Preparation Cabinet A

This is in reality the Protean cabinet of Servais LeRoy, and a valuable illusion cabinet, as it will hold three people self-contained, allowing cabinet to be revolved freely with front of cabinet opened.

Fig. 1 shows a side view of cabinet.

Fig. 2 shows a rear view.

Fig. 3 shows a front view with curtain pulled across the opening.

The cabinet is mounted on four legs, each having a castor.

Fig. 4 shows a cross section looking from above downwards. It also gives dimensions of the cabinet. There are in reality two compartments in the cabinet, though audience sees only one. The rear compartment is about ten inches deep. The partition between the two compartments is really composed of two swinging doors. These are mounted on spring hinges or a long door spring is attached from each door to back of cabinet so that doors automatically swing back into place when opened. At top cabinet a ledge is arranged so that door will only swing back to a specified distance. A small knob (must be invisible to audience) is attached to outside of each door so doors can be readily opened. This is a matter of convenience.

For convenience also I suggest peep holes in the cabinet, one in each door and two in wall on cabinet. This is so that parties concealed in cabinet

will have a chance to look out at times to catch the action of a pantomime. The peep holes do not have to be very large, yet plenty large to get proper vision.


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The front curtain is supported on rings and the rings in turn threaded on a metal bar which runs across front of cabinet near top. As the curtain silently opens and closes, apparently by itself, a special system must be employed. Fig. 5 shows the details. A fish cord is run from the compartment in rear from the right side (directions figured as assistant stands in cabinet facing front of stage) up through a staple near top of cabinet through a hole in door to and through a staple up in front corner of front compartment and then over to the third ring of curtain where it is securely attached. It is attached to third ring instead of first so as to allow slack in curtain so it will fully close. Then cord goes to and through staple on other side of cabinet in front corner, then through a hole in left door and through a staple on left side of inner compartment. Each end of cord in inner compartment hangs down a bit and to each end a few washers, to form a weight, are used. Washers should be padded with cloth to prevent a noise when accidentally striking against wall of cabinet. Experimenting will show length of cord to be used. The end on right side when pulled closes curtain, while the end on left side, when pulled, opens the curtain. As curtain is controlled from inner compartment, the control is not observed by audience and therefore from the front curtain seems to mysteriously open and close of its own accord as though controlled by peculiar forces.

The inside of the cabinet is lined with a figured cretonne. Preferably one that also has a stripe in it which runs up and down. Figured cretonne, while keeping cabinet light inside, also helps to confuse the eye in depth. A person looking into cabinet sees the two doors separating the compartments, but he thinks he sees the rear of the cabinet. The outside can be decorated in good taste.

Three people can be hidden in the concealed compartment. Cabinet is made to break down for packing by using bolts and wing nuts or pin hinges.

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