Phantom of the Operetta

an Expatriate Sidhe story
Uncial Press

While serving as an artist-in-residence at a small Pacific Northwest college, stage actress Juliet McKenna is directing Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer.  Rivalries among the student cast are only to be expected — but are other troubles the work of the theater’s restless ghost?

Nonsense, Juliet insists, and with Sidhe-born senses to back her conclusions, she should know.  But as the curtain rises on opening night, she’s forced to revise her opinions.  With one performer in chains and another possessed, the show seems poised to end in disaster — because even if Juliet can improvise a new ending, she may not be able to free her students without revealing her own Sidhe origins.

Read An Excerpt….

The exploding teapot was the first sign that trouble was brewing.

Gentleman sorcerer John Wellington Wells had just intoned the first verse of his incantation: “Appear, appear, appear!” As if in response, the teapot on the stand in front of him erupted with a sudden fwoosh, an outpouring of gray smoke, a burst of fire-bright orange light, and the sharp crack-tinkle of shattering ceramic.  There was also a loud THUD and a curse from behind the billowing smoke.

“What the hell was that?” demanded Lyle Applegate, dropping out of character and abandoning the sorcerer’s roguish British accent in favor of his natural Texan twang.

I was out of my fourth-row aisle seat and mounting the stage before he had finished the sentence.  The smoke was already dissipating as I stepped around the stand, extending a hand to help my lead actor to his feet.  “A very good question,” I said.  “I gather you did not trigger the flash mechanism.”

“I didn’t touch it, Ms. McKenna,” he said, eyeing the stand and shaking his head.  “Hey, that’s weird.” I followed his glance.  The teapot’s fragments lay in a tidy ring around the edge of the small, nearly chest-high table, which was unmarked save for a dirty black stain in its center.

“Indeed,” I said.  “Remarkably neat, considering.  It looked as if all three charges went off at once.”

By now, the rest of the cast had crowded onto center stage.  “I know!” said Peter Morgenthaler, a member of the chorus and Lyle’s understudy.  At two inches under six feet, he and Lyle were of similar size and build, though Peter presently wore his own short, dark hair while Lyle’s yellow-blond buzz cut was presently concealed by a thick salt-and-pepper wig.  “It must have been the ghost!”