Monday, December 22, 2008


On the final day of shooting, the director notices me and he has a revelation: my eyes are perfect, he says, and so is my bearing, as one who has served proudly and remained below the status she has deserved. I will be elevated, he tells me. I will play the part.

A headdress is prepared. Against my wishes I am placed before a mirror to practice my lines. My own replacement, a new servant, whispers to me what I already know: this is blasphemous, it is against the rules and the customs. I must not do this thing, even in jest. I must not appear without makeup. I must not speak in my own voice.

The director is busy with his other duties. During rehearsals the actors look at me with a mixture of hostility and pity. They know I can't be allowed to do this. So do I.

The next morning I lie in bed, listening. The headdress has been quietly removed from my room. Somebody else is saying my lines in the courtyard.