Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pride and Princesses The Cast List chapter 11

Chapter 11

The Cast List

     ‘Also, his mom was driving,’ Mouche said as we walked through our school corridor on Monday after lunch, on our way to check the cast list for Rocco and Julie: A Teen Tragedy!

    Teegan, Tory, Brooke and Freya glared at us from behind their lockers. Their looks said it all; don’t even think you’re going to beat us to the leading roles.

    ‘I need to speak to you,’ Teegan said to Mouche, ‘it’s about a certain crumpled piece of paper you left near the Century City sushi bar...’

    ‘I’ll have to check my schedule, Teegan, to see when I’m free. Maybe I can pencil you in. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t talk about what I’d read, if I were you...’

    ‘Is that a threat?’

    ‘No, it’s a warning...’ Mouche replied.

    There was, as you’ve already heard, some serious history and a buzz going around that Mouche and I had already been asked to the Fall Fling by Jet and Mark. The rumor about Teegan and Tory going with them was just that.

    The Princesses were on the warpath.

    ‘We know you are up to something,’ Teegan accused Mouche.

    ‘It’s just a matter of time before we find out what,’ Tory added.

    ‘I figure it will take them at least two weeks to work it out,’ Mouche whispered.

    ‘Especially since there are added distractions,’ I replied.


    Mr Sparks started clapping as we walked towards the notice board.

    I pretended to be nonchalant as I glanced up and saw my name and Jet’s and Teegan’s and...Mark’s? Are they kidding? He never even auditioned. Oh, there he is next to stage management and lighting and understudying. And then there, next to the role of Julie, was my name. Tory was playing the second lead. Mouche and I were pretty excited. Tory was mortified to be relegated to the part of Julie’s ‘best friend.’

   ‘This could be interesting,’ I thought.

   ‘Mmm...’ Tory sniffed, ‘there are no small parts, only small actors.’

   ‘Keep telling yourself that, Tory.’ Mouche added as we gathered our shoes for tap class.

   Mouche was to play the dream sequence ‘dancer Julie’, even though she hadn’t auditioned. Mr Sparks said he had some kind of contemporary dance in mind, and since Mouche was the best dancer in school, he’d like her to do it.

    ‘People just don’t get it Pheebs, when I say I’m giving up dance, though I love it. Let’s face it, my feet are too big to get into American Ballet Theatre anyway.’

    Performing Arts students took up the majority of the cast. Peter was playing Rocco and Mouche was also responsible for costumes and dance as well as a smaller role with one line which is ‘exactly’ what she wanted (so she could concentrate on getting the near-perfect scores she would need for her scholarship). Mouche has always had a way of twisting Mr Sparks and Miss Tartt around her little finger. 

    Suddenly we saw Jet. Teegan had cornered him in the theatre studies hall and was monopolizing his company. He seemed very keen to get away from her.

   ‘Avert your eyes,’ I warned Mouche, but she didn’t seem at all bothered.

   ‘I’d be so over him, but I’m definitely up for dating him at least once. He’s the perfect boyzample for Saturday night.’


   ‘No, delusional...you can just tell he thinks the whole world loves him. I’ve changed my mind about him since watching him flirt with just about every girl he meets.’

    ‘But he did ask you, and he doesn’t know anyone, and you seemed to have a great time swimming on Saturday. You can’t blame him for trying to make friends.’

    ‘It says here, ‘guys want other guys for ‘intellectual company’ meaning not girls.’

    ‘Well that guide sucks...it’s wrong...’

    ‘Wouldn’t be so hasty about that...’

    ‘What decade was it written in anyway, the 1930s?

    ‘1960s. Did you see what Mark was wearing today? Hot jacket. He really is...very European. Here...check this out.’

   That’s when Mouche handed me the note, and before I had to worry about her sudden interest in Mark, I realised she had date four already in the bag.

     Tobias Olsen. Who knew he had a weekend interest in golf?

    ‘When are you meeting him?’

    ‘I don’t know. I’m thinking, practice range, next week, but I haven’t replied yet. Sometimes it’s good to make them wait and leave them wondering...’

    ‘I doubt it, ‘men don’t beg’, it says so here, page 38.’

     Mouche was becoming very confident with regard to the rules we’d written. Was the game going to her head? Had the plan overtaken real life?

    ‘Give me that.’

    I handed her Mrs Mouche’s tome, Mrs Robinson’s Guide to Getting Your Man..

    ‘What a load of garbage,’ Mouche said, ‘I can’t believe life was like this...’

    We read on about the necessity of ‘nailing’ your man and securing his affections in order to get him to ‘propose’...

    ‘Propose what?’ Mouche said, ‘A lifetime of childbirth and slavery for women way back when – now she was reading A History of Suffrage – and was hooked. ‘I’m so glad we were born in the 90s.’

   The Boy Rating Diary is about the possibility of love and romance...’ I say with a hint of irony.

   ‘True..,’ Mouche replied.

    It was mid-afternoon and instead of study hall we had preliminary ‘rehearsal time’ which is another reason all of the performing arts students and so many of the general studies students were now involved in the play. Teegan was being consoled by her ‘sorority sisters’ about not getting the part she wanted.

