Setting Up The Illusion

Place a clown outfit with costume, skull cap and mask, in compartment B in the platform of cabinet. Have costume on top and folded so it can be easily lifted up and put on.

In compartment C place the bartender's apron and mustache. Also the bottle and glasses, but have them at one side out of the way.

The top of compartment A is in place. The cloth is tucked down into the compartment out of the way and board laid on top.

Thus ready, the cabinet is placed on stage at left of center, and away from wings, etc. (Directions are given as you face audience from stage.) Doors are closed. Front door faces audience.

A few feet away at right the chair or stool is placed. The parlor screen is about ten feet at right of cabinet and back a bit.

The policeman and doctor are off stage at right.

The clown wears a plain shirt with sleeves rolled up high and front of shirt opened part way down the front. This is to be used for bartender part. Over this slip the ragged pirate shirt also open part way down the front. Then the rest of the pirate costume with exception of eye piece, mustache and cap which should be tucked into pockets to be easily gotten at later on.

Over this, place the clown outfit. Thus we see that the clown becomes the pirate easily by slipping off costume and then adjusting things, and later is ready to play the part of the bartender.

The clown and circus girl stand inside the cabinet. The doors are closed.

Stage Setting, Fig. 21.

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THE CURTAIN GOES UP AND THE ILLUSION STARTS. TO PERFORM:

Policeman enters from the right side looking nonchalantly about and twirling his club. He looks about stage a few moments, then goes over and sits down on the chair and faces audience. He yawns and finally nods his head as though taking a nap.

Fig. 22, next page, shows position of characters at this stage.

After a few moments girl in cabinet gives a scream and cries for help, then all is quiet again. Clown steps to rear of cabinet and stands on the ledge closing rear doors again. The girl crouches down on floor of cabinet as though dead.

The policeman startled by the cry, jumps up and looks about and going over to the cabinet suddenly opens wide the front door showing the girl inside the cabinet.

Fig. 23. He lifts her up, but she is apparently lifeless. When he releases his grip, she slumps down into heap again. He looks about for help, but finding none nearby, closes the cabinet door again.

Fig. 23. He lifts her up, but she is apparently lifeless. When he releases his grip, she slumps down into heap again. He looks about for help, but finding none nearby, closes the cabinet door again.

The moment door is closed, girl gets up and goes to rear of cabinet with clown.

Doctor enters from the right. Policeman stops him and pantomimes the doctor that a girl has been killed in the cabinet. He may speak one word at finish for accent "Dead." Policeman and doctor go over to cabinet and policeman opens door wide, but the cabinet is empty.

At the moment door is open, the clown and girl step around cautiously on the platform to the right side of cabinet. The open door screens them from audience.

Fig. 24 shows positions at this stage.

Fig. 24 shows positions at this stage.

Policeman is surprised and doctor does not know what to make of it. Policeman enters cabinet and opens the back doors. This lets audience look through the cabinet and see that no one else is concealed. Policeman examines inside of cabinet and closes rear doors again from the inside. He steps out of cabinet again.

When rear doors are closed, girl and clown edge their way back along platform to the rear of the cabinet.

Policeman steps out of cabinet and closes the front door and stands perplexed.

When door is closed, the clown steps inside the cabinet from the rear ledge of platform, closing door after him.

Not satisfied the policeman goes back to cabinet again and opens front door wide open suddenly. There stands the clown leaning against left wall of cabinet in a rather relaxed posture apparently smoking a cigarette. The clown takes things just as a matter of course.

Fig. 25. Policeman motions him out of the cabinet. Clown and policeman go over on the right side of cabinet. As policeman is questioning clown in pantomime the doctor out of curiosity looks into cabinet, then steps inside and closes door after him. He gives a cry for help. He opens rear door and steps on rear platform with girl, closing door in front of him.

