Where’s My Capezios?
“He did what?” An incredulous Derrick nearly choked on his apple cucumber celery juice.
Jeannie stirred the fruit in her yogurt with and edge of hostility.
“He refused to attend fencing class this morning.”
“What a jerk.”
“Said he didn’t need what they were teaching.” She ladled the yogurt fruit concoction into her mouth with a depressed resignation.
Derrick carefully sliced his asian pear into neat equal sized portions. “I don’t know what the hell they were thinking, Jeannie. I mean. Come on. A Romeo with a bald spot!” He continued to cut ritualistically. “Shakespeare in Alabama. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“We couldn’t start rehearsal yesterday because nobody brought him his Capezios. ‘My CapeTzios! He shouted. ‘Who has my CapeTzios?’ He always bastardizes the name.”
“Italian. He’s showing off his Italian. Arrogant jackass.”
“Somebody needs to just show him off! Adios amigos!”
“I did.” Derrick smiled smuggly before pushing the Asian pear into his mouth. Jeannie stared at him attempting to understand his comment. Derrick raised his hand a moment while he masticated the pear. “Or, will.” He smiled his most deviously devilish grin.
Jeannie shook her head. “Say that again.”
“Bret is a mystic. I’ve schooled one of the apprenti to arrive at dress today in an ancient looking costume as Romeo. He will express the displeasure and anger of the theater gods over the quality of the production. The dusty thespian has come to replace the balding arrogant inamorato.”
Jeannie nearly snorted her yogurt over the little apartment table. “What?”
Derrick smiled, popped a pear slice into his mouth and popped his mouth with his hand to punctuate his presumed brilliance. He held up a hand with his index finger extended as Jeannie attempted to comment. “Wait, my sweet. Just wait and watch this afternoon at dress.”
The crew sat around the stage. Cymbeline is gone and the wooden scaffolding for R&J installed for the afternoon dress. The turnaround was completed ahead of schedule and the techs sat wearily around the stage sipping coffee swapping stories.
Onstage, the director entered while conferring with his Romeo and Juliet over persistent blocking issues. Romeo was not listening but making comments to the techs about placement of certain furniture pieces during the run.
At the rear of the auditorium the center doors opened partially, a hand with a black rose tattoo on it reached around the door, pushing it open enough to allow the body to slip through. The shadowy figure walked directly down the aisle toward the thrust stage passing the production table full of stage managers and assistants. He seemed to quiet people as moved toward the stage.
The thrust rose about three feet above the auditorium floor and included a stepped approach on all sides to facilitate access from any of the three aisles and at any point on stage. The figure paused before the stage silencing the remaining people save the director who had his back to the figure.
“I beg your pardon.”
Richard Maestrom, the director, turned his head, squinting into the darkness. “I’m speaking with my actors, please.” Catching sight of the costumed figure at the base of the stage, Maestrom turned fully to face the intruder. Maestrom started to speak but stopped as the figure mounted the stage swiftly and approached the trio.
“Who are you and what do you want?”
“I must be directed to a Brett McHaughtlee.”
The figure narrowed his focus intently to Brett. He walked past the director and approached the tense looking Romeo. The intruder stopped just short of Brett examining with great seriousness every aspect of the thespian standing on the stage. He reached out to touch Brett’s tunic, examining the bilious sleeves. With contempt the figure slowly moved around the actor only stopping to examine the back of his head. He reached up to touch the bald spot.
“Who the fuck are you? Richard, is this the kind of operation you run here? Any clown can walk in off the street-”
The intruder remained tolerant, although it was obvious to all watching this scene, it required considerable restraint.
“Mr. McHaughtlee, I am here to replace you in Romeo and Juliet.”
Brett let out a belly laugh that could be heard throughout the county.
“Please be so kind as to accept this situation with the understanding and respect demanded of all who embrace the magic ‘O’.”
Brett walked dismissively toward his director. “This your idea of a joke, Maestrom? Well, it’s not funny and I shall demand the deputy report this to Equity now! I’ve had enough of your backwater redneck Shakespeare Festival!”
The flummoxed director did not know what to say. “Who are you?”
“Betterton.” The man stepped up to Brett and took him by the arm. “Do me the honor, sir, of speaking with me outside for a moment.”
“Get the fuck outta-”
The intensity of either Betteron’s gaze or the force of his grip silenced Brett immediately. Later, among those who witnessed the scene, a debate raged as to what exactly happened. Betterton quietly escorted Brett from the theater.
“I’ve got a dress rehearsal starting in ten minutes-” but no one was listening to Maestrom. He never finished his complaint.
Five minutes before the dress rehearsal was scheduled to start a costumed figure looking oddly like Jacob Marley came groaning through the doors, waving his arms in slow motion and floating toward the stage.
With elongated vowels and far too much vibrato, the figure made its way to the stage bellowing painfully, “Where is McHauthlee? Where is this defiler of tradition? The angry theater gods have sent me to replace this unworthy cow dung!”
Everyone laughed. Howled is a better description. Everyone knew exactly who it was. Harvey Wilson, the annoying know everything apprentice who nearly had the entire company falling over because their eyes rolled too far into their heads.
“Give it a rest, Harvey! You’re no match!” At this even Maestrom broke into laughter, despite the fact he was eating up his ten out of twelve rehearsal time and moving into overtime!
Harvey jerked off his headpiece. “I’m just doing what I was told to do, you know! Jesus! You guys have no sense of humor!” They laughed even harder perhaps in release. “So shut up will you!” He threw down the head piece and started for the lobby door.
“Easy there young fella.” Harvey pulled up short and found himself facing a police officer scanning the unusually clad- even for a theater building- young man. “What have you got on your feet?”
“Let me see.”
Harvey removed one of the shoes and handed it too the officer.
“You Brett McHaughtlee?”
General laughter erupted again in the theater.
“The label inside the shoe reads Brett McHaughtee. Funny his body was just found in the costume shop impaled on a spear. There’s blood here. If it matches the body we found, you’re in some hot water there, boy.”
Fifteen minutes away in a small commuter airport a rain-coated figure approaches the ticket counter. A hand with a black rose tattoo pushes a large bill forward.
“I need connections to Seattle, please.”
The agent looked at the bill and wrinkled his brow. “Pound sterling. We don’t-”
The penetrating gaze yet again. The hand moved over the agents’.
“I’d be delighted, Mr.-”
“Betterton. Thomas Betterton.”