Jupiter & the Sphinx - Edward Gordon Craig


4 pages


Jupiter & the Sphinx

Edward Gordon Craig | 1916 | Marina di Pisa, Italy
The Blind Woman, Dr. Fell, A Marionette, Jupiter, The Voice of Ops, Blind-Boy, Cockatrice, Parrot, A Sailor, The Mayor, Corporation, A Night-Watchman, And Others
Number of acts

The Drama for Fools is a large-scale dramatic cycle containing multiple puppet plays. This cycle kept Craig exceedingly busy between 1916 and 1918. It was supposed to hold 365 short plays and be performed like a traveling show: each night, from 31 April to 31 March, a new play would be shown in a new location. Craig, who wrote his plays under the pen name Tom Fool, stopped writing before the cycle was finished and gave up on performing the play himself.

Nonetheless, he stored his drafts in three cardboard boxes, as a collection of typewritten notebooks containing many illustrations and whose covers display words written in colourful calligraphy. He cared immensely for these notebooks, as he improved, corrected, and supplemented them until the 1950s. This collection is today held at the Institut International de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mézières.

Jupiter & the Sphinx
follows The Roman Adventure. It centres on Blind Woman - Blind Boy’s foster mother. The character was already depicted in the drafts of The Drama for Fools, as well as in Hell, where she appears as a superficial woman with conflicting moods who chases Jupiter.

Plot summary

A woman fails to ensnare the man she desires

Blind Woman is lying on her bed, which is on top of her house, and narrating her unsuccessful love stories to Doctor Fell. Her tale lasts for a few days. It ends when the curtain falls and a Marionette comes to announce that the Theatre Director found a way to make her stop her storytelling by gifting her a ring which grants one wish. Blind Woman declares to Doctor Fell that she wants revenge on Jupiter. Thanks to the ring, she turns into a Sphinx to force Jupiter to surrender to her power by asking him riddles. She asks Doctor Fell to dress up as a nanny. Jupiter is sailing at sea, dressed as a ship’s captain. He receives a call from Mama Ops, his mother, who wishes him to meet a smart woman and lets him know that she revealed his location to Blind Woman. Jupiter is distraught and reaches the boat of Blind Boy, Cockatrice, and Columbus, who also decide to dress up to mislead Blind Woman. The latter awaits Jupiter on a dock, under the guise of a Sphinx. She is persuaded that he disguised himself as a woman to get away from her. Jupiter, as a captain, lands with Blind-Boy, Cockatrice, and Columbus, who cross-dress as the Three Graces. Blind Woman, who thinks Cockatrice to be Jupiter, asks him a riddle and snatches his veil. Cockatrice appears, wearing a nightgown and makeup as a lady. Blind Woman faints into Doctor Fell’s arms while the others take this opportunity to get back on the ship and flee.

When she comes to her senses, she meets a Watchman and tries to trick him with a riddle as well, while the curtain falls.

Related works
The Drama for Fools, Edward Gordon Craig1914-1918
Composition date

Publications and translations


Edward Gordon Craig, The Drama for Fools / Le Théâtre des fous. Montpellier: L'Entretemps, 2012.

  • Edward Gordon Craig, The Drama for Fools / Le Théâtre des fous. Montpellier: L'Entretemps, 2012.


Conservation place

Institut International de la Marionnette - Charleville-Mézières, France
Literary tones
Comical, Satirical, Fantasy
Animations techniques
String marionette
Not specified
Institut International de la Marionnette & Edward Gordon Craig Estate


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Didier Plassard