The Ghosts’ Performance

All the live people had left the theater and were taking a night off. But they had left a single footlight on center, frontstage for the spirits of the theater. So when they were pretty sure the people wouldn’t be returning unexpectedly, the ghosts came out to play.

The crew put the furniture into place; the choir (or as some called it the greek chorus) practiced their mimicry of the main actors; and the three witches practiced the opening lines of “the Scottish play”.

First Witch When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.
Third Witch That will be ere the set of sun.
First Witch Where the place?
Second Witch Upon the heath.
Third Witch There to meet with …cough cough (name redacted for luck’s sake!!).
First Witch I come, graymalkin!
Second Witch Paddock calls.
Third Witch Anon!
ALL Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

It seems even the dead take superstition seriously in the theater!! (snicker)
The director smiled and let them get away with the redaction in practice.

Next up for practice was MacDuff. A good man by all accounts till his hand was forced in vengeance, and few would blame him.

I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!

and the Scot King himself practiced his last words

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’

Then the director kindly gave notes to the cast and crew before their final dress rehearsal began. It was a complete, non-stop run-thru. Some of the cast were quite nervous, but there were others who were quite bored actually. In their incarnations of spirit, they had done this play many times and were ready to kill the king themselves!
One couple found a place in the rafters to make out. Another found a closet where none were likely to intrude and she gave him a good blow. They got back just in the nick of time to take their part in the rehearsal order.
Though ghosts being ghosts, all present were well aware of what the couples had been up to and there were a few snickers. The director just glared at them.
Finally the run-thru was finished and they had a break before the notes to grab whatever version of snack and stretching their legs is done by ghosts.
The director was quite pleased by their efforts and had little to do but fine tune the speeches and asked the witches to go over their opening again before he called the day over.

First Witch When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.
Third Witch That will be ere the set of sun.
First Witch Where the place?
Second Witch Upon the heath.
Third Witch There to meet with …cough cough (name redacted for luck’s sake!!).
First Witch I come, graymalkin!
Second Witch Paddock calls.
Third Witch Anon!
ALL Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

The director smiled at their silliness about the name again and let the cast leave. He and the stage manager needed to discuss a few things yet. Things had to be just perfect after all!
This was their last chance to rehearse before the live people took over the stage once more. Next time they gathered, there would be a crowd of famous ghosts in the audience. And all had to go well! His name depended on it.

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