35-word pitch: Starving for close relationships after her stepbrother’s death, CIMBER must determine if the students at her aunt’s art school can offer her genuine friendship, or if they’re using her to suck up to their director.
“Light cue 98, standby.”
I stood far enough away from the curtains backstage that I didn’t need to peer, but I could see Prospero center stage. He delivered his line with a crisp, practiced diction: “And deeper, than did ever plummet sound, I’ll drown my book.”
“Light cue 98, go,” I muttered into my headset. In response, the lights deepened to an interplanetary purple, star-like points dotting the scrim.
The actors playing Alonso, Sebastian, and Ariel filed out onto the stage. With stage left mostly empty now, even in the semi-darkness, I could see that Jackson wasn’t there—and that he hadn’t moved his chess set onstage.
Probably sleeping in the dressing room again, the lazy cuss. And he needed to go onstage soon.
I buzzed out a breath, then scooted the table with the chess set myself, careful not to disturb any of the pieces. I understood that the chess set was expensive and putting glue on it would have been a horrendous sin, but moving the table when the pieces weren’t secured down was like trying to make a house of cards on a raft out at sea.
Jackson rushed in from the hall, throwing on his velvet costume jacket. Noticing me hefting his set piece, he stepped in to lift from the other side. “Sorry, it won’t happen again,” he said.
Well, yeah, I thought, giving a humored eye-roll, happy closing night.
My name was actually Cimber, but the fun part of being in a high school Shakespeare troupe is that they come up with killer nicknames. Although, Cymbeline was a guy.
I thought the nickname was great. Normally the actors referred to me by it just when talking to each other—but this was the first time I’d heard it actually directed to me. Actors hardly ever spoke to me directly anyway. I lived on the outskirts of their gaggle, because between my marking tardies and shushing everyone backstage, being Stage Manager basically made me an eighteen year old killjoy.
I loved it.
Finished placing the table, I paced back to my post, and noticed an actress crouching, examining her lower leg.
I was about to tell her, “Stay on deck for your entrance, Eva,” but instead said, “Oh my gosh” when I noticed the fat line of blood stretching from her knee to ankle.
“I cut myself walking through the scene shop.”
“Don’t let it get on your costume.” I bent down to hold the end of her knee-length vest away from the blood. “Jackson,” I said, “Get us a bandaid.”
“Is there time?”
I listened. Over the sound system, I heard Prospero deliver his line: “I do forgive they rankest fault . . .”
The progression of the script blazed before my mind; I could even envision where the lines fell on the page. Alonso and Prospero both have more lines before Jackson’s entrance. And Prospero has a long bit of monologue.