Oooh, cool effects. Burnout is burning hotter. Mmmm. Okay enough of that.
Today is the last of the contest entries. Be sure to go back and look at all the entries, and make sure you don't miss the ones that were posted on off days of the comic. Last thing I need to do is get the poll up and running and let you all vote. Enjoy!
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All I was hoping for was a spot on the stage in
my school's auditorium, with maybe a line or two to
say. Nothing fancy. I wasn't really surprised, though,
when I read the cast list and my name wasn't on it.
But then, just as I'd given up hope, Ms. Weber stopped
me in the hall, saying it was about the musical. The
directors wanted me to be stage manager! They hadn't
put my name on the cast list because they were hoping
to have the benefit of my organization backstage, and
my memory to prompt the actors when they forgot their
lines. Ms. Weber was quick to assure me that, if I
would rather be onstage, I could have a small speaking
part instead. I was equally quick to assure her that I
would be quite happy as stage manager. I had never
dreamed of having such an important job in the
production of the all-school musical. As several
people pointed out, I would even get to boss around
I started my job a week later, attending
rehearsals, taking notes, and helping to work out
logistics. Right from the start it was great fun, but
as the show took shape, my job became more and more
interesting. I gained power, in the form of a whistle
to be used at my discretion to quiet the unruly cast.
I also took on the duties of prompter as the actors
were weaned from their scripts. Their mishaps were
often amusing, though, having acted in plays myself, I
could certainly sympathize.
The directors had few preconceived ideas, so we
all worked together to come up with details of set,
props, and costumes. Because of this, these details
were subject to frequent changes, making keeping track
of which items were needed where and at what time
interesting at best.
As the set was completed, bulrushes were
installed along the front of the stage. This proved
disruptive, as they had the habit of exploding in a
cloud of tiny bits of fluff whenever anything bumped
them. Costumes, too, became troublesome, since people
insisted on trading colours of T-shirts, even after
they had been told that certain groups were supposed
to be in certain colours.
However, the thing that I would have thought
would be hardest for the actors was actually one that
they seemed to find quite easy. Once they had been
taught the choreography, they rarely forgot their
steps, or if they did, it was not noticeable. They
seemed to have much more trouble with the thing that I
found easy: lines. The job of prompter actually became
a bit difficult. I had to listen to the actors, write
down the mistakes they had to fix, and give them their
lines when they got lost, all simultaneously. It was
certainly tiring, especially before I had memorized
the script, when I still had to look up every line
that was needed.
Though I was easily able to memorize lines, I
knew I was best suited to the job I had: I could never
have duplicated the feeling that the actors injected
into those simple lines. Certainly, I will never
forget the resounding "Can ah hear a hallelujah!" that
was delivered in a perfectly imitated Southern drawl
three times per rehearsal, nor the energy of the lone
student with a legitimate drawl as he proclaimed
"...he takes five boxes of Nabiscos, two cans of
sardines, and he feeds five thousand people!"
Maybe it was work, but it sure didn't seem like
it, especially with all the laughter. People kept
telling each other about the time that one of the
teachers who was playing music for the play was asked
what time it was, and he kept looking around for his
watch in his pockets and on the floor until someone
pointed out that it was on his wrist. There was fun to
be had in the wings during rehearsals as well, with
crowds of actors doing silly dances to the songs that
those on stage were singing, and impromptu renditions
of "Part of Your World" and other Disney classics by a
Finally, it was time to perform our masterpiece.
The show opened ten minutes late because the audience
didn't seem to understand that flicking the lights
meant it was time for them to find seats. We didn't
mind having the extra time, though: we spent it
laughing at a hapless teacher's blue-and-white striped
train conductor style overalls, and trying to figure
out why he would want to go onstage in them.
The performance went quite well, from my point of
view at least. Someone had found a spray-can of
something that stopped the bulrushes from exploding,
and no-one needed the prompter to shout out lines on
the middle of the performance, though their lines did
drift from the script in places. One actor added an
extra "Can ah hear a hallelujah!", causing the rest of
the cast to audibly strain their voices trying to be
louder than their previous hallelujah.
Some people, however, may not have had as high an
opinion of the success of the performance as I did.
During the intermission, I noticed the narrator
talking to one of the directors backstage and looking
extremely sheepish. I later found out that, in his
excitement, instead of pretending to drink the liquid
from the water-into-wine trick, he had actually drunk
some of it. The liquid was poisonous. Fortunately,
poison control told the teacher who phoned them a
simple antidote for the stuff, and the narrator was
fine. As far as I could tell he looked more sheepish
than scared, though he did stay far away from that
glass during subsequent performances. I have yet to
figure out why they couldn't have used Kool-Aid
crystals or something else non-poisonous to colour the
The play itself was a success. The audience
obviously loved it, and spent half their time
laughing. There were almost as many jokes in the play
as there were at the rehearsals!
After the last performance, all the backstage
workers were called up on stage to be recognized, and
some of the more prominent ones were given gifts in
recognition of their work. One cast member had
acquired dalmatian-spotted cowboy hats for the
teachers who had worked on the play. I myself got a
$50 Chapters gift card. Now if only I could get paid
for having fun more often...