by pablo vision
[…fairground atmosphere burlesque hand-operated steam organs calliopes cut and spliced reversed harmonium kaleidoscopic grotesque waltzing carousel…]
PABLO FANQUE'S CIRCUS ROYAL
Grandest Night of the Season! and positively the LAST NIGHT BUT THREE! being for the BENEFIT OF MR.KITE, and Mr. J. Henderson, the celebrated somerset-thrower! Wire dancer, vaulter, rider, etc. On TUESDAY Evening, February 14, 1843
The late show: discerning gentlemen only. From out of the clearing stage-fog emerge Sophia and Lena. Identical twins in diaphanous robes. They delicately embrace and they slowly kiss. Like graceful ballerinas they separate to reveal Descroix. Black hair parted in the middle. A cadaverous face. Cruel piercing eyes. A single raised finger stills the audience. He produces a gun. And points it towards the audience. His outstretched arm describes an ominous arc. Slowly backwards and forwards. A drum roll on the snare. His arm abruptly stops. His victim chosen. Sophia and Lena escort the frightened man to the stage, and lead him to Descroix. A bullet is initialled and placed in the gun. Sophia disrobes, and Lena binds her ankles and wrists to the wooden frame. Persian silk. A plate of glass is wheeled on stage, in between Descroix and Sophia. Lena kisses Sophia, and moves away. Descroix extends a steady hand. Complete silence. A shot. The glass shatters. Sophia's head jerks backwards. Slumps forwards. Blood streams from her mouth and cascades down her body. Descroix bows to the hysterical audience. Lena kisses her lifeless sister. Desperate hands through long dark hair. Sophia spits out the bullet. The marked bullet is confirmed.
End of Act One.
[…grotesque reversed waltzing burlesque harmonium hand-operated steam organs atmosphere fairground carousel calliopes cut and spliced kaleidoscopic…]
Mrs. Kite and Henderson, in announcing the following Entertainments ensure the Public that this Night's Production will be one of the most splendid ever produced in this Town, having been some days in preparation. Mr. Kite will, for this night only, introduce the celebrated HORSE ZANTHUS! Well known to be one of the best Broke horses IN THE WORLD!!!
The late show: encounters with the spirit world. A half circle of chairs around the raised centre stage. Descroix sits on a carved wooden throne. Serpents coil around the legs. The gaping jaws of dragons on each of the arms. A snap of the fingers. Sophia and Lena carry a child's casket to the feet of Descroix. Thirteen volunteers are positioned in the semi-circle. Sophia opens the lid of the casket. A ventriloquist's dummy in the image of his master is lifted from the casket and placed on the lap of Descroix. The doll's arms hang limply. Who wishes to know what cannot be known? Books and pens are passed to the volunteers. They are requested to select a page, and to circle just one word. Lena inserts a rubber ball into the mouth of Descroix, and secures it in place. Egyptian silk. Descroix turns the dummy to face each volunteer in turn. The dummy speaks. Twelve words. Abstaining. Hearken. Jasmine. Gondola. Venerated. Devastation. Sacred. Nuances. Corrupted. Reflection. January. Forbade. Twelve nods. The dummy stares at the final seated man. Unblinking, unnatural eyes. Silence. One of the lifeless arms rises and points. ‘Death!' the dummy deeply intones.
End of Act Two.
[…reversed hand-operated steam organs carousel calliopes atmosphere waltzing harmonium fairground burlesque cut and spliced kaleidoscopic grotesque…]
Mr. HENDERSON will undertake the arduous Task of THROWING TWENTY-ONE SOMERSETS, on the solid ground. Mr. KITE will appear, for the first time this season, On The Tight Rope, When Two Gentlemen Amateurs of this Town will perform with him. Mr. HENDERSON will, for the first time in Rochdale, introduce his extraordinary TRAMPOLINE LEAPS and SOMERSETS! Over Men & Horses, through Hoops, over Garters and lastly through a Hogshead of REAL FIRE! In this branch of the profession Mr. H challenges THE WORLD!
The late show: not for the faint hearted. Descroix throws a rope up into the air. The rope remains suspended. Sophia and Lena once more disrobe. They wrap Egyptian silk around their hands. Together they climb the rope. A shout from the audience. Be careful of rope burns. Descroix points his curved sword. Silence. The women climb into the darkness, and out of view. Descroix orders them down. Silence. Descroix sheaths his sword and climbs. Out of view and into the darkness. Terrible silence. A scream. More screams. Legs and arms fall to the floor. Blood and entrails. Descroix descends alone. The rope slowly descends. Like a serpent. Descroix places the robes over the disembodied limbs. The robes slowly rise. Sophia and Lena join Descroix in a final bow.
End of the Final Act.
[…cut and grotesque hand-operated atmosphere harmonium fairground calliopes reversed steam burlesque kaleidoscopic carousel waltzing spliced organs …]
All rights reserved.
[previously published online at MungBeing – Issue 21 – August 2008]