Mr. Burbage, a fine gentleman despite having been in his youth an actor, stood outside the playhouse door watching as the crowd filed in. If anything, there were more people here to see my work than there were on opening night and that gave me a warm feeling deep inside as I thought of my ten percent of gross ticket receipts.
“Mr. Burbage,” I said, as I tossed a coin to a stable boy to have Hysteria taken care of. “I heard about what happened to our lead actress. Have you put the understudy on in her place?”
Burbage rolled his eyes. “You know she’s not right for the part. She’s too dark and too tall.”
“What matters that?” I cried. “She knows the words! The words are the important part! The show must go on!”
“My dear Buxton,” said he. “Fret not. The show will go on. The show has gone on for more than a week since I saw you last. Fear not. I have hired an actress for the lead role, and she is perfect if I do say so myself.”
“I hope you are right,” said I.
“I am right. I believe that I am right, and more importantly the audiences believe that I am right. Attendance has been up every day since the unfortunate tree incident. That didn’t hurt either. You know there really is no such thing as bad publicity.”
“You know better than me,” said I. “And that is something I almost never say.”
I took the side door entrance into the theater and found a comfortable seat in the upper gallery so that I could watch it along with the throngs of my many fans. I didn’t have long to wait for the lights to dim and the curtain to rise revealing the stage decorated to resemble the streets of the great city of Illustria. The actors playing the parts of street venders wandered around on stage, among the citizens, singing their lines. Then came the first bit of excitement: Penny the thief cuts the purse of the apple vendor and leaves the stage. Then the new actress playing the lead part stepped on stage. She was tall and striking and moved just as a sorceress should move. She sauntered across the stage and delivered her lines.