A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships are complicated: Sebastian, volatile, a heavy drinker, in debt, guilty of killing his former partner, is having an affair with that man's widow. She is Thea, high strung, prone to fits, and seemingly fragile, currently married to Sebastian's new partner, Hans. Hans is the troupe leader, wealthy, self-contained, and growing tired. The judge plays on the trio's insecurities, but when they finally, in a private session with him, perform the masque called The Rite, they may have their revenge.