Tumbler

TUMBLERHaving bowed, the marionette executes, to slow music, a forward and back bend, leg splits and a hand stand. Then he walks off at the side and the rolling of a drum creates suspense until he reappears, doing a series of rapid back handsprings all the way across the stage and off. Drum crash and cymbals! Finally he comes back from the wings and takes a final bow.

Two, marionettes that look alike are required. One is built with the usual joints and knee-, hip-, head- and back-strings attached to three sticks, one for knees, one for hips and one for head and back. The hip strings support the performer on forward and back bends. The arms hang down by force of gravity for a handstand and need no strings. (They are more effective with wrist joints.)

When the first marionette walks off into the wings, the second is substituted for the somersaults. This is built rigid, except for wrist and ankle joints, and very light. It is fixed to a rod at its line of balance near the hips. The rod passes through loops in the ends of supporting wires, which should be stiff, and of a colour to blend with the background. Fixed at the end of the hiprod away from the audience, outside the supporting wire, is a reel as big as the thickness of the marionette will allow; it must not be seen. Around this a string is wound as many times as the tumbler must somersault to cross the stage. By pulling this string the flip-flaps are effected.

The first marionette is then brought back for the bow, having been crossed over behind the scenes from the side where it first went off.