The Phantom Of The Circus

EFFECT:

Near the center of the stage is a cabinet about three feet square and six and a quarter feet high. It is supported about a foot off the stage by a platform extending a bit around the cabinet. The cabinet has a door in front which opens outward and two doors in the back, the two doors together being the same size as the one larger door in front. The cabinet is covered with striped canvas such as is typical of the circus awnings and smaller tents.

The scene opens with a policeman who enters strolling along easily, swinging his club. He sits down on a chair a few feet at right of the cabinet and giving a yawn nods his head and appears to start taking a nap.

Suddenly a scream is heard in the cabinet. The policeman jumps up and looks about. He rushes over to the cabinet and opens the front door. On the bottom of cabinet is a circus girl, slumped up and motionless. Policeman examines her and finds her to be dead.

He closes the door a moment. By seeming luck a doctor happens to be passing by. Policeman motions to doctor and takes him to cabinet to see the dead girl. He opens the door but the cabinet is empty. The back doors are opened and both make a search for the girl's body. Not finding her, they again close the doors of cabinet and stand perplexed. To make sure, the policeman opens the front door again. There stands a clown peacefully smoking a cigarette. Policeman grabs his arms and leads him from the cabinet.

The doctor out of curiosity enters the cabinet and closes the door after him. There is a cry for help in the cabinet. Policeman opens door and cabinet is empty. The clown gives a derisive laugh. Policeman, perplexed, pushes door shut again. Suddenly a hand reaches through panel in door and removes policeman's hat and pulls it into cabinet. Policeman opens door and finds cabinet empty. His hat is hanging on wall of cabinet. He replaces hat on head again. When his back is turned, the clown quietly closes the door of cabinet, leaving policeman inside cabinet. Suddenly hands appear through small doors of various parts of cabinet. Clown laughs. There is a commotion inside cabinet. Door of cabinet suddenly swings open and policeman steps out, his hair mussed and his coat on wrong side out.

He draws a pistol from his trousers pocket and points it at the clown and forces him over to a parlor screen a few feet away from the right side of cabinet. The clown is forced to hide himself with the screen which is automatically shown to contain no one else.

Policeman backs over to cabinet and raises his hand with pistol. The pistol is flicked from his hands and disappears in cabinet. Policeman looks about the cabinet and readjusts his coat to normal condition.

Suddenly from behind the parlor screen comes an odd looking figure of a pirate. He folds up the screen; then suddenly draws a pistol and points it at the policeman. The door of cabinet opens quietly revealing the clown, who quietly steps out, closes the door and slips off the stage.

The pirate forces the policeman over to front of the cabinet, opens the door and makes him enter. He follows him inside and closes the door after them. Suddenly the door in front door of cabinet opens and a hand with a dagger is thrust through the opening. On the dagger is a card or paper with writing. The dagger is thrown on the floor and sticks in an upright position. The small door closes again.

The large door of cabinet opens and the doctor sticks his head out. After looking about he opens the door and steps out. There is no one to be seen in the cabinet. He closes the door again and noticing dagger with message, picks it up and reads it. He exits at the left of cabinet and goes offstage.

The cabinet door opens again, revealing the policeman. He is searching about cabinet for a clew of some kind. He opens the back doors again and shows the cabinet to be truly empty with exception of himself. He closes the back doors and then the front one.

Perplexed he sits down on the chair at the right of cabinet and meditates, his head down and eyes closed.

From the right side of stage the performer and girl assistant enter talking merrily. It is the same girl who was supposed to have been killed in the cabinet.

The policeman sits suddenly upright and looks at them. He gazes at them in amazement. He gets up and touches the girl on the arm to see if his eyes are deceiving him. He does not understand and wants an explanation. The performer and girl do not seem to understand what he is talking about. He tries to explain.

Performer tells policeman he is either intoxicated or has been dreaming because there is nothing wrong with the cabinet except that it contains his private bar. So he goes over to the cabinet and opens the door revealing a counter with bottles and glasses on it and a bartender standing behind ready to serve.

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