the costumes for the first dolls, and the
scenery. Only the significant and essential was allowed upon his
little stage, strong, simple lines and colors, a few poplar trees upon
a hilltop in the blue dusk of the evening, or plain, gloomy chambers
with high arches leading away into mysterious passages, or at the very
last, merely a door, a massive, closed iron door set in bare walls. The
figures were planned in the same spirit. Being very small they were
given practically no features, a scowling eyebrow, a dignified beard,
long hair or short, stiff or flowing, being sufficient indication of
the type represented.

Miss Grace Treat, who made and dressed most of the marionettes, caught
and embodied the artist’s ideal in strange, tall puppets, naïve but
marvelously impressive. The construction of these puppets, although
extremely simple, had to be planned and executed patiently. Often a
marionette was taken apart and made over again until the right effect,
or the proper gesture, was obtained. The puppets are somewhat like rag
dolls, of a soft material, stuffed with cotton or scraps, weighted and
carefully balanced with lead. Five and at most seven strings are used
and the control is very primitive. This studied simplicity in structure
and in costume has given the Cleveland puppets a naïve style,--their
limitations both defining and emphasizing the significance of each
little figure. Miss Treat was also the master-manipulator of the
puppets and in her hands the stiff little Ygraine took on heroic and
tragic proportions.

For many months a small group of faithful enthusiasts struggled to
attain the standard set for them by director and artist. The play was
finally given before an audience of Playhouse members. Mr. O’Neil
produced the strangely beautiful lighting with the crudest facilities
imaginable. The parts were read by members of the group who had been
working along patiently with the manipulators until words, settings and
action had grown perfectly harmonious. Those who were privileged to
witness this first production were deeply thrilled by the poetic beauty
of it, and still mention it as an unusual experience.

Encouraged by this initial success, the group determined to continue
with marionettes. But the Playhouse itself was going through a winter
of vicissitudes and the puppeteers were compelled to endure and suffer
many delays and disappointments. Rehearsing in a rear room of an empty
house loaned for the season (and often fabulously cold!) with readers
and operators dropping out one by one from sheer discouragement or
because of war work, trying out several plays which for one reason or
another proved impossible, still a nucleus of the old group, with the
addition of a few new workers, held on, held out through this second
season under the ever optimistic leadership of Grace Treat. After
moving into other temporary quarters, to be exact, into the high and
dingy little ball-room of an old residence turned boarding-house, the
group produced a very successful repetition of _Tintagiles_.[6]

Meanwhile the Playhouse had purchased a little church which it
remodeled, decorated and equipped as a permanent theatre. During this
time, and under most trying circumstances brought about by the war, the
director contrived to present several productions for the first Winter
in the new playhouse, among them two marionette performances. Most of
the puppeteers and readers for both of these plays were new at the work
and had to be trained from the very beginning. The stage, too, had been
altered to admit of a cyclorama, improved lighting arrangements and,
quite incidentally, a stronger and safer _bridge_. Nevertheless certain
methods and principles of manipulating were evolved which somewhat
raised the dexterity of the group as a whole.

One of the plays we produced was _Shadowy Waters_ by Yeats, a dreamy,
far-away, old Irish drama which lent itself beautifully to our type of
poetic puppets. Mr. John Black designed the colorful costumes and the
scene upon the deck of a vessel. The pleasure of making and dressing
the impressionistic dolls was delegated to me, but all willing members
of the group were allowed to share in this privilege. There were five
long-suffering readers and four patient operators, besides the director
of the group, who also manipulated, with extra assistance, at the
very end, to carry the marionettes back and forth behind the scene.
Mr. O’Neil also generously helped in staging the production. Many and
varied were the rehearsal evenings we spent together. But, when at
last the curtain slowly fell upon the Queen in her turquoise gown with
“hair the color of burning” and her dark, melancholy lover beside her,
deserted by the sailors and drifting away over shadowy blue waters
to the strains of the magic harp, we all felt that we had created
something of beauty, despite our inexperience and obvious shortcomings.

[Illustration: MARIONETTES AT THE CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

  Production of _Shadowy Waters_ by W. B. Yeats
  Puppets and scenery designed by John Black
]

The other puppet play was somewhat in the nature of a departure at
the Playhouse. A little narrative of the life of Chopin, written by
Mr. Albert Gehring, was read to the accompaniment of piano selections
from Chopin’s music while dainty little figures of the period, gently
moving, enacted the scenes in the story as it proceeded. This method
has had many and ancient precedents in the ambulent puppet shows of
the Middle Ages. The success of the experiment has suggested to some
puppeteers in the group the idea of further attempts in this manner.
Mr. Carl Broemel was the artist who designed the elegantly clad and
exquisite little dolls, as well as the setting for the play. The latter
was a remarkable example of a miniature interior which, despite its
diminutive furnishings, had nothing petty about it but gave one the
unified, powerful effect of a dignified painting, poetically and simply
conceived.

Thus the Cleveland puppets have struggled along through hard days of
war and worries, very much alive although perhaps less active than
they may hope some day to be. Plans have been made to start rehearsing
a play longer and more important than the recent endeavors, (possibly
Hauptmann’s _Hannele_). The problem of a permanent marionette theatre
depending upon volunteer workers is unbelievably difficult, but we feel
that with time the solution can be found not only for our group but for
other communities as well who may venture upon this fascinating minor
branch of dramatic endeavor.[7]

To New York accrues the credit of having to-day professional
marionettes on exhibition in a theatre on Broadway. Created by
the inventive genius of Mr. Tony Sarg, and sustained through the
sympathetic interest of Mr. Winthrop Ames, these most accomplished and
amazing dolls made their debut at the Neighborhood Playhouse over a
year ago, whence, after, arousing great enthusiasm, they moved into the
Punch and Judy Theatre. There, before an audience of appreciative big
and little folk, they performed three tales of fable and fantasia, or
as the headlines of a newspaper described it, after the manner of the
old advertisements: “Master marionettes of new Refinements. Strangely
Human Semblance and Various Illusion ... Tale and Whimsey.”

The story of these marionettes began over five years ago in London,
where Mr. Sarg had his studio in _The Old Curiosity Shop_, made famous
by Dickens. There he worked at his illustrating and played with his
puppets. The performances he gave for the amusement of himself and
his friends encouraged him in becoming more and more absorbed in
the miniature stage. After the war had broken out, Mr. Sarg came to
New York and brought his marionettes along. Here he continued his
professional activities, illustrating diligently and most successfully,
with interludes of puppet play. When, finally, Mr. Ames became
interested in presenting these puppets to the public, it was found
necessary to enlarge and elaborate upon the original pattern, and after
many months of experimenting, patient labor and happy inspiration, Mr.
Sarg perfected the ingenious, three-foot marionettes used in these
first public productions.

[Illustration: MR. TONY SARG’S MARIONETTES BEHIND THE SCENES]

Each of his thirty-six or more little figures was designed with an
eye to its special uses; some require as many as twenty-four strings
for the manipulating. One of the little figures is a masterpiece of
flexibility. Of her it has been written: “This doll is an Oriental
dancer. Her contortions and posturings are in perfect imitation of the
living Nautch-girl and it is safe to say that nothing ever seen on
the puppet stage of America at least can surpass the ease and grace
with which her little body sways backward in an inverted crescent, the
ethereal lightness of her circling about the stage and the abandon of
her attitudes in the dance.” Another critic comments with an almost
audible chuckle: “... a nine days’ marvel and most improper. She pains
and shocks all right thinking people by her shameless display of those
allurements against which all the prophets have warned the sons of men.”

I myself was even more impressed by Mr. Sarg’s puppet-juggler. He is
an adorable little expert, tossing and catching his many golden balls
with such tense, nervous concern, jerking his head left and right to
watch first this hand, then that, then a ball high in air and, having
accomplished his trick, he stands with such justifiable pride and
swelling of chest to receive the well-earned plaudits of the audience!
It was a quite irresistible bit of mimicry. There is, indeed, a nice
humor and an enjoyable but not overemphasized flavor of the grotesque
in these marionettes. Heads, hands and feet are a little exaggerated
in proportion to the rest of the body; added to this, the ease with
which they accomplish the humanly impossible and the difficulty with
which they perform some very trivial and ordinary human acts all bring
about a curious absurdity which is highly amusing.

Of the three plays presented the opening season, the first was _The
Three Wishes_, an old fairy tale dramatized by Count F. Pocci for the
marionette theatre of Papa Schmidt in Munich and re-adapted by Mr.
Ames. “The tiny stage,” writes Miss Anne Stoddard, “is set in a shadow
box; the curtain rises on a sunny knoll with a glimpse of red roofs
in the valley below; bright butterflies flutter above the grass; a
saucy Molly cotton-tail bobs across the hillside.” Another witness of
the performance continues: “The supernatural is a ready aid to the
marionette drama. Hence one is not surprised to find in the first play
of Mr. Sarg’s entertainment a fairy being released from an imprisoning
tree by an old woodcutter and offering her liberator the familiar
three wishes. The tale bears one of the morals familiar in German
folklore. The woodcutter, having received his wish-ring, is awed by
the responsibility which rests upon him and rushes to consult with the
wife of his bosom. She is equally perturbed, but guards the ring for
him while he departs to hold conference with the schoolmaster, but how
perverse is human nature! The wife, entertaining a neighbor during his
absence, casually expresses the wish for a plate of sausages. Presto,
sausages hot and tempting appear before her. The woodcutter, returning
and discovering what use his wife has made of the first wish, angrily
wishes the sausages were growing at the end of her nose, and lo, so
they are. The third wish still remains. But what will avail all the
honor and wealth in the world if one’s wife is to make one ridiculous
by carrying sausages on the end of her nose? Clearly there is nothing
to be done but to utilize the third wish in wishing the sausages off
again. And, this accomplished, the fairy appears to preach a homely
sermon, pointing out how vain are human wishes and ambitions. Let each
gain what he would have by his own will and industry and be contented
with the lot he carves for himself.

“The edifying import of this tale is no less impressive than the
spirited enactment of it,--the grace of the fairy, the ardor of the
woodcutter, the nagging of the wife, the fervent emotion displayed
by the housedog at the smell of the sausages. Such a mingling of
fable, parable and sermon, of petty human nature with the inscrutable
supernatural which hedges us all in is the authentic material of
puppet-drama.”

The other two plays, expertly written by Mrs. Hamilton Williamson,
displayed to the greatest advantage the particular talents of the
puppet virtuosi. It is thus that she depicts the task of the marionette
dramatist. “When Mr. Sarg first told me he wanted a snake-charmer, a
juggler, an Oriental dancer, an elephant and a donkey in one play, I
thought I couldn’t possibly get them together; but, you see, I did.”
Yes, indeed, and more besides in the way of adventure, mystery and
humor, very cleverly devised in the energetic, simple language best
suited to the naïve audience of puppet actors. Nor did the duties of
Mrs. Williamson end with her literary labors. Many and inspired were
her humbler but equally arduous and indispensable achievements for
these puppets.

A similar versatility was displayed by the young women who operated the
puppets. Aside from the laboriously acquired precision essential in
mastering the intricate controls devised for the dolls, each puppeteer
has interested herself in other phases of the ancient craft. Some of
them made the elaborate and colorful costumes for the dolls. Some
helped manufacture the properties, tiny but complete and delightful.
My very first glimpse of the marvelous puppets, indeed, was when, led
by Mrs. Williamson, I came to a very dirty brownstone house not far
from Washington Square, and, entering a gloomy hallway, penetrated
through into the dark rear room where the puppeteers were at work,
all in overalls, all very busy, all very amiable. Someone was sawing
wood, someone was hammering, someone was up on the bridge practicing
the donkey and there was a tiny, live monkey perched on the lumber
which littered the floor. Puppets and monkey ... of course!--following
the example of Brioché and his Fagotin and perfectly true to the best
traditions!

