To unravel a mystery involves many choices, decisions, and persistent questions. But to unravel an historical one requires another set of problems regarding where even to begin. How to know what elements are important enough to pursue?
Phantom’s opening scene is shadowed with possibilities, all coated in shades of gray. All the viewer has to lean towards is the two interested bidders, so seemingly out of place in the opera house mausoleum. Yet they must be there for a reason. They have obviously chosen to attend this auction despite adverse conditions.
When the elderly man and woman vie for the same item, they repeat their initial respectful nod. Yet they still choose to bid against one another. So the mystery is not between them as a relationship, but is held somewhere within their mutual desire for the musical toy, a commonplace item.
It is such a deliberate purposeful action that makes clear choice will be a major theme in the story about to unfold. The atmosphere of the first scene is ominous, one student noted, but it does not “yet have the measure of how choices effects the characters.”
Only a beginning hint, resting in a child’s battered toy.
Make a list of old-fashioned toys such as the ones that every generation has enjoyed. For example action figures have longevity, even though once they were regimental tin soldiers and now may be space aliens.
Choose the least likely from your list and place it in your antagonist’s room or suitcase or deluxe office. How incongruous is it to an acquaintance. What questions does he wish he could ask?