Willow's dream changes scene and she's walking through a hallway at UC Sunnydale. She rounds a corner and encounters Xander and Oz. Oz! Willow greets them but keeps walking. As they follow her, Oz mentions that he heard she was registered for drama and that it's a hard course. Willow approaches a wall of lockers, asking if Oz has taken drama, and he replies, "Oh, I've been here forever." As Willow fiddles with her locker, Xander asks what she's been up to and whether she's been doing spells. Both guys stand behind Willow; Xander explains to Oz that Willow does spells with Tara, and Oz says he's heard that. A bell rings and Willow rushes off. Xander and Oz stay at her locker, and Xander coyly says, "Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell and then I do a spell by myself." Oz gives him a look, but I think that since both of them spent this entire scene with their hands jammed in their pockets, it's pretty obvious that they were already doing some little spells.
Willow enters a backstage area. People are milling about in all kinds of costumes and we can hear an orchestra warming up somewhere. Willow looks apprehensive and very confused. Suddenly Harmony rushes up, dressed in a milkmaid's outfit with her hair in braids, and hugs Willow excitedly. She perks on about being in their first production and then warns Willow, "Don't step on my cues." Willow stares at her in shock. Buffy then rushes up to Willow, decked out in a black bobbed wig, heavy eye makeup, and a flapper dress. She grabs Willow, saying that Willow's whole family is in the first row and "they look really angry." Willow is disconcerted, surprised that there's a production, and she asks, "Isn't this the first class?" Up tromps Riley, in ten-gallon hat, neckerchief, and old-timey western shirt, saying that Willow showed up too late to get a good part. Quite unnecessarily he adds, "I'm Cowboy Guy." He seems so proud, poor man. Buffy tells Willow in hushed tones that her costume is perfect and that "nobody will know." "Costume!?" asks Willow, who is wearing a regular season-four Willow outfit of a yellow t-shit and maxi skirt. Buffy thinks Willow is already "in character" and flounces away sulking. Willow tries to reason with her dream, saying that she was "given to understand" that the drama class would have class sessions and rehearsals. Harmony smugs that some people already rehearsed, and Riley again doofs his "Cowboy Guy" line. Somebody get this guy a role on Baywatch: Hawaii, please? It would be a good place for him -- he could show off his (c)hunky chest and not worry about being out-acted by a five-month-old kitten. We hear Giles clapping for attention; he gathers everyone around and, in a very effete version of his usual accent, begins to give them an opening-night pep talk about energy and staying in character. As he talks, Willow again sees the indistinct figure, this time moving behind some furniture. She hushedly wonders whether anyone else saw, but Giles is continuing his pep talk with, "The audience wants to find you, strip you naked and eat you alive. So hide." That sounds like a joke, ha ha, but actually sums up all too well how I felt during my year as a junior-high-school teacher. He continues his talk and Harmony, vamped out, keeps popping up behind him and mock-biting his neck. Giles flicks at her, telling her that she's being annoying and must stop. He finally reveals that the production will be "Death of a Salesman" and gives the traditional theater conclusion, "Break a leg." The crowd of costumed actors mills about as Willow just stands, looking appalled. The sound diminishes and Willow turns slowly. In the corner she sees a little bald man in glasses and a tweedy suit. He conspiratorially tells her, "I've made a little space for the cheese slices," and gestures towards a number of processed cheese slices lined up on a small table. Willow closes her eyes and then parts the red stage curtains.
Instead of ending up onstage, though, she walks down a long narrow corridor made of red curtains. I quickly jot Twin Peaks on my rental list and wonder how many more "homages" Joss has up his sleeve. In the corridor she meets Tara, who says that things aren't going very well. Dreamy electronic music plays. Willow is disgusted by the drama class and the fact that a cowboy is appearing in "Death of a Salesman." Tara beetles her brows and says Willow doesn't understand. Willow asks if something is following her, and Tara confirms it. Willow frets about not knowing her lines; Tara tells her the play has already started but "that's not the point." Because this is a dream sequence and all, I'll forgo my temptation to ask what exactly the point is. Onstage, Riley and Harmony stand in front of a simple backdrop while Buffy reclines nearby on a chaise lounge. Riley greets Harmony and asks to hold her milk pails; the audience titters. Harmony asks why he has come to their small town, and Riley announces that he has come looking for a salesman. In the curtain corridor, Tara tells Willow that "everyone has started to wonder about [her], the real [her]." She says that "if they find out," they'll punish Willow, and Tara won't be able to help her. Willow desperately asks what she should do and wonders if there was something she left undone. Onstage, Buffy is giving an impassioned speech to an impassive Riley. She rants about men ("all groin, no brain"), recommending that they be tossed in the ocean. In the background, Harmony is seated on the chaise lounge weeping. Amateur theatrics make me want to cry too. Willow looks around but Tara has vanished. Willow calls out, but she's attacked by a force behind the curtains which stabs at her with a knife. She falls to the floor and is found by Buffy, now in her regular hair color and clothes, who grabs Willow's hand and leads her out, telling her to "stay low."