Chance wasn’t kidding about Saturday rehearsals. The cast members asked to be there that morning lounged around on stage. Some sat on the floor. Others on a large red couch, which were meant to depict M. and Lady M.’s house, even though that was not today’s scene. Still, a couch was a couch, and this one looked comfy.
“Rebecca,” said Mr. Stone, her drama teacher, as she approached. “Thank you so much for being here. Have a donut, get to know everyone.”
A folding table had been set up in the space between the drop off of the stage and the front row of seats. Rebecca didn’t feel like eating, so she merely grabbed a donut hole from off of the table and nibbled on it. She looked out at the rows upon rows of empty seats in the auditorium, and she imagined them filled with people.
“Heads up,” a voice called. A small, bright pink beanbag fell out of the air and landed in front of Rebecca. She spun and looked up.
Standing at the edge of the stage was a short guy with out-of-control curly blonde hair. He held two more beanbags in each hand.
“Little help?” he said. Rebecca had seen this guy around school. She didn’t know his real name, only his nickname, Pickle.
“Can’t juggle just two,” he said. “Just two is playing catch with yourself.”
Rebecca gave him a smirk, swallowed the last of the donut hole, and picked up the beanbag. She jostled it in her hand for a second. “Not much of a juggler if one of your balls goes flying off the stage.”
“Very funny. Give it here.”
She tossed the beanbag at Pickle. He tried to catch it, but couldn’t without dropping the beanbags in each hand, as he fumbled for one, he dropped all three.
“I didn’t know there was juggling in this play,” Rebecca said. “Could’ve sworn it was a tragedy.”
“This isn’t for the play,” Pickle said. “It’s for me.”
He tried to juggle again and almost had it for a few seconds before dropping all the beanbags.
“Why not make them go in a circle?” Rebecca asked. “Throw one from another at your waist, and make all three follow a pattern in a circle? Wouldn’t that be easier?”
“That’s not real juggling,” he said. “That’s cheating.”
“It’d look cool.”
“Still cheating.” He gathered up all three balls and continued practicing.
Rebecca walked to the side of the stage, up the steps and onto the stage. A few other students milled about. Beyond Pickle, Rebecca saw another familiar face. She had a few classes with this Mallea, a fellow freshman.
Mallea sat cross-legged on the stage floor, thumbing through a pack of cards.
“Hey,” Rebecca said. “What’ve you got there?”
“Tarot,” Mallea said, holding up one of the elaborately painted cards.
“You’re into new age stuff?”
“If it’s been practiced for thousands of years, it’s not exactly new, is it?” Mallea held the deck up to Rebecca. “Reading? Free of charge.”
“Why not?” Rebecca pulled a card.
“Two of cups,” Mallea said. “A sense of perfect harmony between you and the rest of the world.”
“But it’s reversed, upside down. Something’s broken, and you have to fix it.”
Rebecca gave back the card. “You actually believe this?”
“It’s real. It’s based on energy. You just have to be open to it.”
Rebecca didn’t know what to say. “Who do you play? In the show?”
“I’m a bunch of characters,” Mallea said. “I’m all of M.’s visions. The child, the bloody king, and so on. After I do my lines as one character, I run backstage, change clothes as fast as I can, and come back as another.”
“That’s really cool.”
Mallea smiled a sweet smile. “It’s fun.”
With that, Mallea turned her attention back to the cards. Rebecca looked over and saw three girls sitting on the red couch. Rebecca knew she had to act with these three, so she tried to make a good impression.
“Hi, I’m Rebecca.”
“We know,” said the girl in the middle. Her name was Francisca, as Rebecca had seen her around school.
“How was your audition?” Francisca asked, giving Rebecca a cold stare. Francisca’s friends, Antonia and Alma, matched that stare.
“I didn’t actually audition,” Rebecca said. “Mr. Stone offered me the park on Monday. He gave me the script, told me to start memorizing my lines, and here I am.”
“Interesting,” Francisca said. “Mr. Stone casts a freshman who just moved here as queen of the witches, but casts two juniors and a senior as the three witches? I guess he’s going for an experimental theater kind of thing.”
“Yeah,” said Antonia, leaning in close to Francisca. “Totally avant garde.”
Rebecca knew this was an attack, but chose not to respond as such. Instead, she just shrugged, and did her best to flash a smile. After all, she would have to work with these three on stage for the best of the play.
“I guess,” she said.
To be continued.
ACT FOUR SCENE ONE is being serialized a chapter a day from now through the end of October. This is a workshop draft, so your feedback is appreciated. Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.