[Illustration: A TRICK PUPPET

In Mr. Tony Sarg’s production, _The Rose and the Ring_; showing how
Gruffanuff becomes instantly beautiful upon finding the magic ring]

It is Mr. Sarg who has trained and inspired all of his workers, who
has designed the costumes as well as the faces and hands of the dolls,
modeled after his drawings, who has invented the clever mechanism
and most of the scenery and ingenious “business” of the stage, who
has directed the actors’ interpretation of the lines, selected the
incidental music, superintended the lighting effects, all with an easy
air of merely enjoying his little hobby.

The play selected by Mr. Sarg for his puppets during their second
season was a very fortunate choice. It was Thackeray’s little fairy
story, _The Rose and the Ring_, made into a drama by one of the
puppeteers, Miss Hettie Louise Mick, who had dramatized other tales
for marionettes when she was working with the Chicago puppets.
Nothing could have been better suited to the nature of Mr. Sarg’s
dolls, humorous, dainty, delicious, all in quaint trappings, and with
divertingly elaborate settings suggestive of the Victorian era quite
proper to the story. To add to the excellence of his production,
Mr. Sarg secured Mrs. Browne to advise in staging and to direct the
rehearsing. She applied her usual methods, training the puppeteers
first through having them act out and speak the lines themselves before
operating the dolls. The manipulators always talk for the marionettes
they operate.

To facilitate in taking the show about the country a collapsible stage
was constructed and the puppets were reduced in size. This diminution
of stature brought about a new refinement, a more mincing manner and
a more piquant facial eccentricity. Early in Spring, _The Rose and
The Ring_ went on a Western tour, visiting Detroit, Ann Arbor and
Cleveland. Mr. Sarg had a group of six manipulators, including Miss
Lillian Owen, mistress of the wardrobe and a sort of right-hand man,
and Mr. Searle, master stage mechanic and constructor of clever scenery
and properties, another right-hand man in fact, and Miss Mick, who
wrote the play. A musician also came along and produced the tinkly,
tinny, toy music so properly attuned to the puppet play. The production
abounded in pretty surprises, horrible suspenses, fairy magic,
transformations, shadow play, dancing dolls, piano playing puppets,
knights in armor, animals, everything desirable! Throughout there was
the flow of Thackeray’s inimitable, good-natured satire, skillfully
preserved by Miss Mick. After enthusiastic receptions wherever he
visited with them, Mr. Sarg returned to New York with his marionettes
and installed them in the Punch and Judy theatre, where they continued
to enjoy their usual popularity.

Mr. Sarg has been asked why he does not attempt poetic drama with his
marionettes. He is faced, of course, with the problem which confronts
all the puppet showmen here in America of finding material suitable for
a given type of doll and also acceptable to local audiences, hitherto
unacquainted with the characteristics and traditions of the burattini.
Concerning a possible performance of one of Maeterlinck’s dramas by the
marionettes, Mr. Sarg has said: “I am turning that over in my mind.
The practicable difficulty is the exaggerated walk of the dolls, which
always brings laughter from the audience. But I dare say I can manage
that all right when I have a chance to work over it a bit.” Let us
hope that this minor difficulty will not prove insurmountable, for, as
Mr. H. K. Moderwell in the _Boston Transcript_ has so aptly written:
“If he will draw further from the ancient and noble sources of puppet
literature, if he will bid his dolls enact some of those dramas which
have made the art of the marionette an inspired art, he will merit the
plaudits of all puppet-starved America.”



_Toy Theatres and Puppet Shows for Children_


Whether, out of their infinite variety, the puppets please or fail to
satisfy us, there is one audience invariably eager for them. Puppet
shows for children, toy theatres managed by children, what could be
more fitting? Specially adapted, professional performances such as the
Guignol and Casperle plays have ever catered to youthful tastes with
astonishing and perennial success. The home-made booths for simple
dolls worked on the fingers are so quickly contrived. Little stages for
marionettes are easy to construct out of ordinary kitchen tables. Mr.
Gordon Craig gives explicit directions as well as an excellent drawing
in his letter, _The Game of Marionettes_, which is published in _The
Mask_, volume five. Shadow plays can be arranged by merely stretching
a sheet across a door with a cardboard frame and cardboard figures
pressed behind it and a light to illuminate the silhouettes. How much
fun to have Red Riding Hood thus portrayed, for a birthday party or the
shadow of Santa Claus with his reindeer sailing over the shadow gables
and down the shadow of the chimney on Christmas eve!

The _Juvenile Drama_ of Skelt and his successors, Park, Webb, Redington
and Pollock, has been immortalized by Stevenson in his little essay, _A
Penny Plain and Twopence Colored_. Printed on thin sheets of cardboard
to be cut out and colored by the youthful stage manager (unless he
bought, oh shame! the _Twopence Colored_), were characters and scenes
for the most exciting plays. Special properties for illuminating and
coloring could be acquired also, at extra expense. The words of the
drama, plus directions, were printed in a pamphlet. They were based
upon thrilling old English melodramas; they presented startling and
highly theatrical situations.

“In the Leith Walk window all the year round, there stood displayed a
theatre in working order, with a _Forest Set_, a _Combat_, and a few
_Robbers Carousing_ in the slides; and below and about, dearer tenfold
to me! the plays themselves, those budgets of romance, lay tumbled
one upon the other. Long and often have I lingered there with empty
pockets. One figure, we shall say, was visible in the first plate
of characters, bearded, pistol in hand, or drawing to his ear the
clothyard arrow. I would spell the name: was it Macaire or Long Tom
Coffin, or Grindoff, 2d dress? Oh, how I would long to see the rest!
How--if the name by chance were hidden--I would wonder in what play he
figured and what immortal legend justified his attitude and strange
apparel! And then to go within to announce yourself as an intending
purchaser, and, closely watched, be suffered to undo those bundles and
to breathlessly devour those pages of gesticulating villains, epileptic
combats, bosky forests, palaces and warships, frowning fortresses and
prison vaults--it was a giddy joy.”

“And when at length the deed was done, the play selected and the
impatient shopman had brushed the rest into the gray portfolio, and
the boy was forth again, a little late for dinner, the lamps springing
into light in the blue winter’s even, and _The Miller_, or _The
Rover_, or some kindred drama clutched against his side, on what gay
feet he ran, and how he laughed aloud in exultation!” And Stevenson
confesses: “I have, at different times, possessed _Aladdin_, _The Red
Rover_, _The Blind Boy_, _The Old Oak Chest_, _The Wood Daemon_, _Jack
Shepard_, _The Miller and His Men_, _Der Freischuetz_, _The Smuggler_,
_The Forest of Bondy_, _Robin Hood_, _The Waterman_, _Richard I._,
_My Poll and my Partner Joe_, _The Inchcape Bell_ (imperfect), and
_Three-fingered Jack the Terror of Jamaica_; and I have assisted
others in the illumination of the _Maid of the Inn_ and _The Battle of
Waterloo_. In this roll-call of stirring names you read the evidences
of a happy childhood.”[8]

In Germany, also, toy theaters abound, better equipped possibly, and
more carefully constructed, but lacking somewhat the quaint and fiery
delightfulness of the English juvenile drama.

There could be no more spontaneous testimonial of the love of children
for the puppets than the throngs who crowded into Papa Schmidt’s
Kasperle theatre to witness his familiar, jolly little shows of
fairy-tale and folklore. In striving to meet the tastes and needs of
children, Schmidt earned the reward of becoming the best beloved man
in the city. It is interesting to note that when, once, he became
discouraged and wished to retire, the city magistrates, urged by the
_superintendent of the schools_, unanimously voted to build him a
permanent little theatre.

And Goethe, that German genius of most universal appeal, records that
he devoted many hours of his childhood to puppet play. Kept at home
during the dreary days of the Seven Years’ War when Frankfurt was
occupied by the French, he diverted not only himself but his family
with the little marionette theatre which he had received as a Christmas
gift. It is thus that he describes his introduction to the puppets who
were to delight his boyhood, to amuse his youth and to inspire him
eventually with the suggestion for his great Faust drama.

“I can still see the moment--how wonderful it seemed--when, after the
usual Christmas presents, we were told to sit down before a door which
led from one room into another. It opened, but not merely for the
usual passing in and out; the entrance was filled with an unexpected
festiveness. A portal reared itself into the heights which was covered
by a mystic curtain. At first we marvelled from a distance and as our
curiosity became greater to see what glittering and rustling things
might be concealed behind the half-transparent drapery, a little chair
was assigned to each of us and we were told to wait in patience.

“So then we all sat down and were quiet. A whistle gave signal, the
curtain rose and disclosed a scene in the Temple, painted bright red.
The High Priest Samuel appeared with Jonathan, and their curious
dialogue seemed most admirable to me. Shortly thereafter Saul came upon
the scene in great distress, over the insolence of the heavy-weight
warrior who had challenged him and his followers to combat. How
relieved I was when the diminutive son of Jesse sprang forth with
shepherd’s crook, wallet and sling and spoke thus: ‘Almighty King
and great Lord! Let none despair because of this. If your Majesty
will permit me, I will go forth and enter into combat with the mighty
giant.’ The first act was ended and the audience extremely desirous to
learn what would happen next,” etc., etc.

[Illustration: GERMAN PUPPET SHOW FOR CHILDREN

Designed for use in the home

[Reproduced from _Kind und Kunst_]]

The puppets may indeed boast of having delighted child geniuses of
every country and of having inspired their later years. We are told
that at the age of eleven Stanislaw Wyspianski, the great poet,
painter and dramatist of Poland, built himself a large stage or
_Crib_ imitating architecturally the Castle of Wawel. On this stage
he produced various dramas based upon the history of that royal burg,
with the help of figures which he himself invented. “Perhaps,” his
biographer suggests, “already there was germinating in his boyish soul
the idea of the Theatre-Wawel which in his manly productiveness brought
forth manifold fruits.” (L. de Schildenfeld Schiller.) In Italy, too,
we find the great dramatist Goldoni devoted to puppet play as a child
and writing dramas for the burattini which he is said to have adapted
later, with great success, for the larger stage.

Most famous, perhaps, of all popular puppets for children to-day are
the Guignols in Paris. A typical performance might be found in the
garden of the Luxembourg, where a little stage has been erected. One
has the privilege of standing outside the roped-off space with passing
pastry cooks, milliners’ girls and street urchins, or one may pay to
enter and sit down on a chair among the children and nurses. Coachmen
rein up and watch from their high perches at the curb. Polichinelle
first comes upon the stage with his piping voice, or the Director, a
doll in evening dress with waxed mustachios, welcomes the audience.
Then Guignol and the terrifying family scenes!

Mr. W. Caine has given a very illuminating analysis of the guignols.
“But who are all these people? Guignol, Guillaume, the Judge, the
Patron, the Nurse? You might know that Guignol is Guillaume’s father,
while Guillaume is the son of Guignol. The Gendarme, on the other hand,
is the Gendarme, while the Judge, similarly, is the Judge. The Patron
is none other than the Patron, and who should the Nurse be, in the
name of common sense, but the Nurse? The Gendarme is always killed,
always. The Judge expends his wrath impotently, always. The Patron is
invariably worsted, the Nurse has no sort of luck. Guignol represents
the proletariat. He wears a dark green jacket and a black hat....
His face is large and foolish, for he is what is known as a benet, a
simpleton.... He tries to give his own baby its dinner by thrusting
it head-first into a stewing pan. Guillaume wears a red hat and pink
blouse.... Guillaume is, in one word, a rascal. It is certain when once
Guillaume gets hold of a stick, or musket, or a stewing-pan (anything
will do) that somebody will bite the dust.”

