A Seasonal Story
EVERYONE in the audience knew the procedure, but they were nonetheless enthralled by the current production, which had been delivering delightful festive fare as expected. Two ghosts (well three, counting Jacob Marley) had been and gone and a fourth, silent and ghastly, was in the process of issuing Mr Scrooge punishment for his sins.
Scrooge himself, appalled and horrified, made his way to the four-poster bed in the centre of the stage, and got in under the covers to desperately conceal himself from the terror being waged on him by theatre trickery.
The bed began to turn in a circle, with Scrooge thrashing about in the middle of it, while flashes of light and crashes of thunderous sound added to the illusion of a descent into hell. Then, in the blink of an eye, all was quiet. The bed ceased its turning, and the stage was bathed in a soft, yellow light imitating a peaceful dawn.
The audience waited for what they knew was coming. Scrooge would emerge from his nightmare and pad over to the window constructed cleverly on an upper level of the set, from which he would cry into the wings, “You boy, what day is it?” to a passer-by.
But after what seemed like too long a wait, the collective bated breath began to turn into murmured, speculative chatter.
A whole lot of nothing was happening in front of them, and it didn’t appear to simply be an extended dramatic pause. When the curtain came down abruptly and the full lights went on in the auditorium, the suspicion was confirmed. Something had happened, something very, very bad.
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