566 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
built very cheaply by laying on squared joists or even old boxes a few boards, which, covered with green baize, will answer for grass-plot or carpet.
If a drop-curtain be desired, a light wooden frame should be made by a responsible carpenter and attached firmly to the front part of the stage. The curtain is nailed to the top piece, while at its lower edge a metal rod should be run through the hem, at the back of which rows of rings are attached. Through these, cords are passed and run over pulleys, attached to the upper part of the frame.
A pyramidal form is usually aimed at in disposing groups for tableaux, and the best effects are the simplest. The more natural the attitude and expression, the more pleasing.
Upon occasion, coloured lights add much to the interest and dramatic illusion. Imagine, for instance, a tableau of Joan of Arc bound to the stake, straw heaped at its foot, her hands clasped upon her breast, her eyes uplifted to a cross held high by a priest or monk, while another man leans over to apply the torch.
Just before the curtain falls, if a red light be thrown upon the straw and then flashed rapidly over the whole scene, the effect will be very striking.
This red fire is easily made. Burn in an iron pan the following mixture, to which is added a little spirits of wine: Five ounces of dry nitrate of strontia, an ounce and a half of sulphur, five drachms of chlorate of potash and four of sulphuret of mercury, all of which are powdered. Mix all thoroughly on paper before transferring to the pan. A polished reflector fitted to the pan will enable one to direct or concentrate the light.
If for such a tableau as the three witches in Macbeth a ghastly look is required, mix common salt with spirits