Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paper Theatre - Don't Shove! You'll All Get Your Turn In The Boiler!

Okay, I never thought anything would top The Temptation of St. Anthony.  But, it appears I was oh, so wrong....

Let me introduce you to.....La Chaudiere Infernale!

This little beauty is basically The Theatre of Hell.  "La Chaudiere Infernale" translates to mean "The Infernal Boiler", though this particular version of Hell isn't so much scary as interesting and hilarious.  The flags across the front say something to the effect of "Commoners and millionaires alike are equal in hell.  Trust us, you won't feel the cold anymore once you're down here."  And there's something about "the bite that cures...." but I couldn't get the translator to translate the last phrase.

Anyway, the scene here is of people going on trial in hell, to decide whether they'll be cast into the pit.  You're given judges and prosecutors, bailiffs, court reporters.....if it exists in a courtroom, this paper theatre includes some weird demon version of it for you to use in the scene.  The demons here are variations on the ones used in the St. Anthony theatre:  they're shaped like normal humans except for their tails and the fact that their horned heads are mysteriously green.  The ones that aren't dressed in court robes are, similar to the St. Anthony theatre, clad in nothing but pairs of dorky bermuda shorts, which is

What's even stranger is that the strangeness stops abruptly with the King and Queen of Hell, who I'm assuming are there either to preside over the trials, or observe them.  One way or the other, they're both suspiciously normal-looking, although by the looks of the ground at their feet, they're appropriately fire-proof:

The other great thing about this one is the people that are there to be tried.  You'd think they'd be murderers and sickos, considering they've been sent to Hell and all, right?  Nope.  Not that they haven't done bad things, but, well, I'll let you judge for yourself.  This lady....

She's "the vain one which ruined its household for its toilet".  I'm assuming she cheated on her husband and probably didn't make a secret of it.  That seems like hell-worthy material.  Moving on....

This woman was "the commercial one of fish which in sold that rotted".  So, she's a fish seller who sold bad fish.  Hmmm...if she knowingly sold bad fish, I guess that's pretty evil....  Next.

This one is "the dairywoman which falsified its milk".  Okay, I have no idea what the frick that's supposed to mean.  She sold fake milk?  Is that even possible? I guess it must be pretty bad, if she ended up in hell for it.  She looks like she's trying to repent, though.  Maybe they'll let her off.

This dude ups the ante a little.  He's "the reveller who has eats his fortune in orgies and did not make a good in its life".  Woof.  I doubt they're going to give this guy too much leeway, because, you know, orgies....they're bad, right?  His yuck factor alone is going to count against him.

This guy's baffling crime was that he's "the greengrocer who mixed with the chicorey has his coffee".  I suppose the greengrocer's only chance for freedom lies in whether or not the King and Queen of Hell are the type who enjoy chicory as a coffee substitute.

"La Chaudiere Infernale" is really elaborate, full of numerous accessories that would never fit onto the stage if you tried to use every single one of them at once.  Chairs, tables, soapboxes, rocky outcroppings....there's a ton of stuff.  Another interesting feature is that every item and person is double-sided.  This is a very cool feature, because the chairs are rad skeleton-y type deals, and they couldn't be shown off from the front, because of the people sitting in them.

Have fun!  Click the images to embiggen.


  1. Hello ,
    I can't open the "chaudi√®re infernal n°1"

  2. Thanks a lot

  3. Anonymous10:48 AM

    A fine sheet, never saw it before. Perhaps I can help with some translations:

    First the front:
    In hell the proletarian is as welcome as the millionaire.
    Here you do not fear the biting of the cold
    Healing of frostbite guaranteed.

    The damned
    The coquette, who ruined her household by buying expensive clothes, in the boiler!!!
    (No adultery alas)
    The milkmaid who diluted her milk with water, in the boiler!!!
    The greengrocer who mixed his coffee with chicorey, in the boiler!!!
    The (umbrella)-merchant who sold bad quality for good, in the boiler!!!
    The libertine who ate up/spent his whole fortune on orgies, and never did a good thing in his whole life, in the boiler!!!
    The cobbler who only delivered cardboard soles, in the boiler!!!
    The fishwife who only sold rotten fish, in the boiler!!!

    Hope this helps.
    They say that in hell you meet the most interesting people. In this hell, the sins and the sinners could not be duller.
    Greetings from a Dutch Toy Theater performer.
    Ab Vissers
    Phoenix Papieren Theater
    Utrecht Holland

  4. Thank you for the translations! They certainly shed light on things!

  5. Do you know if there is any script or story for this little theater?


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