“Epiphany” / A Memorable Fancy #143

The play was over. Right? The actors bowed, the curtain closed. But what had happened? Act I had been promising, with vivid characters and an intricate but engaging plot. In Act II complications occurred, threats, secrets, conspiracies, the occasional hint of sex. Audience members caught themselves holding their breath in anticipation. But then,

Curtain. What? Just when we were about to get to the whole point of the play! The audience stood up, dazed, cheated, began to file out. Life always had a point, didn’t it? And so should the dramas we make up, right?

On their way out, a few playgoers spotted the director and cast entering a tavern next door. “Get them!” were the shouts. “Make them tell us how it ends! We want the climax, the resolution, the epiphany!”

The actors, however, didn’t know how their artificial life would turn out, any more than the audience did. The director explained patiently to the agitated playgoers that this was called “realism.”


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