Tandem Marionettes

TANDEM MARIONETTESDancing choruses and marching armies may be made to act as one man by stringing two or more (eight is the limit for convenience on the average stage) marionettes to the same control sticks. For dancers which perform shoulder-toshoulder (like the Tiller Girls, whom they easily surpass) the head- and backstrings are spaced along one stick. In simple routines it may suffice to have only one kicking leg for each dancer. These are attached to another stick. They should be all lefts or all rights if the girls are well drilled. But if kicking by both legs is required, the lefts are all attached to one stick and the rights to another. When only one puppeteer manipulates the chorus, he must hold the head-string stick in his teeth, leaving his hands for the two kneestring sticks. Incidentally, if the kicking is to be very high, toe-strings are necessary.

For marching files a simpler arrangement is possible. The heads of the marchers are strung to a stick about two inches wide and as long as the file is to be. The knee-strings are attached to either side of a slightly broader stick above it. The lower stick hangs from the upper by pieces of stout, flexible cord at regular intervals. The upper stick is held firmly in both hands of the puppeteer, and without being tilted atone end or the other, is rocked briskly sidewise. The knees of the marionettes are lifted and the marchers are in motion.

Hand-strings for such groups may be used, but are seldom necessary.

With more colnplex controllers, such as those described on pages 58-60 of Puppetry 1934, marionettes strung in tandem may be made to turn about-face.