I shall dress for dinner. Get everything ready.
The WITCH leaves and her minions ready the scene for supper. A ritualistic sequence. The sense of a nightmare, where a terrible travesty is taking place and everyone but the dreamer thinks it is perfectly normal, routine even.
GRETEL watches on as the WITCH eats HANSEL, whole, in one go.
BLACKIE can be seen covering her eyes with her paws.
As Erica would tell you, there was an astonishing amount of work required to dramatise those few suggestive lines. Eating Hansel became this enormous set piece, during which the poor boy was carried aloft in procession by chorus members acting as kind of pallbearers, the Witch took her seat in a high-backed chair, and to the inappropriately dainty strains of Tim Dalling´s music for strings, Hansel is consumed whole, tipped into the Witch´s waiting jaws by the impassive chorus (her attendants, sort of nasty wood fairies), she crunches and swallows his twitching body, until at last he is inside her bulging belly, and she gives the most disgusting belch, as the light fades, for the interval. Blackie, I should tell you, is the Witch´s cat, in fact a lost girl called Susan, shapeshifted against her will, and Susan Blackie helps save the day in Act Two... also covering her eyes at the sight of Hansel´s demise is The Moon, characterised as a slightly loopy girl of indeterminate age, who comments on the action throughout, and finally intervenes in the story to show the children the way home. The director had a lot of fun with The Moon, I think, who was entrancingly played by Vicky Elliott, and pointed out to me that I seem to have written an awful lot of gods and monsters in my time.