The enthusiasm of the juvenile audience grows most intense over the
exploits of this favorite, and it is not unusual when Guillaume is
sore put to it and the Gendarme is about to pounce upon him, to
hear a shrill little voice from the audience cry out, ‘Take care,
Guillaume, the Gendarme is behind the door!’ When for the first time
the adventurous Guillaume ascended in an aeroplane, so great was his
success that the price of seats in the Champs Élysées went from 10
centimes to 25!!”

Guignol is often to be found during the season at bathing resorts and
at the seashore. Each of the larger shows in Paris has a portable booth
belonging to it wherein its little cast can be sent out to perform at
private entertainments. It is not uncommon for the play to be sent to
the orphans and waifs in this manner as a special treat for fête days.

We find the puppets equally beloved by the children of Italy. In _The
Marionette_ there is a sympathetic picture of a juvenile audience at
the theatre of the Lupi family in Torina. “On the evenings of ordinary
days the auditorium does not differ in aspect from that of the other
theatres. To see it in its especial beauty one must go to the Sunday
afternoon performance, when hundreds of boys and girls fill the seats
and benches, and form, in the _platea_ and the boxes, so many bouquets,
garlands of blond heads; and the variety of light bright colors of
their clothes give it the appearance of a sala decked with flowers and
flags for a fête.

“On the rising of the curtain one may say that two performances begin.
It is delightful, during a spectacular scene, to see all those eyes
wide open as at an apparition from another world--those expressions of
the most supreme amazement, in which life seems suspended--those little
mouths open in the form of an O, or of rings and semicircles--those
little foreheads corrugated as if in a tremendous effort of philosophic
cogitation, which then relax brusquely as on awaking from a dream.
Then, all at once, at a comic scene, at a funny reply or action of one
of the characters, whole rows of little bodies double up with laughter,
lines of heads are thrown back, shaking masses of curls, disclosing
little white necks, opening mouths, like little red caskets full of
minute pearls; and in the impetus of their delight some embrace their
brother or sister, some throw themselves in their mother’s arms, and
many of the smallest fling themselves back in their seats with their
legs in the air, innocently disclosing their most secret _lingerie_.
And then, to see how in the passion of admiration they furiously push
aside the importunate handkerchief which seeks their little noses, or
deal a blow without preface to whoever hides from them the view of the
stage! There are three hundred pairs of hands that applaud with all
their might, and that, among them all, do not make as much noise as
four men’s hands; one seems to see and to hear the flutter of hundreds
of rosy wings, held by so many threads to the seats.

“And the admiring and enthusiastic exclamations are a joy to hear. At
the unexpected opening of certain scenes, at the appearance of certain
lambs or little donkeys or pigs that seem alive, there are outbursts
of ‘Oh!’ and long murmurs of wonder, behind which comes almost always
some solitary exclamation of a little voice which resounds in the
silence like a sigh in a church, and ... ‘Ah, com’e bello!’ ... that
breaks from the depths of the soul, that expresses fulness of content,
a celestial beatitude.”

[Illustration: ENGLISH TOY THEATRE

  _Upper_: Figures to be cut out for the Juvenile Dramas
  _Lower_: Back scene for _Timour the Tartar_

[Courtesy of B. Pollock, 73 Hoxton Street, London]]

When Mr. Tony Sarg brought _The Rose and The Ring_ west it was a rare
privilege for the children of Cleveland to see this winsome puppet play
and an equal pleasure for those elders who witnessed the performance
with them. _What_ was behind the little curtain? A few boys and girls
went tiptoe up to peek. Then, listen! there is music and then, oh! the
funny little man singing a song, and oh! the long-nosed little King
snoring on his throne, and the funny soldier, Hedsoff, saluting so
briskly, and the ugly old Lady Gruffanuff! And see the Fairy Blackstick
come floating in and do things and say things to people and Princess
Angelica playing piano and dancing. How can she, so little and only a
dolly? What a fat Prince Bulbo and oh, the armoured men on horseback
fighting! (“Why ha’ dey dose knives, Mudda?” questioned one little
girl, aloud, all unacquainted with the days of Chivalry). And then the
roaring Lion! My four-year-old daughter still calls the lion a bear:
but it pleased her notwithstanding, particularly the _roar_ of it.
“Oh, I just juve Mr. Sarg’s ma-inette dolls, Mudda,” she exclaimed, a
day after the blissful event. “Why don’t we have ma-inette dolls many
times?” Why indeed, or, why not?!

Elnora Whitman Curtis, in her book _The Dramatic Instinct in
Education_, emphasizes the educational value of puppets. She would have
shows in the schools, or better yet, in playgrounds with the advantage
of fresh air. Subjects, she claims, could be vivified, literature and
history lessons more deeply impressed upon the great number of pupils
who never get beyond the grades. And for older children there would
be the training in the writing of dialogues, in the declaiming of
them, practice in fashioning the puppets, the costumes, the scenery,
the properties and in operating and directing. Miss Curtis concludes:
“Anyone who has watched a throng of small boys and girls as they sit
in the tiny, roped-off square before a little chatelet in Paris on
the Champs Élysées, or those that gather in Papa Schmidt’s exquisite
little theatre in Munich, or before the tiny booths at fairs and
exhibitions anywhere in Italy, must have noticed the rapturous delight
of these small people. The tiny stage, its equipment, accessories,
the diminutive garments and belongings of the puppets satisfy the
childish love of the miniature copies of things in the grown-up world.
Their animistic tendencies make it easy to endow the wooden figures
with human qualities and bring them into close rapport with their own
world of fancy. The voice coming from some unknown region adds the
mystery which children dearly love, and before the magic of fairy-tales
their eyes grow wide with wonder. The stiff movement of the puppets,
their sudden collapses from dignity, are irresistibly funny to the
little people and the element of buffoonery is doubly comical in its
mechanical presentation.”

Less specifically, but with equal conviction of their deep educational
importance, Gordon Craig proclaims: “There is one way in which to
assist the world to become young again. It is to allow the young mind
to learn nearly all things from the marionette.”



_A Plea for Polichinelle_


I am making a plea for Polichinelle and I hope I shall be pardoned for
summoning to my assistance some of his more eloquent and illustrious
admirers. We have seen that the past has eminently honored him, but
there is also ample testimony that he can adapt himself to our present
time and taste, nay more, to the various tastes and tempers of this
modern day. For there are divers theories and principles among critics
of the puppets, but the puppets are so versatile they can play many
parts in many manners. “Chacun a son gout!” quoth Polichinelle with a
flourish.

There are those who believe that the grotesque is an inherent,
indispensable trait of the marionette; that, as Flögel claims,
Kasperle, quintessence of grotesque comedy, belongs inseparably to the
marionette stage and that everything else is meaningless, insipid,
and merely experimental. Similarly, Professor Wundt asserts that
the ministration to the sense of the comic is the chief function of
the puppets and perhaps the greatest factor in their popularity. He
mentions their mirth-provoking superiority to the situation, the
element of the unexpected, heightened enormously by wooden creatures
who imperturbably proceed upon occasions to contradict the very law
of gravity. These traits, he feels, are essential and distinguishing
characteristics of marionettes.

In comparing the merry Kasperle theatre of Munich with the serious
puppet theatre established by the young artists of that city, Wilhelm
Michel emphasizes this point of view. “Pure tragic effects cannot
emanate from the marionette stage because, in the first place, there
are no human beings acting upon it but rather ironies of humanity,
mockeries of men; suffering cannot be given upon it, only travesties of
suffering. If this constitutional irony of the puppet is not handled
in an artistic spirit, unbearable dissonances occur.... The working of
the marionette stage is pure, unmixed gayety. The dolls are not, as
our young poets imagine, representatives and agents of submission, but
rather delightful little liberators, amiable, amusing victors over the
petty doubts which we all carry about with us in unobserved corners of
our souls.”

This opinion is undeniably supported by traditional usage. Humor may
vary from the buffoonery of Hanswurst to the satirical subtleties of De
Neuville’s pupazzi, but the spirit of comedy has had a representative
on the puppet stage in every land. What a long list might be compiled,
starting with the hunchback Vidusaka of ancient India, then on through
Semar of Javanese comedy, Karagheuz of Turkey, Pahlawan of Persia
(squeaking in the same feigned voice as the English Punch), to say
nothing of Maccus, the Roman Puppet, and Arlecchino, and Pulcinella
with their merry train from all over Italy, even including the later
Signor Macaroni. There are the German and Austrian Hanswurst and
Kasperle, Jackpudding and Punch in England, Polichinelle, Harlequin,
Jean Potage, and even more recently Guignol and Guillaume in France,
Paprika, Jancsi of Hungary, Picklehoerring of Holland and ever so many
more, rollicking and indispensable humorists of the puppet theatre.
M. Charles Magnin, most distinguished historian of the marionette,
proclaims his unalterable faith in Polichinelle: “Do you know, then,
what Polichinelle is? He is the good sense of the people, the brisk
sally, the irrepressible laughter. Yes, Polichinelle will laugh and
sing as long as the world contains vices, follies and things to
ridicule. You see very well that Polichinelle is not near his death.
Polichinelle is immortal!”

Professor Pischel agrees that the puppet play is the favorite child
of the people and merely the step-child of the cultured because it
owes its origin to the common people and is a clearer mirror of their
thoughts and feelings than any more finished poetry. Mr. Howard,
too, in the _Boston Transcript_, somewhat resents the marionette
performances in the new manner, feeling that the old traditional shows
were “more childlike, more simple, more human.”

Innumerable artists of the last few decades, however, esteem the
marionette as an excellent medium of serious dramatic expression,
possessing a poetic style and a conventionalized, impersonal
symbolism. Ernst Ehlert, himself an actor as well as lover of puppets,
writes thus of Pühony’s marionettes:

“The object of every work of art, the thing that makes it truly
artistic, is the attainment of the greatest possible emotional effect
with the simplest possible means. What makes a work of art a real
delight is that it does not fully express but merely suggests and
excites the imagination of the observer to help in the presentation
of the reality. That is why a puppet play is not only more amusing
but more artistic than a real one.” He continues: “Puppets, moreover,
have style. They are cut out sharply to represent their particular
characteristics, and those characteristics are pronounced. The manager
of a puppet show has a free hand in the fashioning of such a company
as best carries out his creative impulse. But with real actors it
is impossible to make them other than they are, to subordinate them
entirely to the manager’s will. I have been an actor, both in Germany
and in Russia ... so I know.”

Again, Mr. Arthur Symons, after witnessing the fantoccini of the
Cortanzi theatre in Rome, expresses the following belief in the
art-marionette: “Gesture on the stage is the equivalent of rhythm in
verse. In our marionette, then, we get personified gesture, and the
gesture, like all forms of emotion, generalized. The appeal in what
seems to you these childlike manoeuvers is to a finer because to a more
intimately poetic sense of things than the merely rationalistic appeal
of our modern plays.” Furthermore, he adds concerning the puppet: “As
he is painted so he will smile, as the wires lift or lower his hands so
will his gestures be and he will dance when his legs are set in motion.
There is not, indeed, the appeal to the senses of the first row in the
stalls at a ballet of living dancers. But why leave the ball-room? It
is not nature one looks for on the stage in this kind of a spectacle,
and our excitement in watching it should remain purely intellectual.
This is nothing less than a fantastic and direct return to the masks of
the ancient Greeks, that learned artifice by which tragedy and comedy
were assisted in speaking to the world in the universal voice by this
deliberate generalizing of emotions.”

