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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Arts · #2231298
2 actresses compete for a role. Inspired by a line in "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
         Bella Wolf, a young theater student, selected a cute, sapphire blue dress and took the New York bus down to her first professional theater audition. There were hundreds of performers ahead of her. An anxious, yet excited mood permeated the scene of Broadway hopefuls. There's a lot of competition here, but I can do this, thought Bella. She possessed a confident energy despite her lack of experience.

         A couple hours later, she wasn't looking where she was going and accidentally bumped into the girl ahead of her. "Sorry, excuse me," said Bella.

         The girl turned to face her. Bella saw a perfectly made-up face, with flawless cat-eye eyeliner and lip gloss with razor-sharp edges. The girl's long, red tresses had salon worthy curls. "You need to watch where you're going," she said with her arms crossed.

         "Sorry, I just arrived here from California. I graduated the theater program at UCSD. This is my first audition..." began Bella.

         "I have been auditioning for years," said the girl.

         "You must be very experienced, then," said Bella.

         "Actually, I have yet to get cast. We actresses have to pay our dues for awhile. The odds of you getting in are pretty small, especially on your first try." She flipped her flaming hair.

         "Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better," said Bella sarcastically.

         "Which role are you attempting?" asked the fire-haired girl.

         "I am trying for Princess Annabelle. I am singing 'Think of Me' from Phantom of the Opera because it's my favorite Broadway song and it fits my voice," answered Bella.

          "That song is impossible to sing. Don't count on getting the part. It's mine," said the girl.

         "We will see about that," said Bella. By this time they were almost at the door to the theater. The stage manager opened the door and called out the next name. "Ashley Murphy?"

         "That's me," said the girl. "Bye." She picked up her purse and strutted into the theater.

         A few minutes later, they called Bella in. She walked through the green room, full of mirrors, old costumes and a musty smell. She heard Ashley singing "Memory" from Cats. She sounds pretty good, but I will sound better, thought Bella. She carefully progressed through the backstage area, which was dimly lit and had ropes everywhere to move the curtains. Bella felt the soft, velvety curtains and breathed in the smell of fresh paint as she approached the stage, and felt the hard floor beneath her feet. As she made her entrance, she noticed a feeling of anticipation in the theater. She passed Ashley as the latter left.

          "I nailed it," said Ashley. "You shouldn't even bother."

         Bella's eyes narrowed as she glared at Ashley. Bella took the stage, remembering to walk from her hips as it gives the appearance of confidence. She located a small X on the stage and stood on it. All she could see was a spotlight; everything else was dark. "What is your name?" asked Director Alex. He was a grey-haired, heavy set gentlemen wearing all black.

         "Bella Wolf," she answered with a grin.

         "What will you be singing for us today, Ms. Wolf?"

         " 'Think of Me' from Phantom of the Opera." She approached the pianist and handed her the sheet music. Remember to be as big and dynamic as possible, she thought. Draw from your core, project from your diaphragm... As she listened to the opening notes, she felt a gigantic lump in her throat. Here goes..."

         She opened her mouth. A lyrical, angelic voice emanated from Bella's throat. She glanced at the panel. They're smiling! I must be doing okay. I feel calmer now, like the music is building through me... After throwing everything she had into her performance, it was suddenly over.

          "Thank you. We will be posting the callback list later this evening," said Alex.

         "Thank you," said Bella as she waved goodbye and left the stage.

         Alex leaned over to the stage manager and whispered, "We may have found our leading lady."

         "I agree." She made a note on Bella's application.

         Later that evening, Bella and Ashley bumped into each other at the callbacks.

         "I am surprised that you made it here," said Ashley.

         "I was thinking the same thing," said Bella.

         The choreographer came onstage and taught everyone a dance. Ashley and Bella ended up side by side when it came time to perform the dance. As the music started, Bella focused her energy inward. Use your muscle memory and be expressive..." Bella performed the first few moves of the dance flawlessly.

         Ashley glared at her competition. As Ashley did the moves of the dance, she moved her foot in front of Bella's, trying to trip her. Bella stepped over the foot and continued the dance.

         After the dance, it was time for cold-reading the script. Ashley and Bella took the stage. Alex began with, "Bella, you will be reading the part of Princess Annabelle. Ashley, you're the lady-in-waiting."

         Alex watched intently as the two women read the scene. He leaned over to his stage manager and said, "Wolf is lively and expressive, while Murphy sounds like she's reading a textbook."

