We also see Niccolo, in the scene following, for the last time. He has stopped to rest by the shore of a lake where, he remembers being told, the Faggian Guard disappeared. He sits under a tree, opens Angelo’s letter, and learns at last of the coup and the death of Paquale. He realizes that he’s riding toward restoration, the love of an entire dukedom, the coming true of all his most virtuous hopes. Leaning against the tree, he reads parts of the letter aloud, commenting, sarcastic, on what is blatantly a pack of lies devised to soothe Gennaro until Angelo can muster his own army of Squamuglians to invade Faggio. Offstage there is a sound of footpads. Nicole leaps to his feet, staring up one of the radial aisles, hand frozen on the hilt of his sward. He trembles and cannot speak, only stutter, in what may be the shortest line ever written in blank verse: “T-t-t-t-t…” As if breaking out of some dream’s paralysis, he begins, each step an effort, to retreat. Suddenly, in lithe and terrible silence, with dancers’ grace, three figures, long-limbed, effeminate, dressing in black tights, leotards and gloves, black silk hose puled over their faces, come capering on stage and stop, gazing at him. Their faces behind the stockings are shadowy and deformed. They wait. The lights all go out.
It’s amazing how often I see references to The Crying of Lot 49 everywhere now. I hope these are for-real references and not just paranoid delusional references that my brain is making up.