Oh, when you love art as I do it is a pleasant task! Just now a very acute thought also occurred to me concerning the cat’s boots, and in them I admire the genius of the actor. You see, at first be is a cat; for that reason he must lay aside his natural clothing in order to assume the appropriate disguise of a cat. Then he has to appear fully as a hunter; that is what I conclude, for every one calls him that, nor does a soul marvel at him; an unskilful actor would have dressed himself exactly so too, but what would have happened to our illusion? We might perhaps have forgotten that he was still originally a cat and how uncomfortable a new costume would be for the actor over the fur he already had. By means of the boots, however, he merely skilfully suggests the hunter’s costume; and that such suggestions are extremely dramatic, the ancients prove to us very excellently, in often—
Hush! The third act is beginning.
Room in a peasant’s house
The PLAYWRIGHT. The MACHINIST.
Then do you really think that will do any good?
I beg, I entreat you, do not refuse my request; my only hope depends on it.
Why, what’s this again? How did these people
ever get into
I won’t rack my brains about anything more.
But, dear friend, you certainly do ask too much, to have all this done in such a hurry, entirely on the spur of the moment.
I believe you are against me, too; you also rejoice in my misfortune.
Not in the least.
PLAYWRIGHT (falls down before him).
Then prove it to me by yielding to my request; if the disapproval of the audience breaks out so loudly again, then at a motion from me let all the machines play; as it is, the second act has already closed quite differently from the way it reads in my manuscript.
What’s this now? Why, who raised the curtain?
It never rains but it pours! I am lost! (He
embarrassment behind the scenes.)
There never has been such a confusion on any evening.
[Exit. A pause.]
I say, does that belong to the play?
Of course—why that motivates the transformation to follow.
This evening ought certainly to be described in the theatre almanac.
KING (behind the scenes).
No, I will not appear, on no condition; I
cannot bear to have any one laugh at me.
But you—dearest friend—it can’t be changed now.