A Portable Scrim Stage
This is a folding, portable stage for use with professional puppets. It uses a semi-transparent backdrop or "scrim" of heavy gauze or semi-transparent cotton material, hung between the operator and his puppets, A. The 3-screen stage should be approximately of the dimensions shown. The framework can be made of wood, aluminum piping or aluminum angle strips. The three frames are pin-hinged together B, so that they can be easily taken apart for transport. A bar across the open back locks the screens into position when in use, C. The masking material, of cloth, canvas or heavy cardboard, D, can be permanently tacked to the frames or can be draped attractively. The playboard, E, should be about six inches wide and placed in the proscenium opening so that half of it is set back inside the stage.
This way, properties can be clipped to the back edge of the board while the curtains are closed in front. For the draw curtains, F, use any of the standard drapery tracks. Or the two curtains can be simply hung from eyelets on a wire and drawn by hand from inside. Lighting is best placed outside the proscenium as shown, G. The rod from which the scrim hangs should be movable forward and back. It must be close enough to the playboard so that the puppets can manipulate props placed on the board. Background scenery can be painted on the scrim with poster paint; backgrounds can be varied by the use of any number of removable scrims, each with its supporting rod. The great advantage of this type of stage is that the operator has direct vision of his puppets and props through the scrim. However, it has to be a shallow stage and cannot be much wider than shown here.