Thespians – 2A

Thespians (500Words, Week 2, Day 1, 12/25/17)

“You stood there, bundled against a cold that I couldn’t feel, staring off into space. I wanted nothing more than to see what you saw. If I could have, perhaps things would have been different. Not necessarily better, I suppose, just different. Where I stood, watching you, it was warm enough, the wind soft enough, the street quiet enough that I was comfortable. I know you weren’t. That was really all I did know in that moment, and I didn’t know what to do.”

“Brilliant! Just brilliant!” The director’s enthusiasm filled the empty theater. John shook off the tendrils of his character’s pain as he put his hand over his eyes in an attempt to find the little man. The bright spotlight bore down on him, making his search in vain. The director appeared out of the glare to John’s right, bouncing his way onto the stage.

Yes! You’ve tapped in to his essence now! You’re brilliant!” John was enveloped in an unwanted embrace before he’d fully registered that the man was so close to him. The shock of it pulled him fully out of character and he wriggled his way free before speaking.

“Great. Great. I, um, I’ve been working on that monologue all week.” John moved over to where he’d left his script near the curtain and, keeping his eyes on the director, bent down to retrieve it. “Are we done for today, then?”

“Ah, yes! Best to stop on such a high note, don’t you think? Bask in it, John, feel this feeling – your true connection with these words, this scene. You have it, my dear boy – this part is yours! Yours for the taking! Just brilliant!” The effusiveness of the director was overwhelming and, John knew, part of the deal. He wanted more parts and that meant working with this director. He’d learn to deal with the over-the-top praise just as he’d learned to deal with the biting criticism. The man had three responses to actors – excitement, despair, and lechery. John was finding ways to survive them all.

“Ok. Um, thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow then. For scene 5?” John looked up from his rehearsal schedule to find the director very close to him – a bit too close – and he created some distance between them while waiting for the answer.

“Yes! Scene 5! Wherein your big, brooding character confronts his muse. A delicious scene – be sure to be off book so your hands are free.” The wiggle of his eyebrow showed John what to expect from rehearsal tomorrow.

“Right. Ok. Well, um, see you tomorrow then.” John leapt off the stage, grabbed his coat off the chair in the first row, and moved quickly up the aisle and out into the lobby. He didn’t stop moving while he shrugged into his coat and opened the door. The fresh air meant freedom and he needed it right away. Tomorrow’s rehearsal was going to be intense, and he wanted as much distance from the director and the stage as he could get. And he wanted to find Phoenix. They were in this together, like it or not.




* All 500Words are fiction.  Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *