- On display here from 6 July to 31 July 2013
- On display at Royal Shakespeare Company from 6 June to 4 July 2013.
Horniman Museum and Gardens caption
The Fool is a powerful character in many theatre traditions. Fools are subversive and they can break all the rules and turn the world upside down. Laughter is the greatest antidote to power.
Through ridicule and mockery the Fool can reveal truths that no one else dares to speak, and expose the unquestioned authority of powerful people as absurd. The Fool is an inverted reflection of the King – and the Bauble or Wand he carries is his sceptre or ceremonial mace.
This Fools Wand or Bauble was made for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear in 2007 directed by Trevor Nunn. The face and costume on the wand is traditionally modelled on that of the Fool who carries it; in this case those of the actor Sylvester McCoy.
It was designed by Christopher Oram and made by the RSC Costume Department in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Royal Shakespeare Company caption
This bauble or ‘marotte’ was created for the Fool in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear in 2007.
Designed by Christopher Oram, the prop was made to look like Sylvester McCoy who played the Fool in the production.
The bauble is made of wood and textile and has a mechanical mouth. It was made by the RSC Props department in Stratford-upon-Avon who produced all the small and soft props, including hand written letters passed between characters and an intricate shoulder bag to hold the bauble and other inseparable items belonging to the Fool, such as the spoons he played in their miniature violin case.
In this production, King Lear, played by Sir Ian McKellen, carried the bauble after the Fool was hanged. This strong visual link between the two characters reminded the audience of the Fool's constant judgement that it is King Lear who is a fool.
Real court jesters would carry similar objects to mimic a King's sceptre, so when King Lear carried the mock sceptre in the play it represented his foolishness and fall from grace.
This production was first performed in May 2007 in Stratford-upon-Avon at The Courtyard Theatre.