Major Ross and Captain Campbell escort Caesar, Wisehammer, and Liz to the second rehearsal of The Recruiting Officer. All of them except Liz are allowed to be unchained, since Liz is going to be tried the following day. Despite this hindrance, Ralph tries to begin the rehearsal as Ross and Campbell look on and mock the entire process. When Ralph asks them to leave, Ross insists that these prisoners have nothing to hide from the guards, forcing Sideway to reveal his back, which is scarred by the 100 lashes he received on the convict ship on the way to the colony. Ross then orders Dabby to get on her hands and knees and pretend to be a dog. “Isn’t that how you begged for food on the ship?” he taunts.
Major Ross’s cruelty provides a sharp contrast to Governor Phillip’s kindness. Once again, he tries to derail Ralph’s rehearsals, this time trying to make the prisoners feel sheepish and ashamed to be involved with the play. As such, he turns what’s supposed to be a liberating experience into yet another form of punishment.
Turning to Mary, Ross orders her to lift her skirt to show her tattoo. Just as she’s about to obey him, though, Sideway faces Liz and delivers his line, stopping Ross from continuing to exert his power over the convicts. As they continue, Ross angrily orders Campbell to go punish Arscott for having tried to run away. Shortly thereafter, the air is filled with the sounds of Arscott’s screams, and Liz and Sideway find it impossible to continue. In the middle of a line, Liz abruptly stops and sinks to the ground, listening as Arscott yells in agony.
When Ross orders Campbell to punish Arscott, he successfully disrupts the rehearsal by making it impossible for the actors to focus on their lines. Despite Sideway’s admirable attempt to drown out Ross’s taunts, the criminals can’t quite ignore Arscott’s screams, which only remind them that they’re not just actors pursuing an artistic hobby, but prisoners in a penal colony.