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“You know what Stoppard said about actors?” says Pilsner. “They’re the opposite of people.”

“What, if we touch we explode?” Beulah grins. “I think you’re giving yourself a little too much–”

“No,” says Pilsner, “he meant that once you hone your voice and face to create emotional impact, once you do it again and again for months, you gain a distance from true emotion that can’t be closed. Nothing you express after that, even in all honesty, can be free of performance. Actors are the opposition to people because people react.

Beulah blinks. “Pils, I…”

“Gotcha!” he says, just lightly enough.