The marionettes of M. Signoret, as we have seen, from Anatole France’s
enthusiastic account, presented the classic drama of all epochs to the
satisfaction of the most acutely sensitive critics of Paris. M. Paul
Margueritte brilliantly eulogizes them in the following discussion:
“They are indefatigable, always ready. And while the name and too
familiar face of a living actor imposes upon the public an obsession
which renders illusion impossible or very difficult, the puppets being
of wood or cardboard possess a droll, mysterious life. Their truthful
bearing surprises, even disquiets us. In their essential gestures there
is the complete expression of human feelings. We had it proved at the
representations of Aristophanes; real actors would not have produced
this effect. In them the foreshortening aided the illusion. Their masks
in the style of ancient comedy, their few and simple movements, their
statuesque poses, gave a singular grace to the spectacle.”

This leads us to the well-known name of Gordon Craig and to his
inspired, emphatic utterances concerning the actor and the marionette.
No one of late has done as much as he toward reviving the interest in
puppets and stimulating curiosity concerning them. His collection of
puppets and shadow figures forms a veritable museum of marionettes
from all parts of the world. His many articles in _The Mask_ and in a
later publication called _The Marionettes_, both published in Florence
at the Arena Goldoni, direct attention to the puppet;--more, it must
be admitted, as a model or suggestion to the actor, than as a minor
art-form in itself. Recognizing its many merits, Mr. Craig would send
the modern actor to the school of the burattini to learn virtues of
silence, obedience, “to learn how to indicate instead of imitate.” He
deems the stage of to-day devoid, in great part, of genuine dramatic
value, filled up with much meaningless realistic detail, inartistic
and irritating gestures, and prominent players exhibiting their own
peculiar personalities more or less attractively in various rôles. He
would agree with Anatole France: “The actors spoil the play for me. I
mean good actors,--their talent is too great; it covers everything.
There is nothing left but them. Their personality effaces the work
which they represent.” Indeed, Gordon Craig boldly proclaims: “The
actor must go and in his place comes the inanimate figure, the
Über-marionette we may call him until he has won for himself a better
name.” And in _The Promise of a New Art_ he has written: “What the
wires of the Über-marionette shall be, who shall guide him?--The wires
which stretch from Divinity to the soul of the poet are wires which
might command him.”

These sentiments are familiar to those acquainted with the art and
writings of Mr. Craig, but it is indeed interesting to find somewhat
similar ideas expressed in the delightful but “different” manner
of a most eminent contemporary, Mr. G. Bernard Shaw. In a letter
concerning the puppets of his acquaintance, Mr. Shaw has written: “In
my youth (say 1865–75) there was a permanent exhibition in Dublin, the
proprietor of which was known as Mons Dark, which is Irish for Monsieur
d’Arc. From that show I learned that marionettes can produce a much
stronger illusion than bad actors can; and I have often suggested that
the Academy of Dramatic Art here try to obtain a marionette performance
to teach the students that very important part of the art of acting
which consists of not acting: that is, allowing the imagination of the
spectator to do its lion’s share of the work.”

Aside, however, from this not insignificant value as an example to
the actor of the future, the marionette has a positive and individual
contribution to make in the field of drama, a contribution which
the marionette alone can provide. There seem to be certain types
of plays more advantageously presented by puppets or shadows than
by human beings. These little creatures of wood or cardboard have
naturally that “sense of being beyond reality” which, according to
John Balance, “permeates all good art.” There is an article in the
_Hyperion, 1909_, by Franz Blei, critic and aesthete. He states: “I
believe there will always be certain dramatic poetry whose beauty
can be more significantly and effectively revealed by shadows than
by living actors. The shadow play will supplement the theatre of
living actors on one side as the marionette stage already does on the
other, in Paul Brann’s very brilliant productions, for example. With
shadows, the forcefulness of the verse and the emotional element is
very much heightened in effect; with marionettes the significance of
the action is intensified to a far greater degree than is attainable
by human beings, a point to which H. V. Kleist has already drawn
attention in praise of marionettes. With shadow plays, as with puppet
performances, the readers should not be professional actors, for their
very way of speaking invariably mimics the mannerisms of the man. The
limited movements of the shadows, however, suffer from this and also
the gestures of the marionettes which have a wider range but which
do not in the least resemble the customary stage gestures. Talented
dilettantes with good taste are more apt to strike the right note. I
fancy that the shadows and marionettes might please some people who had
not visited the theatre for quite a while, because they were unwilling
to waste their time on highly lifelike but utterly lifeless theatrical
productions.”

Professor Brander Matthews, in his _Book about the Theatre_, also
insists upon the adaptability of the marionettes for certain types of
drama unsatisfactory when performed by living actors. He suggests that
a passion play or any form of drama in which Divinity has perforce to
appear is relieved in the puppet show of any tincture of irreverence,
all personages of the play, whether heavenly or earthly, appearing
equally remote from common humanity upon the miniature stage. The
religious plays of Maurice Bouchor, artistic and reverent productions
in every detail, beautifully illustrate this point. The atmosphere
M. Jules Lemaître describes as “far away in time and space,”--this
of the mystery play, _Noël_. Again Professor Matthews maintains that
when _Salome_ was performed by Holden’s marionettes and created the
sensation of the season, all vulgarity and grossness which might have
been offensive either in the play or in the dance of the seven veils
was purged away by the fact that the performers were puppets. “So
dextrous was the manipulation of the unseen operator who controlled
the wires and strings which gave life to the seductive Salome as she
circled around the stage in a most bewitching fashion; so precise
and accurate was the imitation of a human dancer, that the receptive
spectator could not but feel that here at last a play of doubtful
propriety has found its only fit stage and its only proper performance.
The memory of that exhibition is a perennial delight to all those who
possess it. A thing of beauty it was and it abides in remembrance as a
joy forever. It revealed the art of the puppet show at its summit. And
the art itself was eternally justified by that one performance of the
highest technical skill and the utmost delicacy of taste.”

There are other spheres also in which the puppets have an advantage
over mere mortal actors. Fairy stories, legends of miraculous
adventure, metamorphoses are tremendously heightened by the quality
of strangeness inherent in the marionettes. “For puppet plays,” says
Professor Pischel, “are fairy-tales and the fairy-tale is nourished by
strangeness.” Transformations, animal fables, fairy flittings in scenes
of mysterious glamour are obviously more easily presented by fleshless
dolls than by heavy, panting and perspiring actors tricked out in
unnatural and unearthly raiment.

Even horseplay humor of the Punch and Judy variety is unobjectionable
with puppets where the whacking and thwacking is done by and upon
jolly, grotesque little beings who are neither pained nor debased by
the procedure. With some such idea William Hazlitt has written:

“That popular entertainment, Punch and the Puppet-show, owes part
of its irresistible and universal attraction to nearly the same
principle of inspiring inanimate and mechanical agents with sense and
consciousness. The drollery and wit of a piece of wood is doubly droll
and farcical. Punch is not merry in himself, but ‘he is the cause of
heartfelt mirth in other men.’ The wires and pulleys that govern his
motion are conductors to carry off the spleen, and all ‘that perilous
stuff that weighs upon the heart.’ If we see numbers of people turning
the corner of a street, ready to burst with secret satisfaction, and
with their faces bathed in laughter we know what is the matter--that
they are just come from a puppet-show.

“I have heard no bad judge of such matters say that ‘he liked a comedy
better than a tragedy, a farce better than a comedy, a pantomime better
than a farce, but a peep-show best of all.’ I look upon it that he who
invented puppet shows was a greater benefactor to his species than he
who invented Operas!”

The marionette has come to America. Some of the more venturesome of
this wandering race have crossed the high seas and entered hopefully
into our open country. Are we not to welcome these immigrants? Can
we not possibly assimilate them into our national life? Might we not
benefit by their contribution? I make a plea for Polichinelle in the
United States, the pleasant hours, the joyous moments of his bestowing.

How excellent if schools and playrooms might have their puppet booths
for the happier exposition of folk and fairy tales or even for
patriotic propaganda! I can see innumerable quaint silhouettes of
_Pilgrim Fathers_ bending the knee and giving thanks, or of _Indian
Chiefs_, all feathery, in solemn conclave, with Pocahontas dashing
madly forward to save the life of Captain John Smith. It would be
delicious to witness _George Washington_, in shadows, chopping down his
father’s little cherry tree: and as for _Lincoln and Slavery_ ... it
actually happened that in 1867 Benedict Rivoli produced _Uncle Tom’s
Cabin_, with a company of puppets; it has happened in our vaudeville
houses often, why not once in a while in our schools? Small groups of
grown folks, too, in city or village, might easily build their own
marionette stages and attempt to produce dramas of all times; humorous,
satirical, poetic or mystical, each to his taste and independent of
the whim of a Broadway manager or the peculiarities of a popular star.
It is such a naïve and simple pastime and sometimes so delightful. I
should like to suggest it as an antidote for the overdose of moving
pictures from which an overwhelming number of us are unconsciously
suffering atrophy of the imagination, or a similar insidious malady.[9]

One must be quite unsophisticated to enjoy the marionettes, or quite
sophisticated. Plain people, children and artists, seem to take
pleasure in them. One must have something childlike, or artistic, in
one’s nature, perhaps merely a little imagination in an unspoiled,
vigorous condition. Of course the stiff little figures, the peculiar
conventions of the puppet stage are strange to us in America. There are
those who do not _like_ puppets and those who _do_ not _can_ not, I
suppose. No one _must_ like them: but none should scorn them. To scorn
them is, somehow, to show too great disregard and lack of knowledge.
And we, over here, who have not as youngsters laughed aloud at the
drolleries of Guignol, who have not learned our folk-tales interspersed
with the antics of some local Kasperle, who are not surprised by Punch
and Judy at a familiar street corner, now and then, who have not been
privileged to witness the spectacular faeries of Italian fantoccini,
the exquisite shadows of the Chat Noir, the elaborate modern plays at
the Munich art-theatre,--how can we really say _what_ we think of the
marionette? If we see more of him first; if we give our puppeteers
(professional and amateur) more time to master their craft, perhaps,
who knows, something nice may come of it all. There are some great
words I should like to quote for little Polichinelle, artificial
or strange as he may seem. “And therefore, as a stranger, give him
welcome.”



_Behind the Scenes_


FOR THE FUN OF IT

But why prate of benefit or pleasure to past or present audiences of
the marionette when the best reason for the pupazzi, the true reason
I do believe, for their continuance and longevity is the _fun_ of
puppet-playing? I confess it: nay, I proclaim it the foundation for
my deep affection. And who shall find a firmer basis for any love
than this,--interest, amusement, stimulation? Reverence or even
understanding are far less vital, less compelling motives. Of course
this applies to puppets. Everything applicable to humanity fits the
burattini, for we are all so much the dancing dolls of destiny, satiric
or serious, crude or precious puppets, all of us. One should truly have
a fellow feeling for Punch and Judy.

As to the fun, however, of making puppets and of tinkering with the
mechanical contrivances, the total absorption with such problems and
the elation in overcoming absurd but seemingly insurmountable technical
difficulties; the delight in carving and cutting, in designing
costumes and then in sewing, glueing, painting, patching them into
proper semblance of the original design: the art required properly to
conceive a setting for dolls, the ingenuity exerted to decorate the
stage, the delicious Lilliputian proportions of things, the charming
effects contrived out of almost anything or nothing at all; and, in
manipulating, the thrill of acquiring after long effort a full control
of the doll at the end of the wires, of telegraphing one’s emotions
down into the responsive little body; and the whimsical delight in
writing for puppets (one dare be so impudent, being so impersonal and
unpretentious!)--who shall say that such an aggregate of wholesome,
creative enjoyment to an entire group of childlike grown-up folk is
not sufficient vindication for Polichinelle and his kind? With so
much bubbling enthusiasm behind the scenes, how can a proper audience
be altogether bored? If they are bored it is a sure sign they are no
proper audience!


