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Petrushka is part of Russian folklore, but is not a folk tale. It is in the European tradition of 'Harlequin' and 'Punch', performed in a puppet theatre at travelling fairs. Petrushka is tired of being a clown in a puppet show. He wants to save pretty ballerina from Strongman and take her in his arms far, far away. His mind is made up and, encouraged by Skeleton, the next day he challenges his rival to a duel. But he's no match for Strongman and ends up in a lifeless, crumpled heap. 'That old ragdoll needs chucking out,' says the showman. But Petrushka has other ideas...