The Show

"Hold!” the director shouted for the tenth time in a row. Dear god, could this technical run go any slower? I was itching in the wool vest of my costume, and the lights were shining bright on me. If we didn’t hurry up and change light cues, I would be sweating off my stage makeup. 

“Alright let’s start from the beginning of this scene,” the technical director shouted at the stage. He was a soft spoken man normally, but when he needed his voice to carry, he knew how to project. It always came out as a bellow, so if you weren’t used to this side of his voice, it would make you jump. A few of the freshmen onstage did exactly that. I found it secretly amusing. 

The music swelled again, as the lead actor said his lines. His acting was normally interesting to watch, but you could tell he was tired and wanted the scene to hurry up and end just like everyone else on stage. The scene was barreling along just fine. I crossed downstage to deliver my lines right as everyone else’s lines abruptly ended. I opened my mouth to sing my solo and…

“Hold!”

“Oh my god,” I suddenly said, immediately praying that my voice wasn’t too audible in my mic. 

“We will be here all night if you guys can’t get this right,” the director said. Yep, he had heard me. 

“Some of us do have finals in the morning, not to be rude or anything.” That was Michelle, who was usually mousy and didn’t speak much, but when she did, you knew she had something important on her mind. 

“We understand that, and trust me, we won’t keep you any longer that necessary.” Professor Stan, the technical director, always said what needed to be said to keep everyone calm. Maybe that’s why the technical aspects of every play ran much smoother when he got here. He had a way with talking to you that made you want to respect him and never disappoint. He was always firm, but understanding and caring. Almost a polar opposite of this director we were stuck with for the next week. At least we wouldn’t have to worry too much about him once these technical runs of the show were over. 

Professor Stan shouted some directions to the light crew, who you could hear scrambling in the catwalks. Apparently my spotlight for my solo had went out and needed to urgently be fixed. 

“This cocksock is so uncomfortable,” Nicolas uttered. The scene we were working on was a scene where two of the stage actors would fake having sex. It was a turning point in the scene that involved cheating lovers and first-time sex. It was scandalous at best. We just all had an issue with the cocky lead actor, always complaining about something on stage. He was never satisfied. But he wooed the pants off Micky Scotch, the guest director who, like Nicholas, seemed to never be satisfied. 

“It’s probably not small enough,” Lacy replied, loud enough for just the few actors around us to hear. Or so we thought. Nicholas shot her a look, and it took all I had to not burst out laughing. 

“I never heard you complaining before.” Nicholas and Lacy used to be lovers, until something happened and they broke it off. I wasn’t cognizant of the details, but the energy whenever they were around each other was stifling. 

“You fell asleep before I could.”

There were a few “oohs” and snickers across the stage. Nicholas turned to reply with a retort…

“Quiet on set!” Mickey boomed into his microphone. He couldn’t project his voice the way Professor Stan could, so of course he had to be special and have a mic that was powered over everyone else’s. 

Lacy, who was seated during this scene, crossed her legs and smiled. She knew she had won this round of banter. Actually, she was just saying what everyone was thinking. 

What seemed like eons later, Mickey’s voice boomed over everyone’s thoughts. “We may resume where we left off.”

“Finally,” I said, again immediately regretting the fact that my brain didn’t have better control over my mouth.

“Young man, one more word and I will have you replaced,” Mickey warned.

“That’s no way to talk to your actors who have been working on the same scene for an hour now.” That was Marissa, the one person on stage who you didn’t want to make upset. She was someone who spoke her mind, but in a tactful way and when order needed to be put in place. This was one of those times. 

“Excuse me,” Mickey warned. 

“Everyone take five!” Professor Stan yelled suddenly. “Mickey let’s have a talk outside.”

Everyone held their breath and let their eyes follow Professor Stan and Mickey as they made their way to the lobby. Professor Stan dangerously charged to the lobby, while Mickey rolled his eyes and sulked behind. 

“Oh shit, Stan has had enough,” Jacobi snickered. 

“About time someone put him in his place.”

“Guys we’ve been here for almost three hours and haven’t gotten halfway through the play.”

“If he wouldn’t stop to fix every little light cue or stage prop, we’d be done by now.”

“God, I want to get out this costume.”

“And cue in Nicolas and his whining.”

And there went Lacy and Nicolas with their one-liners at each other. The actors started to talk over each other, some laughing at Lacy and Nicolas, others holding side conversations about what exams they hadn't studied for and would end up having to pull all-nighters just to get a decent grade. 

“Fine then, we’ll finish tomorrow!” Mickey shouted from the lobby. The stage got quiet and all eyes went to the door leading to the lobby. Whatever Professor Stan and Mickey were talking about hadn’t been pleasant. Professor Stan entered back into the theatre, but without Mickey.

“Guys, pack up and go home. Get out of costume and study for your exams tomorrow. We will resume tomorrow, with a much faster pace than what you guys have had to endure tonight.”

Wait, we were just going to stop like that? We all looked at each other for a minute. Marissa was the first to move, and everyone followed suit. We went backstage to get out of costume and rush to our respective homes. 

“I hope this play goes well. By the looks of it, this play could easily be a disaster.” I didn’t mean to be so negative, but my brain was done filtering my mouth. 

“At least Stan set Mickey straight, and he’ll actually let the tech crew do their job.” Jacobi always kept everyone’s spirits up. I hope he was right.