trickwork

Definition

Theater

  • A general term for stage devices that create illusions. Oneof the earliest records of trickwork describes how a garden scenewas suddenly changed into a house during a production at Covent Gardenin 1743. The art depended heavily upon the use of traps,which allowed actors to appear as if from nowhere, or to pass throughapparently solid walls, etc.

    Trickwork was especially popular during the Victorian era,when British actors became famous throughout Europe and America forthe tumbling and other acrobatic skills that were required by manyof the commonest illusions. Two popular feats were the roll-out,in which an actor rolled through loose canvas at the bottom of thescenery to appear as if from thin air, and what was probably the mostdifficult physical stunt, the leap, an acrobatic jump upthrough a hidden opening in the scenery. Trickwork is still sometimesseen in pantomime.

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