The ballet begins with a group of puppets rehearsing for the evening’s performance. Small puppets appear and ask the puppeteer to read them the story of Pinocchio. A grown-up Pinocchio enters and joins the dance. Blindfolding Pinocchio, the small puppets bring a full-length mirror onto the scene. When the blindfold is removed, Pinocchio sees himself reflected in the mirror as the puppet he used to be… Next, the puppet in the reflection steps out of the mirror and bows to Pinocchio, followed by all of the characters the grown-up Pinocchio remembers from when he was a puppet—his father Geppetto, his friend the Talking Cricket, the beggars Fox & Cat, and his beloved Blue Fairy.
The scene changes to an earlier time in Geppetto’s workshop, where he creates the puppet Pinocchio. Geppetto gives his son a spelling book and sends him to school, but along the way Pinocchio becomes preoccupied watching performers from the Puppet Theater. Quickly, he sells his spelling book to buy a ticket to the performance. Greeted by others like himself, Pinocchio dances with the puppets and is paid five gold coins for his performance.
Soon he is set upon by the Fox & Cat, who swindle him out of his earnings. Pinocchio is devastated by his loss and the Blue Fairy appears to console him. After he lies to her about how he lost his money, the Blue Fairy tells Pinocchio that she will only forgive him if he goes to find his father Geppetto, who has traveled across the ocean looking for him. Pinocchio goes to the seaside and dives into the deep, where he meets Neptune, the king of the sea, and his court. Before long, he discovers his father Geppetto has been swallowed by a whale. Pinocchio immediately rescues his father.
The Blue Fairy appears and, for saving his father’s life, she turns the puppet into a real boy.
With a huge sigh of relief, Pinocchio announces,
“How foolish I was when I was a puppet, and how happy I am to have become a real boy.”