    ‘Never mind’, Freya said helpfully, ‘you couldn’t play the role you wanted anyway.  They’re not even doing Hairspray.’

     ‘I know but it was the perfect part for me. She’s not even that talented.’

     ‘I know, I can’t believe you didn’t get it, you are much more talented...and beautiful,’ Brooke said.

     ‘I’m not talking about the stupid play! I’m talking about the tacky film!’

     ‘Never mind. It was low-budget, Teegs.’

     ‘They decided to cast an African-American. My sister just texted me. This has been the worst day of my entire life. I’m a winner, not some loser.’ The other Princesses commiserated with Teegan.

    Thom had texted me that morning, so I knew I hadn’t got the film part either. But the play kind of made up for it.

    ‘Never mind,’ he’d said, ‘I’m going to send over a scout to see you in your new showcase at the end of your junior year. How’s Wednesday?’

     Thom was ever the optimist. So what if I didn’t get some stupid part? I wouldn’t give those who’d slighted me the thrill of seeing me losing my pride and crying in public.

    Then Thom texted me with an audition for Wednesday: toddlers needed at 3.30pm casting suite, North Road don’t be late!    

    ‘I think he might just be using you to get to my sister,’ Mouche said.

     ‘It might be fun...I think Wednesday would like it...’ I replied.

     Mouche pulled my cell off me at that point.

     ‘I just know that teacher is going to completely lose it if I don’t,’ she whispered as Miss Tartt snuck up behind us and then hovered in the corner like an eagle. Mouche is very intuitive like that. She’s also smart enough not to get caught up in the acting game and risk getting her feelings hurt time and again.

     ‘Maybe we shouldn’t risk Wednesday’s self-esteem.’ I added as an afterthought.

      ‘No. But sometimes it’s good to take risks. I have a feeling if she auditions, she might just get it.’

     ‘Really? And life is about taking chances to make gains,’ I said. ‘That’s why we are putting our hearts and minds on the line for the Boy-Rating Diary.’

    ‘Okay, but right now, we’re supposed to be learning the basic script for Rocco and Julie – a Teen Tragedy...oh, please,’ Mouche sighed. ‘I’m glad I only have one line.’

     It is a little known fact that Mr Sparks, who has an ego mightier than just about anyone you will ever meet, had scrapped the whole idea of doing Hairspray because of ‘costs’. Our afternoon theatre classes are now replaced by play rehearsals and the dancers, singers and actors are all in different groupings going over their scenes. Mr Sparks is egomaniacal, of course, but also unintentionally funny. The incidental music and dancing is, I must grudgingly admit, very memorable. Although I am trying to be contained, I’m obviously thrilled to have the lead role.

     We can hear Mr Sparks in the hallway having a very heated argument with the vice-principal about budgeting, as Mouche and I read our scripts backstage.

     ‘No, non, non! It actually saves money if some of the teachers play the adult parts...’

     ‘Yes, Gary, but not just one of the teachers playing three parts...’

     ‘Are you saying I’m not qualified to play the roles? I went to drama school. I have an MFA! I’m the best man for the job!’

      Wow, we’d never heard Mr Sparks so hysterical. Mouche started giggling.

     ‘I’m just saying, you might try giving at least two of the parts to the older boys...directing is a full-time job, Gary, and the school understands all the sacrifices you make...’

      ‘Typical,’ Mouche and I said, snacking on Pringles and highlighting our dialogue with pink fluorescent pens, ‘that man is totally driven.’

    ‘I overheard Tory saying he tried to cast himself in all the leading roles, including the female ones, but in the end gave up and that’s why he only had three, and now he’s only got one.’

     Teegan snorted with laughter and all the Princesses overheard us because they were seated close by. An onlooker might almost have thought we were friends. Almost. Mark walked past us and the students parted company for him. He looked very miserable, like he wanted to drop out of school. Then he looked up at Mouche and me, said, ‘hi, see you Saturday,’ and smiled.

     I felt a secret thrill when he spoke and Mouche said, ‘sure.’

    ‘Throwing you a bone, is he girlfriends?’ Teegan whispered witheringly. Jealousy is such an affliction. 


    We all gathered around the stage at the close of the school day, the students playing leading roles as well as the soloists, including Teegan, Freya Tory and Brooke.

   ‘There’s just not enough of me me me to go around, people,’ Mr Sparks said on stage, the strobe lights sedating us into submission, making the auditorium seem like a daytime disco.

    ‘Welcome to week one of rehearsals for the school play. Whilst it is normally the performing arts students who swell the ranks of our cast (Mr Sparks winked at Peter Williamson and Mouche and me) we are happy to have the addition of many of our talented general studies students with us. In the weeks ahead we will create our show, our piece de resistance. It will take hours of hard labor to create genius. During our last week we’ll be rehearsing all weekend, so I’d like you to make a note in your journals or laptops and keep the weekend of the eighth free.’

    Everyone beeped out their cells or blackberrys or whatever they used to keep dates in.

    I cringed for the boys. Mark was sitting there in a black leather jacket looking really hot and arty but holding a Physics text, not exactly interested, although I did see him glance in my direction at least once. Perhaps I imagined it.