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Puppet Show


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AT: The Fairground Booth; Farce A: Aleksandr Blok Pf: 1906, St Petersburg Pb: 1906 Tr: 1950 G: Drama in 1 act; Russian prose and verse S: A room, early 20th c. C: 4m, 1f, extrasThe silent and beautiful Columbine is wooed by a sad Pierrot and a lively Harlequin. Pierrot, who believes that he is to marry Columbine, is warned by a group of fashionable mystics that she is the bringer of death. A writer comes to complain that his realistic work is being misinterpreted. At a masked ball three couples declare their love for each other. A clown bleeds, wounded by a cardboard sword. Harlequin, leading a torchlight procession, attempts to reach the countryside by smashing his way through the paper set. Death appears, and Pierrot realizes it is Columbine. When the author appears to reunite the lovers, the scenery and all the characters but Pierrot disappear. Left alone, he plays a sad tune on his pipe.

AT: The Fairground Booth; Farce A: Aleksandr Blok Pf: 1906, St Petersburg Pb: 1906 Tr: 1950 G: Drama in 1 act; Russian prose and verse S: A room, early 20th c. C: 4m, 1f, extras

The Puppet Show, Blok's first play, was based on a poem of the same name, and its poetic and symbolic elements persist in the stage version, presented with great wit and charm and, importantly, with a deconstructive satirical edge. The original production by Meyerhold, who played Pierrot and whose ideas are now incorporated into published versions of the text, transformed the play into a theatrical feast. Thus, even if the allegory of Columbine, representing both the death of the old Tsarist regime and hope for the new order, is no longer relevant to a modern audience, this elegant one-acter can still operate its charm.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Authors

Alexander Blok (1880—1921)


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