Toy Theater originated in the early 19th century for family members to perform for each other and friends in their homes. Kits could be purchased and constructed with scenery and characters made primarily out of wood and paper. This form of miniature theater eventually declined in popularity but never disappeared entirely. Traditional examples and reproductions of the art can be found at Pollock's Toy Shop in England.
The International Toy Theater Festival encompassed a wide variety of styles and performances, so Mr. Widdle and I felt comfortable that our Suitcase of Wonders would fit right in. Our act was scheduled to appear in the main lobby of the venue (St. Ann's Warehouse) for two days.
One nice surprise on that festival weekend was meeting Cardone, a talented New York musician, magician, and ventriloquist. He was performing a large scale piece involving the actual levitation of a full-sized puppet figure, in the manner of the Asrah (in magicians' parlance). It was good theater and a deceptive illusuion. The next day Cardone showed up at my show only to see Smallini also performing an Asrah levitation, but of course on a much smaller scale. He later told me he thought the Suitcase of Wonders was going to be a paper toy theater, but was delighted to see actual magic tricks being performed. We compared notes on our Asrah methods,