Directors considering any play must decide what to emphasize. What are we trying to convey to the audience? If I’d been wrestling with Chapter Two, I’d want to tell a good love story, and nail as many of the jokes as possible. North Country Director Brian Ure apparently had different priorities. Damned if I know what they were.

I took a week off from Moss Island and didn’t record a podcast either. The world kept turning. Riots in Baltimore, candidates pandering, more Cosby accusers, Antonin Scalia mentally composing ways to say “The founders never intended to allow gay marriage…” Social media posts and tweets and shares all insisting, “If only everybody in the world could be just like me things would be wonderful.” And the New York Times wrote a piece about toilet seat bidets.

I was in the middle of a monologue when my lines disappeared, erased from my brain like a computer disc by a magnet. Time stretched and indecision congealed; in that moment I couldn’t have told you the name of the play, let alone what I was supposed to say next.

Mysteries are tricky – like farce, the mix of ingredients and the clockwork progression must be precise. Most elements aren’t as they seem at the beginning, and the pleasure for the audience lies in solving the puzzle as things unfold. While a novel has the comparative luxury of making sure every piece is just right, a live production is complicated by technical limitations (lighting, sound and set), and especially by the actors: flubbed lines and inconsistent accents can irretrievably alter the recipe.