“What Clockton-upon-Teas needs is some culture,” announced Lucy Larks-Thrustington.
Lucy is one of our newest arrivals at Steampunk-Shrunk towers. She is, by profession, a dancer of some sort. By Jove, she certainly has the legs for it… Ahem. Anyway, she was looking at me and my brother Charles as she spoke, as if she expected us to conjure up some kind of performance.
“Not quite our forte, Madam,” I told her. “Now if it’s a nice device or gadget you’re after – a portable time machine or flux capacitor or something, look no further. And anyway, theatres are closing down everywhere – all this confounded anti-sociable distancing malarkey.”
All the more reason for us to open a few, then,” she smiled cheerfully. “Let’s make miniature theatres – with cardboard cut-out characters. Then we can put on shows for the good people of Clockton; cheer them up a bit, you know? I’m sure you clever gentlemen would be able to make the performers move around the stage. You are so gifted.”
Oh, that smile! Gracious, she is a very persuasive young lady. Charles was clearly all too keen to help.
“What scale were you thinking of, dear lady?” he asked, eagerly grabbing a notepad and pencil. “After all, we are already what most would consider to be – ah – miniature.”
(This was said with an accusatory glance at me. Will I never live down that unfortunate space-time fluctuation which might have been partly due to the malfunction of an early device I built? I know it led to our population shrinking to one twelfth of our original size and I have apologised repeatedly. However we are very comfortable here in Steampunk-Shrunk Towers and have what many would call an excellent life. thanks to dear Mrs Steampunkle – a normal-sized lady who has opened her home to us.)
“No, darling! Far smaller than us!” exclaimed Lucy. “Tiny people – about this big?” She indicated approximately an inch with her hands. “I see them on little stages dancing and perhaps a few trapeze artistes, a tumbler or two and ballet, of course…”
“Well,” I said, slowly, “there’s a pile of box lids in the corner of the workshop, left over from the clockwork bird cases. They might do for stages. About the right size…”
“Splendid!” she cried. “I knew you would be the gentlemen to ask! I’ll go and cut out some suitable characters and leave the construction work to you.”
Charles decorated the stages, creating backdrops, curtains, wings and so forth. I set to work with copper wire, coffee stirrers, cocktail sticks and pins to create the movement. Soon we had several little theatres with beechwood sliders to move Lucy’s figures across the stage, rocking swings and even a metal balancing beam for a tumbler to turn around on.
The good people of Clockton-upon-Teas and all the inhabitants of the Towers came to watch our performances. Ava found some splendid musical renditions to play on her phonograph and while Charles and I moved the sliders back and forth and twiddled the knobs, the audience gasped and applauded in a most gratifying manner.
Should you wish to choreograph your own miniature ballet or create a circus performance of your own, do head across to the SteampunkDollsHouse, where our creations can be purchased. You will discover there that Lucy, too, has her price. I suspect she is that sort of dancer…