Max banged on the piano keys to make a discordant twang. “You’re speeding,” he said to Edwards. “The entire ensemble’s taking their cue from you, you have to keep the tempo.”
“You’re playing it too slow,” Edwards said, and Max’s eye visibly twitched. “It’s triumphant, not a dirge.”
Max made a sort of gurgling noise in the back of his throat. He looked over at the table, to where the director sat. “Sollo?” he said.
Sollo glanced up from his script. “Could I hear it his way?”
Max looked as though he was going to strangle someone.
“From the same place?” Edwards asked, so mildly polite he might as well have been flipping Max off.
“Yes,” Max spat, and played the measure leading into Edwards’s line, quickly.
At the table, Sollo nodded and called, “I think this tempo works a lot better for this song. Can we speed up the reprises, too?”
The rest of the company, on the edges of the room, started muttering about the likelihood of Edwards living to opening. Some, like Kev, maintained Max wouldn’t do anything until after they closed, out of respect for the production. Others, such as Hazel, who had been on the receiving end of Max’s ire for their failure to live up to his exacting standards, were less sure. Ronnie muttered she thought Max would pick a fight in the parking lot and threaten Edwards in to lying to Sollo about it. Kev eyed Edwards and shook his head. “I bet Eddie there can handle himself in a fight,” he said.
“Could I have quiet in the rehearsal space, please?” Sollo said, mild and polite as can be. As usual, it worked better than Anna’s exasperated demands, and the cast quieted down.