Phantom of the Operetta
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by John C. Bunnell
Description: While serving as an artist-in-residence at a small Pacific Northwest college, stage actress Juliet McKenna is directing Gilbert & Sullivan's The Sorcerer. Rivalries among the student cast are only to be expected--but are other troubles the work of the theater's restless ghost? Nonsense, Juliet insists, and with Sidhe-born senses to back her conclusions, she should know. But as the curtain rises on opening night, she's forced to revise her opinions. With one performer in chains and another possessed, the show seems poised to end in disaster--because even if Juliet can improvise a new ending, she may not be able to free her students without revealing her own Sidhe origins.
eBook Publisher: Uncial Press/Uncial Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: March 2008
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [42 KB]
Reading time: 22-30 min.
"A fun read from beginning to end. This is one tale you'll be glad you read. Guaranteed to make you laugh as you try to figure out what is going on with the play."--Anne K. Edwards
I walked to center stage in near-silence, an effect achieved by a combination of soft-soled shoes, a very light step, and hearing sufficiently sensitive to identify potentially creaky boards before putting too much weight on them. Our small orchestra's opening music could be heard faintly through the curtain, with the even fainter rustle of the audience behind them. We had sold out the house--a matter of some four hundred seats--and rumor had it that papers in Yakima and Spokane had sent critics in addition to the ones we had already identified. The cast eyed me, most already in their places, but kept quiet.
"Four minutes," I said, softly but in tones modulated to carry. "You've all coped with more than your share of difficulty already, and survived. Yes, we have an unusual audience tonight: seasoned professionals, critics from serious papers. These people can give you jobs, or keep you out of them. But you should remember one thing: they are also theater buffs. They like good theater; that's why they're here. They expect you to be good--and you are, and you will be. Which means you have nothing to worry about. Am I right?"
Seventeen faces looked at each other, then at me, and their voices quietly echoed as one: "Yes, Ms. McKenna!"
I smiled. "Then let's do it!" I said, and whisked myself offstage. I had just time before the curtain rose to take my own place. There was a semi-hidden director's box off one side of the balcony seating area from which I could watch the show, and the audience, in calming privacy.
Or so I expected until halfway through the first act.