Pageant Wagons


Le ballet comique

Le ballet comique de la reine Louise. Performed in and around The Louvre in 1581.


In the first intermède three sirens and a triton appear, a sparkling wagon with a fountain with around it 12 naiads who later on perform a ballet. After that Mercury comes down on a cloud. In the second intermède we see 8 satyrs entering while making music, and after them again an amazing wagon with a forest on it in which we see 4 dryads sitting in a circle……

If you want to see something amazing check the internet about this spectacle….

Traveling Theatres

Hundreds of years ago there were theatre companies travelling from village to village to amaze people and earn a decent living with their grand scale performances. The most spectacular shows were performed from special wagons. Decors could collapse in the floor, while others could be moved out of other props.

It was a constant moving and changing décor. But since they travelled with more than one wagon the show also moved from one stage to another. The audience could remain seated, while the company simply rolled on the next thing on wheels.

 

They even had several wagons combined to form one giant stage that they even could turn around to create a new world. And the (paying) audience could sit on a scaffold that was brought along.

 

Pageant Wagons

These theatrical moving objects were called pageant wagons. They were moved through the streets while the audience stayed in one place – like parade floats. The term “pageant” is used to refer to the stage, the play itself, and the spectacle.

It was quite a spectacle by itself seeing them travel….

Plays were performed in sequence, so sometimes each play was performed several times at the same time. They simply moved to the next group of audience. The big parades that we see nowadays are basically the modern version of pagean wagon theatre plays.

 

Today you can see the principle of the pageant wagons in many of the Disney Parades.

And in parades like the biggest flower parade in the world, the dahlia corso in Zundert, Holland.

Several themepark still have shows based on parades. Most stuntshows are using this principle.

The Royne Theatre

What if you would go back to the garden of The Louvre? What if you just put a scaffold in your amusement park and let the show  simply move along. You could even use backdrops or a screen on the back. If you made a couple of large moving platforms or put all the decors and props on wheels, you could perform a show in the way of a parade. You could have ten, even twenty different parades at one day. No changing of your theatre. Just a new platform on wheels….


I thought a little bit about such a theatre and came up with this very simple 3D plan, only to give an idea of what I have in mind. The platforms can be stalled in the building that also forms the background of the place. The platforms can move forward through a large sliding door or rolled on from either side. You can have a roof over it. And also close the sides with sliding doors. If it’s a moving roof you can even do the most amazing pyrotechnics stuff.
When you have a relatively small amusement park this can be a perfect alternative for a complete theatre. You can have small shows with no platforms at all. For instance a kids show of clowns that bring  their own props. And up to a grand scale musical with 10 platforms, extra props, lighting and backgrounds on a large projection screen. All it takes is a creative mind to take it away….

Want to know more? Want to discuss this subject? evillusionist@gmail.com