The Christ balloon

- Yg. 1922, No. 20 -

Theatertechnisches from Oberammergau

An American magazine has its special correspondent posted to Oberammergau report:

A new attraction, which in many ways means a valuable supplement to the repertoire, is set to be held for this year's theater season in Oberammergau. The technical achievements of our time will make it possible to represent the ascension of the Lord in a natural and truthful way on the splendid alpine free stage.

The scenery shows the area of ​​the Ölberg near Bethanien. For obscure observers is in the foreground a way board attached with the inscription: "Mount of Olives. To Jerusalem 1 Sabbath Way ". The eleven disciples appear, in the middle the Savior. The group arranges and it becomes the words Acts chapter. 1, verse 4-8 spoken. And now the wonderful thing happens: slowly, under the astonished gestures of the surrounding disciples, the figure of the Master rises into the air. As he floats faster and faster into the sky, his arms spread majestically, blessing; the disciples kneel down in prayer. A representation of a deeply moving and uplifting effect. At the same time a triumph of modern theater technique: the figure of Christ is in reality an artistically constructed hydrogen balloon, which is sufficiently loaded with sandbags and rolled into invisible cogs. With the words of farewell spoken by a voice from the wings - their ghostly, distant sound fits in perfectly with the situation - some of the heaviest sacks, placed in the back of the figure, are cleverly hung by Peter or John; As a result, Jesus slowly rises into the air. An automatic device, similar to the timed fuse shells, gradually empties the other sandbags, so that the shape rises faster and faster to the sky. The drifting of the fine sand remains unnoticed in the auditorium; if some of the disciples have to rub their eyes, this adds to the enthralling truth of life of the scene. At the same time the two arms spread sideways through an ingenious mechanism - here the expansion of the gas with increasing altitude is used as the driving force. Meanwhile, two men in white dresses have joined the group. You speak the biblical conclusion: You men of Galilee, what do you stand for and see heaven? This Jesus, who is taken from you to heaven, will come as you have seen him go to heaven. The curtain falls, while high up, the figure of the one who has fallen into heaven disappears into the ether.

The word of the two angels has its special meaning: namely, because it actually fulfills itself. It would, of course, be financially impossible to use a new Christ balloon for each performance, as its complicated construction makes it rather expensive. The circumstance here is that the arms spreading out at the driveway act as a parachute as soon as the balloon begins to sink as a result of gas loss. As a result, the work of art, in a slow hovering usually completely intact, falls to the ground somewhere in the vicinity - "he will come as you saw him go to heaven" is not too boldly asserted - and is cheered on by the village youth of Oberammergau sent out in this way brought back.

1922, 20 Adam Heller