WRITING FOR THE PUPPETS

     “The life of man to represent
      And turn it all to ridicule,
      Wit did a puppet-show invent,
      Where the chief actor is a fool.”

                               JONATHAN SWIFT.

No one appreciates how funny people are until he has written a play
for puppets. There’s nothing any person has ever said which isn’t
amusing, honestly and truly amusing, when transferred to the mouth of a
marionette. Try it and see.

Take any conversation you may have overheard. Take as many puppets as
there were people talking. Dress them to indicate the characters, try
to imitate the most pronounced gestures and postures of your people
... and let them speak, verbatim, the words that have been spoken.

It is simply funny, a sort of unconscious, undeniable criticism of the
manners of men. There will always be a _point_, too, a sort of moral
at the minimum. No one can fail to see it, either in the words or the
gestures or the situations. The puppets will find it and bring it out.
Produce the puppets and try it!

I frankly confess I shudder to imagine myself _done in puppet_. What a
cure for idiosyncrasies and affectations!


A REHEARSAL OF TINTAGILES

In all the lack-luster of realism we “stood on the bridge at midnight.”
Four of us stood on the bridge and we were very weary. It was the
bridge of our marionette stage over which we had been bending for
hours. From out in front somewhere the director spoke: “Now, once more
the third act ... and remember they must lean _against_ the door when
it opens as if they were trying desperately to hold it. See that the
strings do not catch. Readers, please watch the figures and give them
plenty of time.... Ready?” We were, tensely so.

The beautiful, sad voice of Ygraine gave us the mood. “I have been to
look at the doors ... there are three of them....” Aglovale (old and
tremulous): “I will go seat myself upon the step, my sword upon my
knee....”

“Aglovale, lean back farther against the step; don’t perch on the
edge.” (This from the front.) Aggie (as we familiarly called him)
thereupon proceeded to jerk up and sit down deliberately a couple of
times, then followed a twitching, collapsing, stiffening process....
“Sorry, it’s the little hump in his shoulders and the step is so
narrow!” wailed a tired unseen operator. During the struggle Belangere
flopped inelegantly on the floor, her manipulator resting a weary
wrist. Clearing of throats, scraping of chairs from the readers in the
wings.

Patient director: “Well, let it go for to-night. You may have to remove
the hump. Are we ready?” We were.

The play proceeded. On the miniature stage in dim, high-arched rooms,
bare and gloomy, slender, strange little creatures moved with stiff,
imposing gestures. It is an ominous world, the atmosphere vibrating
with hidden terror, tense emotions and lonely overtones. Princess
Ygraine, to the little Tintagiles: “There, you see...? Your big sisters
are here ... they are close to you ... we will defend you and no evil
can come near.”

Oh, the tenderness, the dauntlessness, the pathos ... high hearts
encircled by creeping, inevitable doom.

Then the old man, mumbling at his own bewildered futility: “My soul is
heavy to-day.” (A hand is raised, an old hand, tremblingly.) “What is
one to do...? Men needs must live and await the unforeseen.... And
after that they must still act as if they hoped....” (The arm drops,
heavy ... a silence.) “There are sad evenings when our useless lives
taste bitter in our mouths ... etc.”

The scene proceeds, on and on in ascending tensity, readers sitting at
the wings, puppeteers operating the wires high up, the director off
at his desk in the dark, ... and the marionettes animated into vital
significance, symbols of supreme and simplified fervor ... dread, love,
courage....

“They are shaking the door, listen. Do not breathe. They are whispering.

“They have the key....

“Yes, yes, I was sure of it.... Wait....”

Old Aglovale faces the slowly opening door, his sword outstretched; the
others stand rigid with terror.

“Come! Come both....”

They face the door, they hold it. Their watchfulness avails for the
time being. The door closes.

“Tintagiles!”

Aglovale, waiting at the door: “I hear nothing now....”

Ygraine, wild with joy. “Tintagiles, look! Look!... He is saved!...
Look at his eyes.... You can see the blue.... He is going to speak....
They saw we were watching.... They did not dare.... Kiss us!... Kiss
us, I say!... All, all!... Down to the depths of our soul!...”

A silence, a long silence. Then ... the boards creak as the operators
stand up to rest their aching backs.

“Well, Belangere mounted the steps pretty well that time. But don’t
forget to take a stitch in her left leg; she still has a tendency to
pivot.”

“Yes, I’ll do it and I’ll lengthen her back string; I think that’s it
... and take away some of Aggie’s hump.”

From the sublime to the absurd, no doubt. But there are the puppets
hung up ... quietly and sternly gazing, each little character.

No, they are not absurd, patiently, almost scornfully awaiting the
subtler grasp of some master hand to bring out the rare potentialities
sleeping within them. Awkward, silly dolls they may appear in a clumsy
hand, but even we amateurs who serve them faithfully sense more than
this in them. So, while we pull the strings and move these singular,
small creatures in measured gestures we feel that we are handling crude
but expressive symbols of large, fine things.


THE MAKING OF A MARIONETTE

The puppets used in the Cleveland Playhouse are neither realistic,
humorous, nor clever. They are very simple, somewhat impressionistic
and quite adequate and effective for certain types of drama. They
appeal to the imagination of the spectator. Under favorable conditions
one forgets their diminutive size, their crude construction, even their
lack of soul.

[Illustration: PATTERNS FOR THE MARIONETTE BODY DRAWN BY THE SCULPTOR,
MR. MAX KALISH]

These patterns for the marionette body were drawn by the sculptor,
Mr. Max Kalish, especially for figures which were shown with little
clothing on. If the dolls are to be dressed it is better to make
separate upper and lower arms and legs, and to join them flexibly or
stiffly, as the action of the particular puppet requires.

The material we have used is soft white woven stuff (stockings from the
ten-cent store!), which can be painted with tempera any color desired.
The patterns shown allow for a good seam. The front and back are alike,
also right and left limbs. Each marionette will need some adjusting
which one discovers as one works along. We have used a narrow tape to
join the arms and legs.

The dolls are stuffed with soft rags or cotton. The limbs must be
stiffly filled out and firm, the chest also. The lower part of the
torso should be left softer. In the hands we insert cardboard to
stiffen the wrists.

We use lead to weight the dolls. Small shot is good for filling up
the hands and feet. Larger pieces of lead are used for the torso,
lower arm and lower leg. No lead is put in the upper arm or upper
leg. The reasons for this will be discovered as soon as one practices
manipulating the figures. Care must be used to have the body properly
balanced and to have the feet heavy.

The control is a simple piece of wood with five screw eyes to which the
strings are tied. More may be added to operate the feet or for other
purposes. When using these extremely crude little dolls, however, it
is best to depend upon simple means and a few gestures. The strings can
be of heavy black thread or fishing cord, the latter is not so apt to
become twisted. The strings are attached to the hands, the shoulders,
and the center of the back. The hand strings should be loose, the
others carefully measured to balance the doll evenly.

In dressing the puppets one must allow plenty of room at the elbow,
knee, etc., for free action. We have kept our dolls very simple, the
faces and hands painted over, the hair of wool or cotton.

Of the manipulating little can be said. There is no way to learn
except by getting up on the bridge and _doing_ it. Too much petty
gesticulation in these dolls is ineffective. It is better to hold the
gesture. Deliberation and patience are the chief requirements for a
successful operator, given a certain natural deftness of hand which is
primarily essential.



_Construction of a Marionette Stage_

BY RAYMOND O’NEIL


The marionette stage shown in the diagram has a proscenium opening
six feet long by four feet high and is meant for productions that use
marionettes from twelve to fourteen inches in height. It is a stage
that can be built even by amateurs both readily and cheaply. It is,
of course, necessary that some one who is familiar with the electric
wiring should be consulted in that part of the work.

The stage is in two sections: the stage floor proper, to which is
attached the footlight box, and the proscenium arch, which is made to
be demounted and is held to the stage floor by right angle braces. The
stage floor itself is made of ⅞″ stock which may run from eight to
twelve inches in width. These boards are fastened to 2×4’s which run
from the front to the back of the stage. Three lengths of these 2×4’s
are all that are necessary. The box which holds the footlights may
be made of ½″ stock which should be just deep enough to hold 60-watt
lamps. Three circuits should be run into this box to provide for red,
blue and green lamps. The diagram shows only one lamp to each color
placed in the box, but to obtain the best results three or four lamps
should be used on each circuit. Small stage connectors which can be
obtained at any electrical dealer’s should be placed in the floor to
take care of the lines that run to No. 1 border, No. 2 border and to
the various other lamps such as small floods and small spotlights,
which will be found necessary for different effects. Both No. 1 and No.
2 borders should have three circuits running into them for red, blue
and green lamps, and there should be from four to six lamps on each
circuit. These borders may be placed in any position from the front
to the back of the stage that the setting may demand. A convenient
place from which to suspend them is from the operating platform which
is built over the complete length of the stage at such a height as to
clear any set that may be used.

The proscenium arch should be built of ⅞″ stock, preferably of white
wood, because of the fine surface which it presents, if it is to be
decorated. The upright sections of the arch should be at least as
wide as those shown in the diagram, because they must carry the three
circuits for the proscenium lights, the belt that raises and lowers
the curtain, and also special lamps and appliances that will be found
necessary for various types of production. The diagram shows one green,
one blue, and one red outlet on the two sections on the top section of
the arch, but it will be found very convenient to have at least two
outlets for each of these colors on each of the three sections of the
arch.

[Illustration: DIAGRAMS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MARIONETTE STAGE]

The curtain can be the ordinary window shade. After removing the
spring, attach it to the face of the proscenium arch with ordinary
window shade fixtures. It should be wide enough to lap well over
each side of the arch, and the end which extends to the right of the
proscenium opening should be sufficiently long to carry a 2″ belt for
raising and lowering it. This belt can be of webbing and should be held
taut near the bottom of the proscenium arch by a small roller, as shown
in the diagram. It is necessary that this belt should be far enough to
the right of the proscenium arch opening so the hand which raises and
lowers the curtain will not be seen by the audience.

The outlets for the various circuits on this arch may be either keyed
sockets or porcelain receptacles fastened to the face of the arch.

Both for the sake of the better framing of the settings to be used on
this stage and for more effectively masking off the sides and the top
of the stage, it is a good plan to build all around the opening of the
proscenium arch at right angles to it an inner proscenium which may
run from 6 to 9 inches in width. This inner proscenium may be made of
half-inch stock. If the inner proscenium is used, it will be necessary
to hang the curtain sufficiently behind the face of the main proscenium
so that it will clear the inner proscenium as it rises and falls.

All circuits should lead to a switch-board on which small knife
switches may be used. This switch-board should also carry several
rheostats or dimmers. The more dimmers that are used the greater will
be the possibilities in lighting. These dimmers can be made of special
high wattage resistance wire, which can be obtained or ordered from any
electrical dealer. In the making and wiring of the switch-board, it is,
of course, necessary to obtain either a professional electrician or at
least professional advice.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


    BADIN, ADOLPHE. Les Marionettes de Maurice Sand. L’Art, 1885.

    CAINE, WILLIAM. Guignols in the Luxembourg. Oxford and
        Cambridge Review, 1910.

    CALTHROP, A. An Evening with the Marionette. The Theatre, 1884.

    CALVI, EMILIO. Marionettes of Rome. The Bellman, 1917.

    CHAMBERS, E. K. The Mediaeval Stage. Vol. II.

    COLLIER, JOHN PAYNE. The Tragical Comedy of Punch and Judy.

    CRAIG, GORDON. Articles in “The Mask” and “The Marionette.”

    CURTIS, ELNORA WHITMAN. Dramatic Instinct in Education.

    DELVAU, ALFRED. Le Théâtre Érotique Français sous le Bas-empire.

    DURANTY, LOUIS ÉMILE EDMOND. Théâtre des Marionettes du Jardin
        des Tuileries.

    ENGEL, CARL. Johann Faust.

    FEISE, E. The German Puppet Theatre.

    FERRIGNI, P. Storia dei Burattini. The Mask.

    FEWKES, JESSE WALTER. A Theatrical Performance at Walpe. Hopi
        Katchinas.

    FLÖGEL, KARL FRIEDERICH. Geschichte des Grotesk-Komischen.

    FRANCE, ANATOLE. On Life and Letters. II Series.

    GAYET, A. Oldest of Puppet Shows. Boston Transcript, Nov. 2,
        1904.

    GLEASON, A. W. Last Stand of the Marionettes. Collier’s Weekly,
        1909.

    HIRSCH, GILBERT. A Master of Marionettes. Harper’s Weekly, 1912.

    IRWIN, E. Where Players are Marionettes. The Craftsman, 1907.

    JACKSON, F. NEVILL. Toys of Other Days.

    JACOB, GEORG. Das Schattentheater in seiner Wanderung vom
        Morgenland zum Abendland.

    JEROME, L. B. Marionettes of Little Sicily. New England
        Magazine, 1910.

    JOLY, HENRI L. Random Notes on Dances, Masks, and the Early
        Forms of Theatre in Japan.

    JONES, HENRY FESTING. Diversions in Sicily, Castellinaria, or
        other Sicilian Diversions.

    KLEIST, HEINRICH VON. Über das Marionetten Theater. Berliner
        Abendblätter.

    KOLLMAN, ARTHUR. Deutsche Puppenspieler.

    LEE, VERNON. Studies in the Eighteenth Century in Italy.

    LEMAÎTRE, JULES. Impressions du Théâtre. Vols. IV and VI.

    MACDOWALL, H. C. The Faust of the Marionettes. MacMillan’s
        Magazine, 1901.

    MAGNIN, CHARLES. Histoire des Marionettes en Europe.

    MAINDRON, ERNEST. Marionettes et Guignols.

    MATTHEWS, BRANDER. A Book about the Theatre. Puppet plays, old
        and new. The Bookman.

    MICHEL, WILHELM. Marionetten. Dekorative Kunst, 1910.

    MICK, HETTIE LOUISE. Puppets of the Chicago Little Theatre.
        Theatre Arts Magazine, 1917.

    MIYAMORI, OSATARO. Tales from Old Japanese Drama.

    MODERWELL, HIRAM K. The Marionettes of Tony Sarg. Boston
        Transcript, 1918.

    MOULTON, R. H. Teaching Dolls to act for Moving Pictures.
        Illustrated World, 1917.

    NICHOLS, FRANCIS H. A Marionette Theatre in New York. Century
        Magazine, 1892.

    PEIXOTTO, ERNEST C. Marionettes, and Puppet Shows, Past and
        Present. Scribner’s Magazine, 1903.

    PETITE, J. M. Guignols et Marionettes.

    PISCHEL, RICHARD. The Home of the Puppet Play. (Translated by
        Mildred C. Tawney.)

    POCCI, FRANZ VON. Lustiges Komödienbüchlein.

    POLLOCK, W. H. Punch and Judy. Saturday Review, 1900.

    REHM, HERMANN SIEGFRIED. Das Buch der Marionetten.

    SERRURIER, L. De Wajang Poerwa.

    SERVAES, FRANZ. Neue Theaterpuppen von R. Teschner.

    SPERANZA, GINO CHARLES. Marionette Theatre in New York.
        Saturday Evening Post, 1916.

    STARR, LAURA B. The Doll Book.

    STEVENSON, ROBERT LOUIS. Essays.

    STODDARD, ANNE. The Renaissance of the Puppet Play. Century
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        1909.

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    WEST, HENRY SUYDAM. Puppet Warfare in France. Literary Digest,
        1915.

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        Archeological Journal, Vol. V.

    WITKOWSKI, GEORG. Introduction to Goethe’s Faust.

    WOLF, GEORG JACOB. Das Marionetten Theater Münchner Künstler.
        Dekorative Kunst, 1911.

    YOUNG, S. G. Guignol. Lippincott’s Magazine, 1879.

    ZIEGLER, FRANCIS J. Puppets, Ancient and Modern. Harper’s
        Magazine, 1897.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _All the Year_, 1894. Greek Puppet Show. From the Works of
        Heron of Alexandria.

    _Current Opinion_, 1916. Paradox of the Puppet.

    _Current Opinion_, 1913. Return of the Marionettes.

    _Eclectic Magazine_, 1854. Puppets of All Nations.

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    _Illustrated London News_, 1911. A Javanese Topeng Dalang.

    _Kind und Kunst._ Vol. III. Illustrations of Puppet Shows.

    _Scientific American_, 1902. Puppet Shows of the Paris
        Exposition.

    _The Marionette._ Vol. I.

    _The Mask._ Vols. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII.

    _The Sketch_, 1916. Illustration of the Gair Wilkinsons’
        Puppets.



FOOTNOTES


[1] Oh, ladies and gentlemen, patient sitters for portraits, what if
the puppets do reverse the usual order of things? Must you not envy
them? Think of having your portrait painted first, the portrait of
the _ideal you_ by an artist, and then having a complaisant Creator
fashioning your features into the nearest possible semblance of what
you might wish to be! Think of it. How delightful for you and how
simple for the portrait painter!

[2] Only the principal male parts were allowed to speak Sanskrit
according to the conventions of Hindu dramaturgy. Lesser male and all
female parts were spoken in Prakrit.

[3] There are many Italian names for the puppets. From _pupa_, meaning
doll, is derived _pupazzi_. From _fantoccia_, also signifying doll, we
have _fantoccini_, or little dolls. From _figura_, statue or figure,
comes _figurini_, statuettes or little figures. _Burattini_ comes
from _buratto_, cloth, being made mostly of cloth. _Marionette_ is a
modification of _Maria_, the Virgin, meaning little Maries from the
early statuettes in churches. Another explanation is found in the tenth
century Venetian _Festival of the Maries_. Upon one occasion Barbary
pirates carried off twelve Venetian maidens in their bridal procession.
The rape of the affianced Virgins was avenged by Venetian youths and
thereafter celebrated annually by a procession of richly dressed girls.
These later were replaced by elaborately gowned figures carried year by
year in the procession--hence Marionetti, little Maries.

[4] The research of scholars has discovered in the Ulm versions of the
Faustspiel the suggestion for the _Prologue in Heaven_, although in the
puppet play it was held in the Inferno before Satan, not before Die
Padre. _Faust’s Monologue_ seems patterned after that in the Tübingen
play or that of Frankfurt am Main. The metaphysical debate between
Faust and Mephistopheles has its prototype in the Augsburg Faustus. The
tavern scene may have been drawn from a similar scene in the Cologne
play. Similarly the Phantasmagoria of Blocksberg and other arrangements
may be traced back to the old puppet show Faust.

[5] Mrs. Browne, in any case, has not been discouraged. In 1918 she
instructed her class in the dramatic department of the University of
Utah in the principles and methods of marionette play, developing
possible puppeteers for the future. The next spring we find her
assisting Mr. Sarg in directing and staging his little puppet drama,
_The Rose and the Ring_.

[6] At the same time a less successful and quite unfinished dress
rehearsal of another drama was performed; but this play on which the
manipulators had labored for many months was abandoned because of too
great difficulty in manipulating ... and because of other complications
which shall be nameless.

[7] Mr. Alfred Kreymborg informs me that _Lima Beans_, one of his
amusing little poem-mimes, was played by puppets in Los Angeles, under
the direction of Miss Vivian Aiken. Mr. Kreymborg has written that he
considers “the only possible approach to a Synthetic stage is derived
from the marionette performance.” Of the puppeteers in Los Angeles, one
would like to hear more.

[8] Mr. B. Pollock, 73 Hoxton St., London, writes: “I still publish
Juvenile Plays and also supply foot lights and tin slides which are
used with the theatre. I have now been carrying on the business for
forty-two years and my father-in-law about thirty-eight years before
me.”

[9] Mr. G. Bernard Shaw has written of England: “The old professional
marionette showmen have been driven off the road by the picture
theatre. I am told that on the Continent where marionettes flourish
much more than here, they have suffered the same way from the
competition of the irresistible pictures. And I doubt whether they will
recover from the attack. I am afraid there is no use pretending that
they deserve to.”

How consoling to turn to Mr. Gordon Craig, who has prophesied
optimistically in _The Marionette_: “Burattini are magical, whereas
Cinema is only mechanical. When a framework of a film machine is one
day found by curiosity-hunters in the ruins of a cellar and marvelled
over, the Burattini will still be alive and kicking.”



_Index_


  Ache, d’, Caran, designs silhouettes for _Chat Noir_, 98–99.

  Actors, used with marionettes, in Italian church festivals, 51;
    in medieval French churches, 82;
    in Germany in seventeenth century, 123–125.

  Aiken, Vivian, 183.

  _Alice in Wonderland_, in Chicago, 178.

  America, marionettes in, 163–191.

  American Indians, use of articulated images in ceremonials, 164–170.

  Ames, Winthrop, interest in marionettes, 184–185.

  Ananda, annual performance in temple, 30.

  Anatole, M., founder of the Vrai Guignol, 107–108.

  Antinoë, excavation of marionette theatre in, 16–17.

  Antiquity of puppets, 15.

  Antwerp, underground theatre in, 141–142.

  _Apotheosis of Bacchus_, representative Greek show, 19.

  _Apuleius_, quoted on Greek puppets, 18.

  Ariosto’s _Orlando Furioso_ in Sicily, 71–76.

  Aristophanes’ _The Birds_ in puppet performance, 105.

  Arlecchino, Italian puppet character, 22, 57.


  Baden-Baden, puppet show of Ivo Pühony, 134.

  Bali, Wayang plays in, 28.

  Belgium, puppets in, 140–142.

  Bergerac, Cyrano de, duel with ape, 84.

  Berlin, production of _Doctor Sassafras_ and _Two Dancing Chinamen_,
        134–135.

  Bertrand, French showman, 86–87.

  _Birds_ of Aristophanes produced, 105.

  Black, John, 182.

  Blei, Franz, quoted on shadow play in Munich, 132;
    on types of plays for puppets, 210–211.

  Bohemia, puppet plays in, 136.

  Boinet, Paul, operator on _La France_, 109.

  Bologna, theatres in, 69.

  _Bonifrates_, definition, 80.

  Boswell, quoted, 154.

  Bouchor, Maurice, presents _Noël ou le Mystère de la Nativité_,
        110–111.

  Brann, Paul, founder of theatre in Munich, 130.

  Briocci. _See_ Brioché.

  Brioché, Giovanni and Francesco, famous 17th century showmen, 84–86.

  Broemel, Carl, 183.

  Browne, Mrs. Maurice, founder of Chicago Little Theatre, 173–178.

  Buelens, Pieter, Belgian showman, 141.

  Buffano, Remo, 171.

  Bulley, Margaret, 157.

  _Burattini_, description, 54;
    derivation of name, 55.

  Burma, development of puppet stage, 29–30.


  Caine, W., quoted on Paris Guignols, 197–198.

  Calthrop, A., on modern Venetian show, 68.

  Cardboard plays, 192–194.

  Cascio, Salvatore, 172.

  Cassandrino, Italian puppet character, 58, 60.

