Carcosa, or The Queen and the Stranger
From Tatters of the King
Nothing ever happens of note in Yhtill.
There is an endless debate about the succession between Cassilda’s two sons that seems to hinge on which one their sister Camilla chooses as her husband.
A stranger wearing a pale mask arrives in the city, causing a great commotion.
The stranger tells the royal family that the mask is a weapon against the King in Yellow. He reveals that he wears the Yellow Sign – and later claims he does this as a sign of its powerlessness against the Pallid Mask, but its revelation causes horror amongst the royal family.
At this, the King in Yellow makes his appearance, slays the Stranger and tells the people of Yhtill that Yhtill and Carcosa are now the same city, and that the price of this alliance against Alar, which will be destroyed is the ‘fixing of the Mask’ – Cassilda and her family are horrifed and the King ends by asking ‘Did you think to be human still?’
The play as described (which is as it was seen by the PCs) differs significantly from the script, but the performers say that they performed the script exactly as written.
In both versions of the play large sections of exposition appear to be missing – the cause and effect relationships between various elements are a total mystery. The character of the Child, for example is very peculiar.
At the beginning of the second act, the child delivers a speech in front of the closed curtain indicating that it is now too late for the audience and that by returning to watch the second act they have committed themselves to the consequences.
During the play, people's reactions did not seem to be in line with what was actually happening on the stage. People would react with gasps or laughter at points where nothing appeared to elicit surprise or humour.
Nathaniel Browne noted that in the latter part of the first act, there appeared to be something being said very subtley between the lines.
He also noticed a couple two rows in front of him leave during this time, but the other PCs said that this event did not occur.
The play, particularly The Yellow Sign seemed to affect the emotions of some people very strongly, whereas others were affected little, if at all. After the King's exit in the last scene, there were many people overcome with emotion (to the point of almost fomenting a riot). Nathaniel Browne cried uncontrollably, while the man next to him punched his wife in the face. Due to the uproar, the last few lines of the play were drowned out.
Some people seem to have watched (or thought they have seen) different versions of scenes than others.