Herr Kasperle (from Wilkommen Zum Rattenfanger Theater 2019)

Herr Kasperle

Every man is a Faust (Dr Zhivago)

Near the gushing Jordansprudel
and the high green hair of the ginko
is an antique shop
set in palatial grounds

Herr Kasperle sits next to the Polyphony turntable
on a black wooden box
Watches tourists pass by the score of Schubert
as cut glass tulips sparkle in the window

Layered Deutsche Mark faces, cheek to cheek
shiver with dust rain as the door creaks
Kaleidoscope hides the meaning of life in peephole spiral jewels
Encyclopedic postcards of People-Proving-Their-Joy with a rushed hand

Woman coughs as she descends the spiral staircase
Russian sickle jacket hides behind the door
The owner adjusts his pince-nez

Ghosts hear echoes of red hammer taps
Carved head tilts, stares
Herr Kasperle blinks
dreams of his string ancestors
Shadow, Tabletop, Glove
Finger, Stick, Ventriloquist
The entertaining races
Curriculum Vitae displays appearances in Faust
Street theatre in a frayed patchwork waistcoat
Glued beard en pointe
Makeshift stages conjure children’s gazes

Herr Kasperle repeats his line:
A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart

Desperate clutch of memento to prolong pilgrimage
I hold your wooden hand
I have to take you home

Copyright © Deborah Edgeley

Rattenfanger Theater

Folge Mir

Meine Damen, Herren und Kinde
Folge mir…

Under the belled tower
We wait for the clockwork Rattenfänger

Staccato chug
Brass feather in cap
Cold flute lips call coloured shadows of what was…

Our past has tails
that swish in the mud

Shaky Super Eight sketches of the 70s
Our Past Existed (PG, 118 minutes)

A splice of plastic eidetic
Encode, store, retain, recall
Have you got capacity?

Brain as projector to an outdoor screen
Orange flames from neurons
fire original vignettes
from a haphazard storyboard
STOP AT 5:31:
Graceful Mutti
Chiffon siren swish
Smoke screen of Uncle Georg’s cigar
Chime of the first bell
Backlight of Vater’s steady hand
Black onyx glints

Eyelashes flutter as manicured nail flicks ash
Pigtailed girls hold hands and look up to the belled tower
Leiderhosen with embroidered edelweiss

of the Rattenfänger
Folge mir…

Our Present Exists (18, Infinity)

STOP AT MEMORY #85647923788…
We watch the cartoon in Hameln
Synchronised whiskered faces poke through holey käse
Choreographed ballet-pointe gallop
I like cartoons, you said. I didn’t know.
Is he a good man or a bad man?
I didn’t know.
Where do all the lost neurons go?

Hypnotised kinder skipping
Koppelburg mountain cave
To the crippled boy
who slings his crutches
Cartwheels to…

-Candy Heaven (away from carpentry bondage)
-The Grim Reaper (rescued from plague, under his cloak, like stolen watches)
-The Teutonic Land (Landowner gathers orphans, like hay bails, legs flailing)
-The River Weser (drowned with the rats because of anger issues towards the cowboy mayor)

Is he a good man or a bad man?
Folge mir…

Now, imagine our What-Was-Vignettes as others saw
Not from your eyes, from his eyes, then her eyes, then their eyes
Aerial, behind, extreme long shot
from a bird
1974 Hameln town hall
Six family members’ vignettes of the same moment
Stretch our sketches into patchwork perspectives
Fact and fiction splices
Swishing tails in mud

Create you own theater
Clapperboard snap
That’s a wrap.

Copyright © Deborah Edgeley

Folie à Deux (a shared psychosis)

It was the rocking chair that transfixed him. That familiar wooden creak in D Major, the way it fell back to exactly the same place after a few rocks, such comfort in its predictability. On the rare occasion that he got to sit in it, Dominic pretended he was a teacher, donning Granny’s glasses, pretending to read New French Feminisms, picking out a random word with his finger, to mispronounce on page 34.

There was a loud scraping noise. Granny and Dominic looked at each other. Granny sighed and logged the time in her notebook, and what she thought the noise was this time. Entry 48. 11:07am. Large wardrobe moved to opposite side of bedroom.

Dominic watched Granny as she wrote, the complex map of blue veins on her hand, the pathway of tired blood chugging along for the umpteenth time. Dominic looked at his hands. One freckle on each hand in more or less the same place. Deux freckles. Un, deux.

Dominic dangled the apple spiral Granny chiselled from a cox pippin, as if it was a nursery mobile. He moved it over the bruise on his leg, as if it spouted magical properties. He looked at the clock. Only one hour before Dad finished work. He looked at his other leg. Blank canvas, at the moment.

‘She wants me out, it’s obvious. I hate her. I’m not going, I’ve been in this house since I married your Pop.’

‘What do you mean, Granny?’

’48 times. 48 noises. 48 rages. How many times does she need to move furniture, nextdoor?’

‘Granny, what’s the next number after deux?’


‘Un, deux…’

‘What’s that got to do with…?’ Granny reached out her arms and Dom made no hesitation to sit on her lap and join the chair dance.



‘Yes, trois. Good boy.’

Over Granny’s shoulder, Dom saw movement in the backyard. He leapt up and went outside. There was the back of the neighbour’s head. When she turned around to go back in, he gave the longest of stares, a suspended blink, turned on his heel, slammed the backdoor, and locked it with a flourish.