Of Life and Theater (Part One)

Fiction By Ariel // 4/15/2010

            The school gym was buzzing with sounds of activity – shoes against the shiny floors; feet thumping on the bleachers; phones ringing; shrieks from a group of children playing tag in the corner. Kids of all ages sprawled across the fold-out bleachers along the walls with their friends and parents. A woman led her freshly scrubbed baby across the room to take her place at the end of a long line.

            A plump woman sat behind a fold out table, stacks of sign-up papers in front of her. She chatted amiably with the people who stopped at her table, occasionally standing up to give out a hug or shake a hand with the people standing before her. She waved quickly at a family across the room and beamed up at a woman who was ushering a little boy with glasses and curly brown hair toward a seat.

            The door at the end of the auditorium opened and a family entered. The tall blond woman, who was obviously the mother, led a small boy with blond hair; they were followed closely by a thin girl about eleven or twelve years. A few moments later another girl came through the passageway. The draft from the open door blew her long hair around her face. She walked up next to the blond woman and they stood there for a moment looking around the room.

            Moving slowly; cautiously; the girl left her family to take her place at the end of the line. She stood there silently with her arms wrapped around her shoulders to ward off the chill of the air conditioning. Her hair was pulled back from her face, but a few wispy curls had escaped to blow gently around her face in the cool air. A tan lunch sack dangled on a strap from her shoulder. Her wide blue eyes roved around the room, studying the different people around her.

            A group of teen-aged girls lounged across the top three steps of the bleachers giggling among themselves and texting on their cell phones. Several little girls were taking turns turning cartwheels on the shiny floor. The girl in the line lifted her eyes and looked around the ceiling and walls, turning slowly in a circle to take it all in – the red banners and streamers proclaiming the school’s team spirit hung from the high ceilings; Michelle Quan stood frozen in her ice skates, her face beaming and the words “got milk?” across the bottom of the poster.

            The girl shifted the strap of her lunch pack and smiled down at the little girl in line before her. The girl winked her large almond eyes and hopped on her right foot next to a big man on crutches; they moved slowly up the line. The girl lifted a trembling hand and pushed her bangs out of her face. Her mother and sister waved at her from across the room; she smiled and wiggled her fingers in their direction. The line moved slowly.

            Almost before she realized it, she was being directed toward the signup sheet by a woman. Her name tag read “Hello, my name is… BETTY” The last word had been scrawled with a red Sharpie. The girl set her lunch on the floor and leaned over the table. She picked up a pen and began writing in the blank. The blue ink curved and crossed until Lizzie Mitchell had all but filled the entire blank. She smiled at Betty, picked up her lunch and began pushing through the crowd of people. Her thoughts were racing as she pushed between a little boy holding a Spider Man lunch bag and a woman with purple earrings.

            I wonder if I’ll get a good part. What am I going to do if they ask me to… she was wondering silently. Suddenly, her shoulder struck against something and she sprang back, “Oh! I’m so sorry!” She exclaimed, “Excuse me please!” She looked up at the person she had run into and found herself looking into the face of a tall boy. His light brown hair was thick and he had deep blue eyes; she blushed a deep shade of red. He smiled casually at her and absently waved a hand.

            “Oh, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it!”

            The girl felt her cheeks heating up again under his gaze as she turned to go, whispering, “Well, sorry again,” She rushed through the crowd towards her mother and the boy turned back to his cell phone.

***

            The minute hand in the clock on the wall behind the basketball hoop ticked slowly. Two people stood in the center of a large circle of children. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” echoed off the smooth floors and high ceiling. The man was slight and carried a clipboard. The woman was somewhat large and her long hair was pulled up in a high ponytail. The two paced back and forth in front of a group of about seven teenagers.

            Lizzie lifted her chin and let the simple tune flow from her throat as the man passed by her. He paused for a moment and leaned closer. She smiled and let her voice travel higher as the boat went “gently down the stream”. The man smiled slightly and continued down the line, a silly grin on his face and his hands clasped behind his back.

            At least we don’t have to sing alone. Lizzie thought to herself.

            The auditions continued for almost another full hour. Lizzie was sitting on the floor next to a thin girl with shoulder length black hair, watching the directors talking quietly to each other. Her hands were clammy with anticipation. She smiled nervously at her sister on the bleachers and straightened her back. The man picked up his clipboard and clapped his hand together to get everyone’s attention.

