“What? Oh. . . no. . . it’s not like that. I mean, they’re not bad. It’s much. . . worse than that.”
“Worse than bad?!”
“They think they know what’s best for everybody.”
Agnes and Christine
“Mr. Bucket,” he [Salzella] said, “this is opera. Everyone is always on edge. Have you ever heard of a catastrophe curve, Mr. Bucket?”
Seldom Bucket did his best. “Well, I know there’s a dreadful bend in the road up by–”
“A catastrophe curve, Mr. Bucket, is what opera runs along. Opera happens because a large number of things amazingly fail to go wrong, Mr. Bucket. It works because of hatred and love and nerves. All the time. This isn’t cheese. This is opera. If you wanted a quiet retirement, Mr. Bucket, you shouldn’t have bought the Opera House. You should have done something peaceful, like alligator dentistry.”
“I told you: the show must go on.”
“Why? We never said ‘the cheese must go on!’ What’s so special about the show going on?”
Salzella smiled. “As far as I understand it,” he said, “the. . . power behind the show, the soul of the show, all the effort that’s gone into it, call it what you will. . . it leaks out and spills everywhere. That’s why they burble about ‘the show must go on.’ It must go on. But most of the company wouldn’t even understand why anyone should ask the question.”
Salzella and Bucket
Agnes stared at the tiny meal on Christine’s tray. “Is that all you’re having for breakfast?”
“Oh, yes! I can just blow up like a balloon, dear!! It’s lucky for you, you can eat anything!! Don’t forget it’s practice in half an hour!”
And she skipped off.
She’s got a head full of air, Agnes thought. I’m sure she doesn’t mean to say anything hurtful.
But, deep inside her, Perdita X Dream thought a rude word.
Christine and Agnes
“Honestly, Salzella. . . what is the difference between opera and madness?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“Then I’d say: better scenery�”
Bucket and Salzella
She didn’t loathe the theatre, because, had she done so, she would have avoided it completely. Granny now took every opportunity to visit the travelling theatre that came to Lancre, and sat bolt upright in the front row of every performance, staring fiercely. Even honest Punch and Judy men found her sitting among the children, snapping things like ” ‘Tain’t so!” and “Is that any way to behave?” As a result, Lancre was becoming known throughout the Sto Plains as a really tough gig.
But what she wanted wasn’t important. Like it or not, witches are drawn to the edge of things, where two states collide. They feel the pull of doors, circumferences, boundaries, gates, mirrors, masks. . .
. . .and stages.
Agnes’s life unrolled in front of her. It didn’t look as though it were going to have many high points. But it did hold years and years of being capable and having a lovely personality. It almost certainly held chocolate rather than sex and, while Agnes was not in a position to make a direct comparison, and regardless of the fact that a bar of chocolate could be made to last all day, it did not seem a very fair exchange.
She felt the same feeling she’d felt back home. Sometimes life reaches that desperate point where the wrong thing to do has to be the right thing to do.
It doesn’t matter what direction you go. Sometimes you just have to go.
Christine and Agnes switch rooms
you see, it’s fine for actors. There’s plenty of parts for old men. Acting’s something you can do all your life. You get better at it. But when your talent is singing or dancing. . . Time creeps up behind you, all the. ‘Cos that shows I’ve got a warm and considerate nature,” Nanny went on.
“No, it shows you’re the kind of person who tries to work out what the right answer’s supposed to be,” said Granny. “Untrustworthy. That was a witch’s answer if ever I heard one. Devious.”
Nanny looked proud.
Nanny Ogg and Granny
Granny looked out at the dull grey sky and the dying leaves and felt, amazingly enough, her sap rising. A day ago the future had looked aching and desolate, and now it looked full of surprises and terror and bad things happening to people. . .
If she had anything to do with it, anyway.
In the scullery, Nanny Ogg grinned to herself.
Granny Weatherwax was firmly against fiction. Life was hard enough without lies floating around and changing the way people thought. And because the theatre was fiction made flesh, she hated the theatre most of all. But that was it-hate was exactly the right word. Hate is a force of attraction. Hate is just love with its back turned.