Fig. 25. Policeman motions him out of the cabinet. Clown and policeman go over on the right side of cabinet. As policeman is questioning clown in pantomime the doctor out of curiosity looks into cabinet, then steps inside and closes door after him. He gives a cry for help. He opens rear door and steps on rear platform with girl, closing door in front of him.

Policeman rushes over to the cabinet and opens the door. The doctor has vanished; the cabinet is empty. The clown gives a derisive laugh.

Fig. 26. Policeman, perplexed, brings doors shut again. He looks at side of cabinet, then stands directly in front with hand on chin, looking at clown, then at audience.

Fig. 26. Policeman, perplexed, brings doors shut again. He looks at side of cabinet, then stands directly in front with hand on chin, looking at clown, then at audience.

In the meantime the doctor has come inside the cabinet again and opening the small door in the front door opens it and reaching through takes the policeman's hat, lifts it from his head and pulls it through the opening into the cabinet. Fig. 27, next page. He quickly closes the small door. Doctor hangs policeman's hat on hook on door at rear of cabinet and exits to rear through other door.

Policeman opens door and shows cabinet empty and hat hanging on a hook at rear. He replaces hat on head and then investigates cabinet again. He taps the left wall. He turns with his back to the audience. As he does so the clown quietly shuts the front door and closes the cabinet leaving the policeman in cabinet.

When door is closed, girl comes in and, opening side door, reaches her hand out and in again. Then in and out. Then out the small front opening. In the meanwhile the policeman takes his coat off and puts it on wrong side out and musses his hair. He drops hat on platform. This done the girl goes back to rear of platform.

Policeman starts to make noise and shout and shake cabinet and finally bursts out from front of cabinet by throwing door wide open.

Clown gives another peculiar laugh. Policeman draws pistol from pocket suddenly and points it at the clown. With clown under pistol he closes cabinet door.

The moment door is closed, the girl enters the cabinet and lifting up door of compartment B, takes out the clown uniform and gets into it. She should imitate clown as near as possible. When dressed, she shuts door to secret compartment again.

In the meantime the policeman has pantomimed the clown over to the parlor screen and has him turn it around and place it around him. This should be done to show audience no one else is concealed.

The clown stands back of screen, the policeman has pistol pointed at him, and girl in cabinet is dressing. The doctor stands patiently on rear of cabinet.

Fig. 28. Screened by parlor screen the clown quickly slips out of his clown outfit, first putting his skull cap and mask in pocket and then hanging costume on hook at rear of middle panel of screen. Clown changes as quickly as possible to the pirate costume.

Policeman steps back to right side of cabinet with his back against the wall.

Clown shakes screen a bit. Policeman raises his right hand with pistol. The door in side of cabinet opens and girl reaches her hand through and flicks pistols from his hand. Fig. 29, next page. Then closes small door again. Policeman looks at hand perplexed after he has suddenly swung around and looked at cabinet. He then reverses his coat and tries to look normal again.

From behind the screen the pirate sticks his head out, then closes up screen a bit and moves it a foot or two to right. He takes care not to expose clown costume.

He has a pistol in his hand and points it at policeman. Policeman turns and finds himself under pistol cover

Fig. 28. Screened by parlor screen the clown quickly slips out of his clown outfit, first putting his skull cap and mask in pocket and then hanging costume on hook at rear of middle panel of screen. Clown changes as quickly as possible to the pirate costume.

of pirate. Policeman raises his hands above his head. As this is going on the girl dressed as clown opens quietly the front door of cabinet, steps out, closes door and exits from stage at left side. Fig. 30. The position that girl stands in while door is opening is similar to that taken by other clown when policeman found him in the cabinet.

The actions of the two clowns should be as nearly alike as possible so audience thinks that the clown who was a moment ago behind the screen suddenly appeared from the cabinet again. This adds to the sense of mystery.

The pirate forces policeman in front of cabinet and then far enough to left of cabinet so he, the pirate, can open door, and then beckons to policeman to enter cabinet, which policeman does. He gets in cabinet after policeman and closes door. The doctor comes into the cabinet as the policeman and pirate step to rear.

