Part four! Oh no, you’re almost done! Quick, quick, find out what the new plan is, and if you jumped in at the middle, find out the beginning and rush on back!
“Where’s theater? I’ve got a…friend there that I want to see.”
“At the preformance? Oh, go that way, turn left on the fifth hall, third door on the right.”
Tonight was the preformance of the drama club–Danielle included–of “The Princess, the Tower, and Her Lover,” what was supposed to be a beautiful dramatic play. I couldn’t wait to…oh no, I’m not telling you my plan yet!
“Hi Isabelle,” I told my friend as I slid into the seat next to her, “When’s it supposed to start?”
Isabelle glanced at her watch. “Two minutes, maybe.”
Just when I was absolutely certain that the show was about to start, I leaned over and whispered, “Isabelle, hang on, I’ll be right back.”
“Where are you going?”
“What? The show’s going to start any minute!”
“Oh, but I don’t want to go in the middle!”
My best friend sighed deeply. “Okay, but hurry up! And be back by the time it starts.”
“Roger.” I slipped away, and after making sure nobody was looking, I went backstage–where there certainly wasn’t any bathroom.
I felt like a secret agent infeltrating the camp of the enemy. Actors, all dressed up and all make-uped, dashed around in the half-dark. I bumped into several people, squeeked, “Sorry!” and rushed on, searching for one girl…Danielle. And in fact, there she was, right there! She was playing Cicily, the main character and a princess, all dressed up in what would have been a becoming, pale blue dress if you happened to be rather near-sighted, in fairy-tale and 9th century England, and looking at a girl who wasn’t Danielle. She stood a little apart from all the other actors, rehersing her lines.
” ‘Something this important shouldn’t be rushed, especially with such risks’,” She was saying at the moment in an unnaturally high voice.
“That’s not true,” I said, “Especially in the case of revenge.”
“No, you’re right, that’s not quite it,” Danielle murmured, “Wait, what was that last bit?” She turned and gasped when she saw me.”
“RACHEL!” she hissed, changing from prissy teenager to wizened old crone who lived in a hut, “What are you doing here?! The curtain goes up in one minute! Get out, GO!”
“You’re right, the lines are wrong,” I said, “And, to quote Cicely, but in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, ‘I forgave you almost before the week was out’, and that’s exactly what you ought to have done.”
“You can’t do–,” Danielle started to say, then froze.
“You wouldn’t!” She gasped, “You wouldn’t!”
“It so appears that I would,” I answered, and lunged.
Have you ever tried to knock somebody out? It’s not as easy as it looks to do so and not injure the other person, but I managed to do it. Dragging a dead weight isn’t as easy as it looks, either, and it was almost curtain-time before I managed to stuff Danielle in a little cupboard underneath the stage and prop it shut.
“That should be aerated enough,” I whispered, “Now, I hope you’re wearing clothes underneath those, because I’m going to need them.”
As an extreme turn of luck, it happened that she was, which meant that my face was still in need of blush after I’d dressed. Moments after I finished putting on makeup, I flipped through a copy of the script that was laying about, trying to memorize with my near-photographic memory.
I’m in the first scene, I thought, Let’s see, it’s a speech, all about how I’m trapped in a castle, how sad I am and wishing that a hero would come…
I was thankful that there weren’t any songs by the time that it was time for curtain. The director ushered me onto the stage and I sat inside the ‘tower’, composing poetic lines about how sad I was.
The curtain went up! A blinding spotlight went into my face, and I couldn’t see beyond the edge of the stage.
Improv, I thought, Remember your improv techniques!
“Oh woe!” I sighed into the microphone clipped to my ear, “From this foul tower I long towards the world! How green the grass, how bright the sky–and how I sorrow! and dream of sitting amongst it, not to spy from above as an angel that I am.” The director was obviously shocked, and obviously furious, and obviously seeing that I was obviously not Danielle–and the whole entire school, I could feel from that mass out in front of me, knew it too.
“What ho!” somebody called from offstage. Rushing to the ‘window’ I cried, “Speak thy name! Are thou’st gallant knight or despicable sorcerer? Or perhaps thou art a brave and rich prince, heard of my plight and here to free me from this horrible prison?”
“Not I,” the person called, if surprised not showing it, “I am a simple bard, a musician, lost of way.”
“Is this true? Approach, stranger, and allow my eyes to examine you.”
As the boy who was playing the bard walked onstage with a mandolin, I felt my heart leap into my mouth and hammer incessantly.
I nearly swooned away out of the windowsill, but I kept to the scene and worked away. After we talked about the problem that I was in a tower fifty feet above the ground, the sorceress came into the tower, threw me away from the window, and appeared to kill the bard. As I sobbed in grief, the curtain fell for the next scene.
During the progression of the play, I talked through in a happy haze. With my improvisation, it felt as if I really was a princess, imprisoned by a sorceress, fallen in love with the supposedly stricken-dead bard who had come a-calling to my window. I think that the other actors caught the cue from me, and started talking without any lines, actually conversing with me and making the play more realistic. Finally, in the end, after many plot twists, I married the bard and–after the first kiss in my life on somebody who didn’t belong to my family–lived happily ever after, or so it should have. The plot took another dramatic twist when somebody walked onstage–and who else could it be but Danielle, bright red in fury and hurriedly dressed in a cat costume?
You’re going to hate me for this, but that’s the end of PART FOUR! How else am I going to get you back if I don’t give you horrible cliff-hangers?