  Catacombs, jointed images in tombs, 22.

  Catania, religious plays in, 77–78.

  Cecca, mediæval Italian mechanician, 51–52.

  Central Asia, two types of puppets, 30.

  Ceylon, early religious puppets, 33.

  Chambers, E. K., quoted on use of puppets in churches, 53.

  Champs Élysées, home of the Vrai Guignol, 107–108;
    performances, 197–198.

  Character types. _See_ Types.

  Charles V of Spain, 78.

  _Chat Noir_, home of _Ombres Françaises_, 98–100.

  Chicago Little Theatre, successful performances in, 173–178.

  Children’s productions, 192–194.

  Chopin, life enacted by Cleveland puppets, 182.

  Christmas plays. _See_ Religious plays.

  Church festivals, in Italy, 51–52. _See also_ Passion play; Religious
        plays.

  Cibber, Colley, writes for marionettes, 153.

  Cleveland, Italian performance in, 172;
    Playhouse, puppet productions, 178–183;
    performance of _The Rose and the Ring_, 200–201;
    construction of dolls, 221–224.

  Clisby, George, 179.

  Cologne, home of Kölner Hanneschen Theatre, 128.

  Comic element in puppets, 203–205.

  _Commedia dell’Arte_, influence on Italian marionettes, 57–59.

  Constantine, Italian puppet character, 58.

  Construction of marionettes, 221–224. _See also_ Materials; Mechanism.

  Construction of marionette stage (O’Neil), 226–229.

  Craig, Gordon, experiments with puppets, 160–163;
    _Game of Marionettes_, 192;
    on educational importance of puppets, 202;
    on actor and marionette, 208–209;
    on future of puppet plays, 214.

  Crawley, London showman, 153.

  Cruikshank, pictures of Punch and Judy, 149.

  Cuccoli, Filippo, 69.

  Curtis, Elnora Whitman, on educational value of puppets, 201–202.


  Dalang, definition, 27.

  _Dame aux Camellias (La)_, parody on by George Sand, 94.

  _Death of Tintagiles_, production in Cleveland, 179–180;
    rehearsal of, 218–221.

  Deaves, Harry, retired American marionettist, 171.

  _Deluded Dragon_, produced at Chicago Little Theatre, 174–175.

  Denmark, puppets in literature, 140.

  Dickens, Charles, quoted on puppet shows in Genoa, 63–66.

  Dickson (pseud.), operator-magician, 101.

  Dieppe, annual _Mystery of the Assumption_, 82–83.

  _Docha_, definition, 113.

  _Doctor Sassafras_, artistic production in Berlin, 134–135.

  Dolls, mechanical, in vaudeville, 170–171.

  _Domèvre, The Seven Chasseurs of_, 111–112.

  Don Quixote and the puppets, 79.

  Dorothea, popular puppet character of Hamburg, 115.

  Drama, poetic, difficulties of production, 190–191. _See also_ Plays.

  Drama, varied repertory of Italian marionettes, 59–62;
    classic, given at _Le Petit Théâtre de M. Henri Signoret_, 102–105.

  Duranty, Charles, attempt to uplift Guignol, 108.


  Edgerton, Mrs. Seymour, 174.

  Educational value of puppets, 195, 201–202, 213–214.

  Egypt, possible birthplace of marionettes, 16.

  Ehlert, Ernest, gives shows in Berlin with Pühony’s puppets, 134–135;
    on Pühony’s marionettes, 206.

  Elizabethan period, popularity of puppets, 150–154.

  England, puppets in, 143–163;
    toy theatres in, 193–194.

  English literature full of allusions to puppets, 143–144.

  _Epopée_, produced at _Chat Noir_, 99.

  _Erotikon Theatron de la rue de la Santé_, sketch of, 94–96.

  Eudel, Paul, first publishes shadow plays, 98.

  Excavations reveal ancient puppets, 16–17.


  Fairy plays, in the _Ombres Chinoises_ at Versailles, 97–98;
    in the _Vrai Guignol_, 108;
    in Munich, 129;
    at Chicago Little Theatre, 174–178;
    produced by Tony Sarg, 186–187, 189;
    specially suited to puppets, 212.

  Fantoccini, description, 54;
    derivation of name, 55.

  Fashion puppet, Lady Jane, 152.

  Faust, history of character, 116–122.

  Ferrigni, P., on introduction of figures into Christian churches, 23.
        _See also_ Yorick.

  Fewkes, Dr. Jesse Walter, quoted on Indian ceremonial drama, 164–170.

  Fiano Theatre, Rome, 60–61.

  _Figurini_, derivation of name, 55.

  Flögel, quoted on English masques, 145–146;
    preference for grotesque comedy, 203.

  France, Anatole, writes on the _Chat Noir_, 98;
    quoted on _Le Petit Théâtre de M. Henri Signoret_, 103–105.

  France, puppets in, 81–112.

  Francisque, French showman introducing _opéra comique_, 88–89.

  French writers and musicians, show interest in puppets, 89–96.

  Fun in puppet-playing, 216–218.


  Gautier, Théophile, on Turkish puppets, 37.

  Gayet, A., on puppet theatre excavated at Antinoë, 16–17.

  Gehring, Albert, 182.

  Geisselbrecht, Viennese showman, 121.

  Genoa, elaborate productions in, 62–66.

  Germany, puppet shows in, 113–136;
    toy theatres in, 194–196.

  _Gidayu_, definition, 46.

  Gidayu, Takemoto, 16th century showman, 47–48.

  Glasheimer, Adolf, Berlin showman, 126.

  Gleason, Arthur, describes Italian show in New York, 172–173.

  Goethe, interest in puppets, 122;
    maxim on stagecraft, 161;
    quoted on his introduction to puppets, 195–196.

  Golden age of marionettes, 89.

  Goldoni, interest in puppets, 197.

  Goldsmith, Oliver, at marionette show, 154.

  Grasso, Maria, 172.

  Greece, articulated idols in, 17;
    development of puppetry in, 18–21.

  “Green monster” of George Sand, 93.

  Grotesqueness in puppets, 203.

  Guignol, originated in Lyons, 107;
    in Paris, 107–108;
    on steamship _La France_, 109;
    performances in Paris, 197–198.

  Gyp, presents _Tout à l’égout_, 110.


  Hamburg, long popularity of puppets in, 115–116.

  Hanswurst, German puppet buffoon, 114.

  _Hauptundstaatsactionen_, description of, 124–125.

  Haydn, Joseph, composes music for marionettes, 127.

  Hazlitt, William, on Punch and Judy shows, 212–213.

  Hembauf, George, Belgian showman, 140.

  Heron of Alexandria, on early Greek puppet mechanism, 19.

  Hewelt, John (pseud.), operator-magician, 101.

  Holden, Thomas, operator-magician, 101;
    marionettes, 156.

  Holland, puppets in, 140.

  Hopi Indians, Great Serpent drama, 165–170.

  Humor in puppet plays, 203–205.

  Hungary, gypsy puppeteers, 136.


  Idols, animated, in Egypt, 16;
    in Greece, 18;
    in Rome, 21;
    of ancient Gauls, 81.
    _See also_ Images; Religious puppets; Statues.

  Ilkely Players, amateur English marionettists, 157.

  Images, jointed, found in Catacombs, 22;
    religious, in Italy, 51–54;
    articulated, used in mediæval French churches, 81–82;
    in English churches, 145;
    articulated, used by American Indians, 164–170.
    _See also_ Idols; Religious puppets; Statues.

  India, antiquity of puppets, 15;
    development of puppets in, 32–35.

  Israeli, d’, Isaac, writes of Punch, 146–147.

  Italy, evolution of puppetry, 22;
    its development, 50–78;
    Goldoni’s interest in puppets, 197;
    puppets beloved by children, 199–200.


  Japan, origin and development of puppet shows, 43–49.

  Java, shadow-plays, 24–28.

  Jinavaravamsa, P. C., on Indian puppets to-day, 34.

  Joly, Henri, on antiquity of Japanese shows, 43–44.

  Jones, Henry Festing, quoted on Sicilian shows, 71–77.

  Jonson, Ben, mentions puppets in many writings, 150–151.

  _Joruri_, Japanese epic play, 47.

  Juvenile drama, 193–194.


  Karagheuz, Turkish puppet hero, 37.

  Kasperle, German puppet buffoon, 114;
    in Faust play, 118–120.

  Ketschel, Persian comic puppet, 32.

  _Kobold_, definition, 113.

  _Kölner Hanneschen Theater_, 128.

  Kopecki, Bohemian showman, 136.

  Kreymborg, Alfred, 183.


  La France, puppet theatre on, 109.

  La Grille’s _Théâtre des Pygmées_, 87–88.

  Laufer, Dr. Berthold, on marionettes in Egypt, 16.

  Laurent Broeders, Belgian showmen, 140–141.

  Lemaître, Jules, describes several productions, 110–111.

  Lewiss, Clunn, wandering English showman, 155–156.

  Lighting a puppet stage, 227–229.

  _Lima Beans_, given in Los Angeles, 183.

  Literary puppets in Paris, 109–111.

  Little Theatre, Chicago, history of, 173–178.

  London, Italian puppets in, 146;
    present-day street puppets, 155.

  Los Angeles, puppets in, 183.

  Louis XIV, puppets a feature of marriage procession, 79;
    gives special privileges to La Grille, 88.

  Lupi brothers, Italian showmen, 68–69;
    description of performance for children, 199–200.

  Luschan, von, F., on puppet plays in Turkey, 38.

  Luther, Martin, denunciations against actors, 123.


  Maccus, Roman buffoon, 21.

  Machieltje, Belgian showman, 140.

  MacLean, J. Arthur, on puppet performance at Ananda, 29–30.

  Maeterlinck’s _Death of Tintagiles_ produced in Cleveland, 179–180;
    rehearsal of play, 218–221.

  Magnin, Charles, on Greek articulated idols, 18;
    on Polichinelle, 205.

  _Mahabharata_, basis of Javanese plays, 26.

  Making a marionette, 221–224. _See also_ Materials; Mechanism.

  _Manik Muja_, basis of Javanese plays, 26.

  Margueritte, Paul, describes M. Signoret’s puppets, 207.

  Marionette, derivation of name, 55.

  Marionette Theatre of Munich Artists, 130–131.

  Masques, English, 145–146.

  Materials, used in ancient Indian puppets, 15;
    in Javanese shadows, 25;
    in Siamese shadows, 29;
    in Cleveland Playhouse puppets, 179–180;
    making a marionette to-day, 221–224.

  Matthews, Brander, on types of plays for puppets, 211–212.

  Maupassant, de, Guy, on Karagheuz plays, 39.

  Mechanical dolls in vaudeville, 170–171.

  Mechanism, of early Greek puppets, 18;
    of Javanese shadows, 27;
    of modern Indian puppets, 34;
    of Turkish puppets, 38;
    intricacy of in Japanese puppets, 45–46;
    of Italian puppets, 54–55;
    intricate, in modern Italian puppets, 70;
    increasing intricacy in France, 90;
    of _Le Petit Théâtre de M. Henri Signoret_, 102–103;
    perfection in Tony Sarg’s puppets, 185–186;
    simple, in Cleveland Playhouse dolls, 221–224.

  Michel, Wilhelm, on comic function of puppets, 204.

  Mick, Hettie Louise, writes on plays at Chicago Little Theatre,
        175–176.

  _Midsummer Night’s Dream_, production at Chicago Little Theatre,
        175–177.

  Molière’s _Monsieur Pourceaugnac_ in Madrid, 80.

  Monzayemon, Chikamatsu, Japanese playwright, 48.

  Mourguet, Laurent, originator of Guignol, 107.

