Balanceing Clowns

BALANCING CLOWNSA spry and meddlesome little clown finds a tower of tables piled up before him. He looks up and sees a chair atop. He must climb the pyramid! And so he proceeds upward, almost slipping near the top, but finally seats himself in the chair with a snort of triumph. He hears the strains of a waltz. What a beautiful place to rock! And so he sways in his chair, back and forth. His motion is imparted to the tower. At first it teeters slightly, then it begins to rock dangerously. He must swing his arms vigorously to bring it back into equilibrium. This he does three or four times, the tower leaning more and more at each dare. Finally it is pushed too far to bring back; it pauses at a terrible angle, then topples into the wings, throwing the wildly-waving little clown far off.

Or the same mischief-finder comes upon a ladder. He climbs to the top and gets his feet on rungs to either side. It is not a safety ladder, and begins to slip, its two halves spreading wider and wider. The clown, for all his waving, can do nothing to avert the catastrophe. With a sickening swoop the ladder goes flat on the floor and the clown is doing the splits.

The clown IS a usual marionette with one stick for head- and hand-strings and another, if desired, for knee-strings. His predicaments are only as funny as the puppeteer's timing of the action makes them; the arm motion must be well studied. The tables and chair, solidly built, are held together one on top of the other by a string passing through them. The forward sway is controlled by the puppeteer and the backward by an assistant holding this string from the top. One end of the ladder is hinged to a base-piece; the other slips freely on this base, pulled by strings from the side of the stage.