James Hartley

Tonight was opening night and I only had one word. Crap. I hadn’t practice my cues, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I knew how to do a blackout and if anything went wrong, I would most probably stick my hand through the electric socket and kill myself. Okay a slight exaggeration there. I wasn’t ready but the problem was, I had to be ready…

The phone rang, “Hello?”



“Are you going to pick me up?”

“The show starts at 7.”

“And we’ve got to be there at 3.”

“Are you kidding?” I picked up my cup of coffee and swigged it down, burning my throat.

“Get a move on! Oh and wear black!” Jenna called before putting the phone down. I groaned as I went into my wardrobe and looked through my shirts, the only black shirt I had had a weird skull thing on the arm. Mom had bought it for me back when she thought that people who rode motorbikes would also like skulls, I also received a pair of socks with silver skulls on and a motorbike helmet which had fire and skulls on. The latter was taken back to the shop. Instead I chose a plain white shirt and black trousers; I threw on my coat and got the car keys. I had totally forgotten to ring up the nightclub and cancel but I figured if I rang up my mate Dan, he would cover for me.

By the time we had arrived at the theatre most of the crew and cast were there, the cast were drinking water and stretching whilst the crew were drinking coffee and slacking around. I went up to the lighting box to practice, much to the delight of Aladdin and his genie who were practising on stage. Jackson the sound supervisor came round the corner from the sound box, he leant against the door and watched me flick switches, when he spoke I jumped.

“We’ve got a problem,” he mumbled, his southern accent hard to understand,

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” I enquired,

“All our microphones are down and you’re to blame…”

“Me?” I asked standing up and walking the short distance to him, Jackson nodded slowly like a dog on a dashboard.

“You messed up the wireless with yo’ lightin’.”

“How?” I asked, Bennie the sound guy came round.

“It’s complicated,” he mumbled through his thick spectacles, “but I think your blackout has messed with the signal, the blackout lights are wireless too…” Bennie was a graduate from Harvard; I didn’t know why he was stuck in a mediocre theatre working sound.

“So what can we do?”

“Nothin’!” Jackson cried,

“It’s either microphones or blackouts…”

“I’ll go talk to Jenna,” I mumbled,

“Cara’ll wanna know too!” Jackson called, I nodded.


“Ow! It’s not my fault!” I said rubbing the place on my arm Jenna had just hit me with the magic lantern prop, she placed it on the stand and narrowed her eyes.

“Trust you to mess things up!”

“It’s just as much the sound guys as me, and that Bennie guy should know how to fix it! He went to Harvard for goodness sakes!”

“Well you were given a place at Stanford…” Jenna muttered,

“Well I didn’t go did I? Thanks to a certain someone…” I trailed off, “That someone being the person who spiked the punch,” I clarified as Jenna’s face almost crumpled. She took a deep breath and stood up straight,

“Well I vote we keep the blackouts, otherwise the stage transitions will look messy. The cast can just speak loudly tonight and we’ll sort it all out before tomorrow,”

“I’ll go tell Cara,” I said, Jenna winked and nodded as I stalked off to find her. Trust there to be trouble on the first night…and unfortunately that wasn’t the worst of it.

The End

103 comments about this exercise Feed