In Chapter 15, Widge finally finds himself with Hamlet in his possession. He questions whether he can actually get away with stealing the manuscript. However, when lines are called for from the stage, as audience members are laughing at the mistakes being made, Widge is forced to continue playing his...
In Chapter 15, Widge finally finds himself with Hamlet in his possession. He questions whether he can actually get away with stealing the manuscript. However, when lines are called for from the stage, as audience members are laughing at the mistakes being made, Widge is forced to continue playing his part as the young and willing apprentice. Sanders gives him approval for calling out the correct line and Widge feels proud of himself. Nick eventually intercedes in the sidelines, trying to create conflict with Sanders. Widge gains some unexpected bravery and hits Nick with the book. Nick goes for Widge, but Jack stops the battle. Nick is eventually dismissed by Mr. Armin for coming late and unprepared. Widge has the book taken from him, and he feels the disappointment that comes from wasting a perfect opportunity.
In Chapter 16, Widge spies on Shakespeare having interactions with other play members. Before he can leave, he sees that Shakespeare has in fact spied on him too. He asks Widge what his job is. Widge tells him he "was to hold the book," and Shakespeare says he should have done a better job of keeping the book then. Widge meets a former apprentice, Chris Beeston, who explains the long theater tradition of playbooks getting stolen. This talk makes Widge uncomfortable because it hits so close to home. Widge only gets more nervous when Simon Bass, Widge's master and the man who sent him on his mission to steal the Shakespeare play Hamlet, is brought up in the story. Time passes, Widge doesn't hear from or see Falconer, and he starts to become very comfortable, even happy, being in Shakespeare's company. Widge is finally offered a small part to play but, while rehearsing, falls asleep and has a dream that he is performing naked. He wakes up amused and ready to share his dream but is seized by a hand.
In Chapter 17, we find the hand to be Falconer's. He has caught on to the way Widge is taking a liking to his new duties. Falconer therefore demands the script be in his hands that night. He threatens Widge with a dagger. Widge returns to theater practice, where Mr. Armin is teaching the proper art of dying onstage. Widge practices puncturing Julian's sheep bladder only to find he had been given a trick sword. Julian practices on Widge, who himself proves to be a great actor of death scenes. Widge is asked how he came to London. He only mentions his dead mother and a father he never knew. Julian admits that he too has a dead mother and an absent father in his past. That night, Widge is finally given the chance to say his lines before an audience. The scene goes fine, and he is congratulated backstage. Once everyone leaves, Widge looks into the mirror as he remembers Shakespeare doing. He contemplates his situation with Falconer and whether he has enough guts to get out of the situation. He only wants to stay with the theater company, the one place he has come to learn about love and friendship.