Le Revenant


16 pages

Le Revenant

| 1862 | Paris, France
Le Jardinier, Polichinelle, Pierrot, La Jardinière
Number of acts

Le Revenant is the last play in Duranty's collection Le Théâtre de marionnettes du Jardin des Tuileries first published in 1862. The title of the play, somewhat intriguing, is however misleading, since the revenant in question is only a trick quickly discovered. The action is fast-paced and highly effective, with a succession of twists and turns and highly visual gags leading up to the final catastrophe, which brings the play closer to the codes of comics and cartoons for today's readers and spectators. Although we do not know for sure whether this work was actually performed at the Théâtre des marionnettes directed by Duranty in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, and even less whether it was successful, we can say with certainty that it is a bravura piece for glove puppeteers. Indeed, it contains procedures requiring a certain dexterity on the part of the manipulator (Polichinelle and Pierrot coming and going carrying large vegetables or throwing them at the gardener) as well as the use of a pyrotechnic effect (the explosion of a firecracker lit by Pierrot with a flaming match which causes the stage set to collapse).

Plot summary

A gardener, wanting to get rid of thieves, falls victim to his own traps

Polichinelle and Pierrot rob a vegetable garden every night. The gardener sets up scarecrows. At first, the thieves tremble with fear and give up their loot before they discover the trickery. Then they put on the scarecrows' clothes to scare and hit the Gardener. The Gardener runs away, but he has recognised Pierrot and Polichinelle. He returns disguised as a ghost, but Pierrot and Polichinelle are not fooled and hit him again. When the Gardener wants to prevent Polichinelle from escaping, Polichinelle plants him in a pot with Pierrot's help. The wife frees her husband. They both fill a melon with powder and a wick. Pierrot and Polichinelle, mistaking the wick for a cigar, light it. The explosion sends Polichinelle and Pierrot flying out of the garden, but causes the house to collapse on the Gardener and his wife.

First performance

Paris, France,

Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries

Publications and translations


Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries, texte et composition des dessins par M. Duranty. Paris: MM. Dubuisson et Cie, Éditeurs-Libraires, 1862.

Modern edition

Louis Edmond Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes. Arles: Actes Sud, 1995.

Literary tones
Animations techniques
All audiences
Public domain


Theatrical techniques



Written by

Carole Guidicelli