         "Yes, but Murphy obviously needs some experience, and this is the seventh show we've seen her audition for. We should cut her some slack and let her be Wolf's understudy."

         "That's an excellent idea!" said Alex.

         A couple of days later, Bella skimmed the cast list with a lump in her throat. There's my name! I got the part! She breathed a sigh of relief and started at her name, noticing that Ashley's name was directly under hers. She's my understudy!? This should be interesting...

         She grabbed her phone and called her mother. "I can't believe I did it! On my first try!"

         "Congrats, honey! We're so proud of you!" said her mom back in California.

         A week later, the new cast assembled in the house of the theater to do the first read-through of the script. Ashley and Bella glared at each other from across the house. I have been auditioning for years and never got cast until now, and she gets it on her first try. So unfair, thought Ashley.

         Over the course of the next six weeks, the cast rehearsed the show. If I can just get rid of her, I will get the part! thought Ashley.

         Before they knew it, it was time for Hell Week, which is the final week of rehearsals before Opening Night.

         "Now remember, cast," said Alex. "You must be at all rehearsals in Hell Week or your role will be recast."

         All I have to do is keep her from one rehearsal and the part will be mine! thought Ashley. The next evening she took a water bottle filled with bleach and offered it to Bella. "You must be thirsty after your dance. Have some water," said Ashley.

         Why is she being nice to me all of a sudden? I've got a bad feeling about this, thought Bella. Besides, that smells like bleach. "No thanks."

         Damn it, thought Ashley. I will have to find another way to get rid of her.

         The next morning, Ashley was in her car when she saw Bella riding her bike across the street. Now's my chance! thought Ashley. She put her foot on the gas pedal and ran the red light, knocking Bella off of her bike. Just before being hit, Bella looked at the driver and recognized her before she sped away. Some bystanders called an ambulance to check on Bella. They took her to the hospital.

         "You got pretty lucky," said the doctor to Bella. "Most people who get hit are much worse off than you are. You probably want to stay off your right leg as it got bruised pretty bad."

         "My show opens tomorrow night. I can't back out on it," said Bella. "I have to dance my part, even if it hurts. I know the woman who did this. She's trying to get rid of me so she can have my part."

         "I would consider pressing charges," said the doctor.

         That evening, Ashley arrived at rehearsal with a bounce in her step . With Bella out of the picture, I will be the princess, she thought to herself. Her jaw dropped as she saw Bella sitting on the stage. A pair of cops stood beside Bella. "That's the person who hit me," she said to the cops. They approached Ashley and handcuffed her before taking her away.

         Although her leg hurt, Bella got through the final rehearsal. The next night, she arrived at call time and got into costume and makeup. Tonight's going to be a great night, she thought to herself. She went backstage and peeked through a hole in the set at the audience. Even though curtain time was still a half hour away, the house was nearly full. Before she knew it, it was time. She sat backstage, waiting for her cue to go on.

         She heard her cue and took the stage. She could not see the audience because of the stage lights, but she could hear them laugh at her funny lines. This feels awesome! I didn't know how great it feels to get a laugh . Before she knew it was time for the curtain call. The chorus went onstage and bowed, then the minor roles, then the principals, and finally Bella. They're giving me a standing ovation! A crew member came onstage and handed Bella a bouquet of flowers. As she bowed, the rest of the cast bowed with her and the curtains came down.

          Alex came backstage with the words, "Congratulations on an excellent show, everyone! We are having a party at The Tavern on Fifth. You are all invited."

         They departed for the tavern. "What happened to that Ashley girl?" asked one of the chorus members.

         "She's in jail for trying to run me over so she could have my role," said Bella.

         "Not cool. She seemed like a dick," said another chorus member.

         The cast enjoyed a successful run. They did a special performance for school groups, and afterwards the students wrote thank you letters to the cast. Bella read a note reading,

         "I loved the show. It was funny and the dances were cool. Ms. Wolf is the best princess ever."

         Another read,

         "You are my favorite princess, Ms. Wolf. Next time we see a princess story I hope it's about you."

         I get such a kick out of reading these, thought Bella. She kept the notes in a special place and read them whenever she needed a self-esteem boost. They helped her deal with the inevitable rejections that come with being an actor.

         A few years later, Bella received an invitation to speak to theater students at a community college. "Being an actor can be hard, but it's so rewarding. I found the right profession," she said to the students. "If you're passionate about it enough to handle the rejections, it's definitely worth it."

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