The doctor takes from his pocket the dagger with card on it and opening small door in front of cabinet sticks his right hand through it with the dagger and throws dagger down to floor, trying of course to cause it to stick in floor and stand straight up. He closes small door again.

Fig. 31. He opens front door and steps out. Then closes door again. He looks about and picks up his medicine case, then seeing the dagger picks it up and reads note. He exits at left, shaking his head and looking at card.

Now, in summing matters up a bit, we find the girl assistant and the performer off stage at left. Each adjusts himself, the performer removes hat and beard and puts professional grip aside.

Then they go over to right side of stage behind the scenes and wait for their time to come on again.

In the meantime when doctor has closed door of cabinet before his exit, the policeman comes into cabinet. When doctor has gone off stage, he waits a moment and opens the door, scratches his head. The situation is apparently too much for him to understand.

When door is opened, the pirate moves around ledge of platform to the right side of cabinet where door conceals him from spectator's view.

Policeman turns and suddenly opens rear door at right, then suddenly opens left door in a dramatic way. Fig. 32. Then he closes the doors and steps out of the front of cabinet.

When rear doors are closed, the pirate moves back to rear of cabinet. Policeman closes front door, and still looks about perplexed.

The moment front door is closed, the pirate enters cabinet and raises door of compartment C in platform. He removes handkerchief cap and musses hair a bit. He removes mustache and eye piece and drops same on floor. He removes his pirate shirt and drops it also on floor. Then dons the apron and puts large mustache in place. He reaches over and picks up board covering compartment A and lifts it up bringing it up in a vertical position in front of the staples in sides of cabinet and finally lays board on the staples to form the bar. Fig. 13.

He reaches down and picks up bottles and glasses and places on the bar. If he has a beer sign handy, hang it at rear of cabinet.

All is ready now for the finish.

To allow time for this, policeman looks about perplexed and then finally gives up and sits down on the chair again. Soon he yawns, his head nods and he goes to sleep.

The performer and girl now come in gaily laughing and talking. Fig. 33.

The policeman wakes up and looks at them. He gets up and continues looking, finally he gets up and goes to girl and takes her arm.

Policeman says, "I thought you were dead."

She replies, "Dead? What are you talking about?"

Policeman: "Only a few moments ago, I came in here and I heard a scream come from the cabinet there and when I opened the door you were inside it, dead. Then I went out and got a doctor and you had vanished, and a clown came out of the air and I arrested him, then the doctor disappeared and a pirate came, and I lost my revolver, and he disappeared and finally I had to lick eighteen robbers and - -"

Performer: "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Either you are intoxicated or have been dreaming."

Policeman: "No sir. It all happened inside of that cabinet. I think there's spooks in it."

Performer: "Nonsense. There is nothing the matter with the cabinet. That is just my private —"

He opens door and shows inside of cabinet with bartender standing behind the bar and ready for service. Performer: "Bar."

Bartender says: "Well, gents, what'll it be?"

CURTAIN GOES DOWN.

The finish comes so unexpectedly and is of such a comedy nature that it gives a WALLOP to the finish of the illusion.

For encore, have curtain raised again. Bartender is serving drinks, and policeman, girl and performer raise their glasses.

And thus has been described to you "The Phantom of the Circus." Study it carefully, work up its dramatic moments and properly handled it can keep an audience on edge until the finish. There is a chance for many possibilities while door is closed and the small doors are of service.

Many weird effects could be operated by the hands through the openings using various articles.

Mystery and drama have held their place on the stage, and it has its place in magic. An illusion can be made about as thrilling, chilling and mystifying as a performer cares to make it, by surrounding it with the proper plot.

There is such a great field for the drama in illusion work that it opens a royal opportunity for many who have the showmanship and dramatic sense to appreciate it.

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