Why was this so hard to print?

I took this photograph during the curtain call following the Northwest Puppet Theater's performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute". I'll bet you didn't know that puppet opera was a popular theater art form in Mozart's day. He did the score for the puppet version shortly after he finished the score for the live-actor version. But I digress.

This negative was a genuine challenge to print. This is the third time I have tried to print it and I finally got a print that I like. It finally dawned on me that the reason it was so difficult to print is that their lighting was intended to conceal the puppeteers and the strings -- I want to show them. (They are about where I want them in the silver print and the full-sized digital version.)

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