"Our aim is to empathize with the work's characters and do all we can to bring them to life. To that end, gesture and movement are part and parcel. In reading our lines, we work to portray the voice of the characters' era. Be it a young lady or a shop boy, we seek to draw them out." "So it's much like a play, then." "Yes, absent the costumes and backdrop." "If you don't mind my asking, how did it go?" "For a first try, I'd say it went well." "And it was a lovers' suicide story?" "That? Yes. A boatman takes on a passenger en route to Yoshiwara." "An awfully challenging scene." The master inclines his head in wonder, as teachers are wont to do. A ball of smoke emanates from his nostrils and ascends in swirls past the sides of his face, brushing his ears as it rises. "Really, it wasn't so bad. The only characters are the passenger, the boatman, a courtesan, a parlormaid, a madam, and a call-office." Tōfū responded nonchalantly. The master winced a bit at the mention of a courtesan, but he seemed unsure exactly what to make of the parlormaid, madam, and call-office. He started in with his questions. "When you say 'parlormaid,' is that a servant girl in a brothel?" "I haven't researched it yet, but I believe the parlormaid is a tea house maidservant. The madam, it seems, assists in running a ladies' quarters." Though Tōfū had spoken of bringing his characters to life through voice acting, in the case of the madam and parlormaid he seemed unsure just who his characters were. "I see. So the parlormaid is in servitude to a tea house, and the madam is a brothel's administrator-in-residence. What of the call-office, then? Is that a person, or is it referring just to some place? If it's a person, is it a man or a woman?" "It's a man, I believe." "Do you know what his duties are?" "Hmm. That I don't. We'll have to look into it." Imagining what a cockamamied farce their 'dialogue' must have been, I looked up at the master to read his reaction. Contrary to expectation, he was all ears.