            “We’d like everyone to come into the middle of the room and have a seat,” he said. The girl stood slowly and moved in among the tangle of kids. She noticed the boy she had bumped unto earlier sitting down near the back of the crowd.

            Will I? She thought to herself for the millionth time. The knot in her stomach got tighter as the two adult’s gazes traveled over the group. She twisted her hands together and began pulling the silver ring she wore on and off. They started with the youngest children.

            “These are the Dust Bunnies!” Everyone clapped wildly for the sixteen children in front of them.

            “Ladies and Gentleman, the citizens of Riverdom!” Lizzie clapped loudly and smiled at the little girl who had been standing in front of her in the signup line. She watched the newly selected citizens return to their seats. What if I don’t? She wondered as the knot in her middle squeezed tighter. She glanced around at the other kids her age stretched out on the linoleum. How can they look so disinterested? She thought. 

            “And now, the citizens of Glacierdom!” Everyone laughed at the little boy in the lineup who bowed deeply and tripped over himself. Lizzie knew that there weren’t many parts left to be called. She look around the circle, mentally checking off those that had not yet been called up – two sisters sitting to her left; a chunky boy who was constantly pushing  his shaggy hair out of his face, and then, behind all of them, the boy with the blue eyes. She looked away quickly before he could see her staring at him and scanned the four people that had been selected next.

            “Give it up for … the Leprechauns!”

             Lizzie cheered loudly, “GO, Hal!” Her friend in the center of the row grinned widely and turned pink. She gave her friend a high-five as she returned to her seat, but her heart was sinking. There’s really no other parts… she thought sadly.

            “And here we have the Royalty of Glacierdom!” the man said and began calling names. The girl sat looking at her sneakers listening to the names, “Joe Collins is the Storm King; Katie Mulligan as the Snow Queen; Dack Jones is Jack Frost, and…Zack Wilkins is Prince Ice Man!” Lizzie looked up at the last name and saw Blue Eyes making his was to the front. So, that’s his name…Zack, she thought. Well it was an obvious choice. He was like the only teenage boy here, and obviously the cutest… She blushed at her own thoughts and clapped along with the rest of the cast-members.

            “And now we will announce the last four roles.” The man said. The girl’s heart jumped and she took a deep breath. Either she got one now, or she would go home part-less. “We have Alethia Jones as King Size…” Everyone laughed at the thin girl who jumped to the front and pulled on an invisible mustache, “Christy Matthews is Queen Size…” A tall girl with light brown hair strode to the front of the room to receive her yellow script. Lizzie took a deep breath. There were only two parts left to hand out; her ring flashed on and off; the knot in her middle grew tighter, “The Princess’s good friend the pea will be – Sadie Wilkins!” The crowd cheered as a round girl went to the front to claim her green script. She beamed out at her friends and wiggled her pigtails.

            Lizzie’s ring went on again and stayed. The knot in her stomach loosened and came undone altogether. She looked at her sneakers and let out a big sigh,

            Well, that’s it I guess. The only part left is the princess and I’m sure I won’t….

Her thoughts were broken by the words,

            “And our princess is…. LIZZIE MITCHELL!” The girl looked up, an astonished expression on her face,

            “No way!” the thought kept echoing through her head. She moved through the circle of kids to where the woman from the acting company stood holding a script for her. She took it slowly and stared at the words on the front -- “The Princess”. It was written in black marker and a small heart acted as the dot for the “i”. She smiled until her cheeks felt like they would be permanently stretched. Her heart has beating swiftly and she felt her face growing hot. Applause echoed around her. She sat down next to Hallie still in a daze. Her friend reached out to give her a congratulatory hug. Lizzie had to tear her eyes away from the script in her lap to listen to the final instructions that the directors were giving to everyone.

            When the man had finally finished speaking, she jumped to her feet and fairly flew across the gym toward her family,

            “Mom! The lead role!”

Comments

That was good ;) I did a few

That was good ;) I did a few plays once......One of them was a very good experience, and was fun, but the other two were.....um.....not so good! 

But anyway, a very descriptive story!

E | Wed, 04/21/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

...

hee hee hee..... I can imagine everything perfectly....

Kendra | Tue, 05/25/2010

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"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Thanks...

Thanks Erin - I've been in a couple plays that...yeah...they'd best be forgotten too :P

Kendra - watch it!!!! I know where you live! :P Mwahahahahaha....

Ariel | Wed, 05/26/2010

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville