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the remaining eleven players range themselves in a line round them, with their right sides to the chairs. The fugleman now gives the word " Slow march!" upon which they march in slow time round the chairs in single file; "Quick march!" and then "Slow march!" again, until, watching his opportunity when they are least prepared, he shouts out, " Halt!" At this word they must all endeavour to sit down, and, as only one may occupy one chair, and as there are only ten chairs for eleven would-be sitters, one must necessarily be "left out in the cold."
This fate entails a forfeit; the struggle, therefore, for seats is very exciting, for none is willing to be the " odd man out," and sauve qui pent—each one for himself—is the order of the day. The arrangement of the chairs alternately back and front adds amazingly to the perplexity of the unfortunate member in search of a seat, and it is very amusing to notice how lovingly the crafty ones cling to the chairs which have their seats towards them, how carefully they eschew the backs—how it takes at least three steps to pass the former, while the latter arc easily cleared in one.
It adds very much to the spirit of the game, and, indeed, improves it very much in every way, if, instead of having a fugleman, a march is played on the piano. The players must keep time to the music, and its cessation is the signal to be seated. A good pianist will lead the players a pretty life, trying them with all sorts of time, and involving them in all sorts of troubles. A very effective plan is to make pretence with a good sounding chord or two of coming to a full stop, and then dart off into a lively quick march. One or two of the extra sharp players arc sure to be taken in, and to make a dart for seats; give them just time to get out of their seats and rejoin the ranks, and then, while they are yet covered with confusion and demoralized by their mistake, stop in right earnest. A " heavy bag" may be looked upon as a certainty.
This is a capital deception, and, if well carried out, one sure to please the spectators, who, unless they are in the secret, will try in vain to solve the mystery.
To produce this entertaining illusion two persons only are absolutely necessary, but the assistance and co-operation of a third will prove of great service both in making preliminary preparations and in carrying out the deception.
The other requisites are a table, of the dressing-table character, with a long cloth sweeping the ground, and a pair of curtains.
These curtains must be hung over the doorway between two rooms, or at the opening of some suitable recess, and the table, with its cloth so arranged as to allow no one to see underneath it, must be placed in front.
The exhibition should be held, if possible, in a separate room, from which the public must be rigorously excluded whilst the dwarf is being "got up." If, however, this be not practicable, another curtain should be brought over the front of the table until the dwarf is in his place; in fact, in either case, a double set of curtains, one in front and the other behind the table, is a great advantage.
The dwarf is managed thus: The taller of the two chosen to enact that part carefully disguises his face with a wig, a false moustache and beard, and a liberal application of burnt cork and rouge, and having divested himself of his coat, pulls over his hands and arms a pair of stockings, which should be Df some bright colour—scarlet for choice—and over them a pair of shoes, ornamented at the instep with enormous buckles or rosettes.
The shorter of the two then, standing behind him, thrusts his arms as far as they will go under his, the first-mentioned's, armpits, and a kind of tunic or other suitable garment is brought over all.
This tunic, of course, must be made for the purpose, and should be as extravagant as possible in colour and cut: a good-sized crimped frill or enormous turn-down collar is very effective.
Thus arrayed, the first-mentioned, standing behind the table, places his shocclad hands upon it, which thus represent the feet of the dwarf, and the curtains, which are fastened together a few inches above his head, are drawn apart so as just to reveal what appears to be the body of a dwarf with a most disproportioned head. By the way, a boy with a big head should generally be selected for this part, and its size should be exaggerated by art.
He must remember to lean slightly over the table; in fact, he should stand in the attitude of a man making an after-dinner speech, or the legs will not appear to support the body, and thus much of the vraiscmblance will be destroyed.
The third accomplice, who also undertakes the part of showman, must now admit the public, and introduce to them his wonderful lusus natnra.
This part of showman is, perhaps, the most important of the three, for upon his wit and readiness will depend all the real fun of the affair: the dwarf by itself can be but an object of passing curiosity, unless occasion be taken to make it a peg to hang some fun upon.
It is impossible for us to put words into the showman's mouth; we would only advise him to get up his " patter,'' as the showman's talk is called, as far as possible beforehand, imitating and parodying the regular professional giant and dwarf showman to the best of his ability.
Of course, the more ridiculous and impossible his statements are the better. His history, geography, &c, should be hopelessly at fault. A very good plan is to describe his dwarf as a thousand years old, and make him take part in the most incongruous historical events, jumbling up persons, localities, and dates in hopeless confusion.
This " patter " must be poured out in one continuous stream, and with perfect confidence and self-possession, or it loses half its attractions.
Both dwarf and showman, if they want to produce a really striking effect, must practise their parts together for some time previously.
If the dwarf can get up a dance, or play a short tunc upon a penny whistle, or perform some other similar feat, it will add much to the success of the show.
This whistle business is difficult at fust, because the hands do not belong to the owner of the mouth, and they must be guided by feeling alone, for their owner cannot see anything; but the difficulty may be overcome, and that without very much demand upon the learner's patience.
He who does the head and legs part must be careful not to forget his part: a momentary forgetfulness may betray him into the most ludicrous mistakes.
The writer's brother one day, while officiating in this capacity, was suddenly afflicted with an intense itching of the nose. Momentarily oblivious of his part, he lifted his shoe-clad hand to his nose to scratch the seat of irritation, an action that, of course, raised shouts of laughter from the audience, for the dwarf appeared to be "taking a sight," not with his thumb and fingers, but with his toes.
Fortunately the spectators looked upon this as part of the performance, and were proportionately delighted; but similar mistakes may not prove always equally fortunate.
This may be done in two ways; first and most difficult, by one boy standing on another's shoulders, and then putting over both a long loose garment, long enough to reach to the knees of the lower one.
This method, however, may be made much more easy by the upper player putting his feet in a kind of stirrup fastened to straps passing over the under one's shoulders, and hanging just down to the hips. Height, of course, is sacrificed, but greater safety is secured; the giant, too, can exhibit thus for a longer time, as the attitude is not so fatiguing.
The other and simpler method is to place a huge mask, which should represent a head and neck, on the top of a pole about five feet long, with a crosspiece to represent arms, and then tying a long cloak—it should be made for the purpose: any common material will do—round the neck of the mask, get bodily inside.
Now, by raising or depressing the pole, the giant may be made to attain an extraordinary stature or to shrink down again to ordinary dimensions ;it will.
The lower end of the cloak, about two feet from the bottom, must be fastened to the performer's waist, so that when the head is depressed the cloak may fall in folds, and not sweep the ground as it otherwise would.
There is a very entertaining illusion of this sort exhibited under the name of " The Nondescripts." Two figures with enormous heads, alternately giants and dwarfs, run about the circus and indulge in the most surprising vagarie being able apparently to contort themselves in every imaginable direction.
Their final coup is to put their heads deliberately through their legs, and make their exit with their eyes thus looking over their own shoulders.
HEAD, BODY, AND LEGS.
This is a very amusing game, and will afford an almost endless fund of amusement.
Though it is a drawing game, yet it does not require that the players shou'd be artists, or even in the ordinary sense be able to draw; a mere faculty— which nearly all schoolboys possess—of being able to scrawl some distant resemblance to a living creature, is all that is necessary; in fact, the worse the drawing of the several parts, the more amusing is commonly the result of the whole. The method of procedure is as follows:
Three or more players sit round a table, each with a sheet of paper folded into three, and a pencil. Each draws a head, of man, of
beast, of fish, &c, according to the fancy of the mo
ment, on the upper third, carrying the lines of the neck just over the fold as a guide to the next artist, and folds it down, and then passes it to his lefthand neighbour.
Each, then, on this new paper, draws a body, working from the lines of the neck above mentioned, but of course in total ignorance of the nature of the head thereto belonging, carries the lines over the next fold, doubles down, and passes the paper as before.
Each now, working from the lines brought over, affixes a pair of legs—the more eccentric the better—to the unknown body. The papers are then passed to the chairman, who opens them, and shows them for public inspection. The combinations produced in this way are most extraordinary, and often raise shouts of laughter.
The illustration is a faesimile of a drawing thus produced while describing the game to the draughtsman.
"Waxworks" rather resemble Tableaux. The actors have to represent wax figures, and must be very still, and endeavour to look like wax. They arc, of course, properly dressed for their parts. After being exhibited immovable they are apparently wound up at the back by a little boy— the little scooping toy used in village fairs may be employed for this to make the noise of winding up, and then the wax figures move, awkwardly and stiffly, as clockwork figures generally do. Those who have seen the waxworks" can imagine the fun they afford. Mrs. Jarlcy describes them --or a pretty Little Nell might do so —and much fun may be got out of the descriptions. Or you may exhibit Artemus Ward's famous show, and favour your audience with some of his jokes.
The following figures in position make excellent waxworks: Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Essex, Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond, Madame de Brinvilliers, dressed in the fashion of her age—that of Louis XIV.—holding a silver goblet of poison.
This is a trick in essence like that of German Dwarf, and requires, like it, some little preparation. The subject for decapitation is placed on his back on a table, his head towards the audience, and hanging over the edge; or, better still, he may lie on a mattrass placed on the table, with his head hanging over the edge.
His whole body now, up to the chin, is covered with a cloak; a wig and sham forehead, previously prepared, are brought over his mouth and nose, so as to make the place where his chin is appear to be the top of his head, and a nose and mouth are carefully painted on his forehead. The head now appears to rest upon its chin, and to be quite separate from the body, only leaning with its back against the trunk.
The individual selected should have a good crop of long hair to play the part of beard, and a good thick pair of artificial whiskers should be brought down either side of his face, and made to mingle with his hair.
If, in addition to this, a reasonably presentable false nose, with moustache attached, can be procured, it will be much better than the painted one, and will greatly further the deception.