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Sadie V. Williams

JAMES 1:17 Awaiting rehearsal I rest on the floor of the stage applying foundation to my face. For me, theatre is a place that allows me to be something else and experience something other-worldly. I see something within myself when I’m here, like I can be what I want to be. Actors must connect with their characters, disassemble, and mold them into a part of themselves. If an actor succeeds at this they will bring light into the role, connecting themselves and the audience to something new. Theatre is also a mirror. As physical properties of a scene actors can develop and change the characters and, through interaction, the story itself. Alone, I play through the lines in my mind. The scene begins with an 11 year old daughter and a mother standing in line for a hotdog from a vender on the street. Dressed in a red and white polka-dotted dress I will be playing the part of the young daughter. Young Daughter: “This is stupid. Why do we have to wait in this stupidly long line just to get a hotdog. I could have ordered and eaten three hotdogs by now anywhere else I bet!” Mother: “The hotdogs for you too, hun. I’m just so parched and I know they have those blueberry slushies you love here! Let me bribe you, come on!” Young Daughter: “What are you talking about? What blueberry slushy? Look, I’m sick of being late for ballet class. You are the teacher after all. Don’t you think it’s embarrassing?” Mother: “We’re not going to be late. I need to get something in my system. And don’t you dare get that tone with me missy.” The mother and daughter move up in line to the counter, both their eyes gazed up on the menu, avoiding their annoyance with one another. Cashier: “What can I getcha?” Seconds pass. Cashier: “Ma’am? His eyes turn to the daughters’ without blinking. The daughter commands her body to react, but no limb manages to respond. The cashier waves his impatient fingers at the patrons. Cashier: “Uhh ma’am, could you step off to the side while you—“

Suddenly the mother starts to shake, violently. The line instantly grows silent and attentive. The daughter grabs her mother, but it’s too late. The mother’s neck cranks upward and to the side. Foamy drool seeps out of her mouth and rolls down to the cliff of her jaw. Her knees slowly give out as she sways to the ground with the speed of a feather. Her wilting body droops and droops with each force striking through her body. Bellowing out from her eyes, tears of strain flood her cheeks and now the floor. She moans intensely with each spasm that runs through her spine. The events have stirred the interest of those who pass by and their eyes stalk the scene as the daughter kneels by her mother’s side. The daughter waits patiently for her mother to regain enough consciousness and aides her in standing up. Holding one another they walk over to a nearby bench and sit on the edge. With relief the daughter runs her hands through her own hair, turns and begins to wipe her mothers’ swollen eyes. Daughter: “Better?” [Pause scene] I can never get that line down. Of course, it’s not the line itself. I get it and all. I just can’t get the intention in my voice to match my movement. But let’s be honest about what it means to be young. It only makes sense that the young girl would be concerned at least a little with social propriety, but she’s not. I take 5 and rest in awe. I lie on the theatre with my knees together and the soles of my feet tucked under. I stretch my arms out across the powdery floor. I tap the excess powder off onto my cheeks and chest, adding another layer to conceal the pink. I pound my fists into the powder, stirring it around the stage. My own mother, she never wore a drop of make-up. A woman of simple nature. And here I am slathered in disguise. I crawl to front-center and while on my knees open my arms wide. I let my head tip backwards, towards the rafters, my neck resting on my shoulders. Mother comes forth from the audience. She feels the same even through the powdery air. I look up at her, straight into her eyes. I can feel her breath of compassion. She takes her hands and starting from my chest moves her palms to my cheeks. With a forceful intention she rubs my grease ridden powder in her hands onto her own face. [Ghost light burns out] What an incredible gift it is to experience such love.

James 1:17  

Short story fiction

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