  Munich, home of best German puppet shows, 128–133.

  Musée Grevin, theatre in, 109.


  Nang, Siamese shadow play, 28–29.

  Nantes, revocation of Edict made into play, 86–87.

  Napoleon, death of, puppet play described by Dickens, 64–66.

  Nelson, Lord, imaginary dialogue with Punch, 149.

  Neuville, de, Lemercier, guiding spirit of _Erotikon Theatron_, 95–96;
    interest in shadow plays, 98.

  New York, Italian show described by Arthur Gleason, 172–173;
    puppets of Tony Sarg, 183–191.

  _Noël_, by Bouchor, 110–111.


  Ogotai, legend of, 31.

  _Ombres Chinoises_, French shadow plays, 97.

  _Ombres Françaises_, at the _Chat Noir_, 98–100.

  _Ombre du cocher poète, L’_, first _opéra comique_, 88–89.

  O’Neil, Raymond, director Cleveland Playhouse, 178;
    “Construction of Marionette Stage,” 226–229.

  _Opéra comique_, origin, 88–89.

  Operator-magicians, 101.

  Origin of puppets, theories of scholars, 15–16;
    Persian legend, 31–32;
    Turkish tales, 36;
    Chinese legends, 40–41;
    Japanese stories, 44.

  _Orlando Furioso_ in Sicily, 71–76.

  Osaka, puppet plays in, 48.

  Owen, Lillian, 174.


  Pandji legends, basis of Javanese plays, 26.

  Pantalone, Italian puppet character, 58.

  Paris, first permanent puppet stage erected, 83;
    George Sand’s theatre, 92–94;
    _Erotikon Theatron de la rue de la Santé_, 94–96;
    the _Chat Noir_, 98–100;
    the operator-magicians, 101;
    _Le Petit Théâtre de M. Henri Signoret_, 102–105;
    the _Vrai Guignol_ in the Champs Élysées, 107–108;
    literary puppets, 109–111;
    marionette theatre at 1900 Exposition, 109;
    Guignol performances, 197–198.

  Passion play, at Catania, 77–78.

  Pathological types of Turkish puppets, 37.

  Payne-Collier, arranges _Tragical Comedy of Punch and Judy_, 149.

  Persia, puppetry in, 31–32.

  _Petit Théâtre_ in Belgium, 141.

  Piccini, Italian showman in England, 146.

  Pierrot Guitariste, puppet by De Neuville, 96.

  Pinkethman, London showman, 153.

  Pischel, Prof. Richard, on origin of puppets, 15–16;
    on puppet plays of India, 32–33.

  _Pivetta_, definition, 67.

  Playhouse, in Cleveland, gives puppet plays, 178–183;
    construction of dolls, 221–224.

  Plays, suited to puppets, 210–214.

  Pocci, Graf, writer of fairy plays for puppets, 129;
    _Three Wishes_ produced by Tony Sarg, 186–187.

  Poetic drama, difficulties of production, 190–191.

  Poland, religious plays in, 138–139;
    Wyspianski’s interest in puppets, 196–197.

  Polichinelle, French puppet character, 83;
    varied career, 106–107;
    plea for, 203–215.
    _See also_ Pulcinella; Punch; Punchinello.

  Pollock, B., publisher of juvenile plays, 193–194.

  Portugal, puppets in, 80.

  Powell, clever London motion maker, 151–152.

  _Prodigal Son_, popular play in Hamburg, 115.

  Producing a play, in Java, 26;
    in India, 34;
    in Turkey, 38;
    in China, 41–43;
    in Japan, 45–47;
    French restrictions in 17th century, 87–88;
    _Midsummer Night’s Dream_ in Chicago, 176–177;
    behind the scenes, 216–224;
    construction of stage, 226–229.

  Pühony, Ivo, puppet maker, 134;
    his marionettes, Ernst Ehlert quoted, 206.

  Pulcinella, Italian puppet character, 22, 58. _See also_
        Polichinelle; Punch; Punchinello.

  Punch, origin of name, 146–147. _See also_ Polichinelle; Pulcinella.

  Punchinello, his prestige and prowess, 147–150. _See also_
        Polichinelle; Pulcinella; Punch.

  _Pupazzi_, derivation of name, 55.


  Ramayana, basis of Javanese plays, 26;
    basis of Siamese _Nang_, 28;
    modern production of in India, 34.

  Rehearsal of play, 218–221.

  Rehm, R. S., on puppet show in Samarkand, 30–31;
    on Chinese shadows, 42–43;
    on Rivière’s shadow pantomimes, 99–100.

  Religious plays, at Catania, 77–78;
    in Spain, 78;
    revocation of Edict of Nantes produced, 86–87;
    in Russia, 137–139;
    in Poland, 138–139;
    in England, 145;
    specially suited to marionettes, 211.
    _See also_ Passion play.

  Religious puppets, at Antinoë, 17;
    in Greece, 18;
    in Rome, 21;
    in Catacombs, 22;
    in Burma, 30;
    in Ceylon, 33.
    _See also_ Idols; Images; Statues.

  Repertory, varied in Italian puppet shows, 56–62;
    varied in medieval Germany, 123–125;
    in Munich theatres, 131–132.

  Restrictions on production, in 17th century France, 87–88.

  Rivière, Henri, makes pantomimes for _Chat Noir_, 99–100.

  Rome, ancient, articulated statues, 21;
    Rome, modern, many puppet theatres in, 60–62.

  _Rose and the Ring_ produced by Tony Sarg, 189–190;
    account of Cleveland performance, 200–201.

  Russia, puppet plays in, 137–139.


  Saint-Genois, de, Alfred and Charles, 101.

  Saint Germain Fair, puppet shows at, 87.

  Saint Laurent Fair, puppet shows at, 87.

  _Salome_, in puppet performance, 211–212.

  Samarkand, performance of _Tschadar Chajal_ in, 30–31.

  Sand, George, establishes _Théâtre des Amis_, 92–94.

  Sanskrit, restriction in use of, 33.

  Sarg, Tony, experiments with marionettes in London and New York,
        184–191;
    takes _The Rose and the Ring_ to Cleveland, 200–201.

  Scala, Flaminio, 17th century director, 59.

  Scapino, Italian puppet character, 58.

  Scaramuccia, Italian puppet character, 58.

  Sceaux, puppet stage in chateau, 89–90.

  Schmidt, “Papa,” beloved Munich showman, 129–130;
    appreciation of work, 195.

  Schutz and Dreher, showman of Berlin, 121.

  Seneca, death of, shown in Valencia, 80.

  Seraphin, Dominique, producer of shadow plays, 97.

  Shadow plays, in France, 96–100;
    in Munich, 132.

  “Shadows,” Javanese, how made, 25;
    of Siamese _Nang_, 28–29;
    Turkish, origin and excellence of, 36–39;
    Chinese development, 39–43.

  _Shadowy Waters_ produced by Cleveland puppets, 182.

  Shakespeare, _Tempest_ produced by M. Signoret, 103–104;
    allusions to puppet shows, 143–144;
    _Midsummer Night’s Dream_ in Chicago, 175–177.

  Shaw, G. Bernard, on marionettes and acting, 209;
    on future of puppet shows, 214.

  Siam, unusual shadows of the _Nang_, 28–29.

  Sicily, great popularity of marionettes in, 70–78.

  _Signoret, Henri, le Petit Théâtre de_, 102–103;
    puppets described by Paul Margueritte, 207–208.

  Simmonds, William, artist and amateur puppeteer, 158–160.

  Simplification of puppets by Gordon Craig, 162–163.

  Socrates and the showman, 20.

  Spain, history of puppets in, 78–80.

  _Spectator_, frequent mention of puppets, 151–152.

  Stage, construction of (O’Neil), 226–229.

  Statues, articulated, in Rome, 21. _See also_ Idols; Images;
        Religious puppets.

  Stentorella, Italian puppet character, 58.

  Stevenson’s _A Penny Plain and Twopence Colored_, quoted, 193–194.

  _Sthapaka_, definition, 16.

  Stoddard, Anne, describes production of _Three Wishes_, 186–187.

  _Sutradhara_, definition, 16.

  Symons, Arthur, on art of marionette, 206–207.


  Tattermann, definition, 113.

  Technique of production. _See_ Producing a play.

  _Tempest_, production described by Anatole France, 103–104.

  _Temptation of St. Anthony_, by Rivière, 99–100.

  Teoli, Italian marionettist, 61.

  Teschner, Richard, marionette maker in Vienna, 133.

  Thackeray’s _Rose and the Ring_ produced, 189–190, 200–201.

  Théatines, order of monks, give spectacles, 83.

  _Théâtre des amis_, history of, 92–94.

  _Three Wishes_, produced by Tony Sarg, 186–187.

  _Tintagiles._ _See_ _Death of Tintagiles_.

  _Titeres_, Spanish puppets, 79.

  _Tocha_, definition, 113.

  _Tokkenspiel_, early subject matter, 114.

  Tokyo, puppet plays in, 48.

  Tombs, Egyptian, puppets found in, 16;
    jointed images found in Catacombs, 22.

  Toone, Belgian showman, 140.

  Torino, famous theatre in, 68–69;
    description of performance at Lupi theatre, 199–200.

  Torriani, Giovanni, inventor, 78.

  Toy theatres, 192–197.

  _Tragedy of Nauplius_, representative Greek show, 19–20.

  Travelling showmen, in Greece, 20;
    in Rome, 21;
    in China, 41;
    in Spain, 79;
    in Russia, 137–138;
    in London and rural England, 155.

  Treat, Grace, 179.

  _Tschadar Chajal_, puppet play of Turkestan, 30–31.

  Turkestan, two types of puppets, 30.

  Turkey, legends of origin of puppets, 36.

  Types of puppets, on early Roman stage, 21;
    in Turkey, 37;
    in Italy, 54, 57–58.


  Van Volkenburg, Ellen, 174.

  Variety bills follow Thirty Years’ War in Germany, 123–125.

  Vasari, quoted, on church spectacles, 51–52.

  Venice, medieval puppets in, 67.

  Vidusaka, Indian puppet buffoon, 34.

  Vienna, the dolls of Richard Teschner, 133.

  Voltaire’s interest in puppets, 90.


  War zone, French puppets in, 111–112.

  _Wayang_ dramas, Javanese shadow plays, 25–28.

  Wheeler, Katherine, 174.

  Wilkinsons, amateur English marionettists, 156–157.

  Williamson, Mrs. Hamilton, 187–188.

  Winter, Christoph, Cologne showman, 128.

  Woltje, Belgian puppet buffoon, 140.

  Writing for puppets, 217–218.

  Wundt, Prof., on comic function of puppets, 203.

  Wyspianski, Stanislaw, early plays with puppets, 196–197.


  Yeats’ _Shadowy Waters_ produced in Cleveland, 182.

  Yeddo, 18th century centre for puppet drama, 48.

  Yorick (pseud.), on puppets in Egypt, 16;
    on growth of Greek puppetry, 18.
    _See also_ Ferrigni.


  Zelenko, Alexander, quoted on modern Russian puppets, 137–138.



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left
unbalanced.

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs
and outside quotations. In versions of this eBook that support
hyperlinks, the page references in the List of Illustrations lead to
the corresponding illustrations.

The end-papers referenced in the List of Illustrations were not found.

In this and some other some printings or scans of this book, the
illustration "Wayang Figures from the Island of Bali" follows page
38, not page 28. The page number in the List of Illustrations and the
position of the illustration in the text have not been changed here,
but the link in the HTML version of this eBook goes to the actual image.

Footnotes, originally at the bottoms of pages, have been resequenced,
collected, and positioned just before the Index.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page
references.



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