I was watching Cara and Dan our genie rehearsing on stage. I couldn't help thinking that Cara looked tired, as though she hadn't slept much at all last night. I put down the costume I was putting the last touches too and went to find the drinks machine. Some Coca Cola would brighten her up a little.
When I returned there was an argument of some sorts going on on-stage. I went up to join the small group to find out what was wrong.
"So it's either blackouts or mikes? We need the mikes! The music will be too loud for us to sing over if we don't have them." Bella was becoming frantic and was yelling this at the new lighting guy called James.
"Isabella, calm down." Cara's voice rang on stage, clear, annoyed and very much in charge. "James is right, we will have to do it without mikes. If we don't have blackouts, everything looks messy."
"Alright. And then tomorrow we all need to come in at 1 to work out if we can fix the system." Bennie said.
"All cast will be expected at 3 so that we can do a run through and check all the equiptment for every scene." Cara pointed out. "Right everyone, we have two hours till we open. Let's try and get everything sorted before then." Everyone filed off. Cara allowed herself a moment to rub her eyes, then turned to see me standing there.
"Everything ok Helena?"
"Yes. I just... you looked tired, so I thought this might help. Don't drink it in your costume unless you want Kate after you." I handed over the bottle. She smiled.
"Thank you. The neighbours alarm kept going off last night. I gave up trying to sleep properly at 5."
"That sucks. Ok well, I'd better go and finish off the final touches to the costumes. Some of the dancers seem to have ripped their outfits."
"What more can go wrong?" Cara grimaced and then walked slowly off stage. I watched her go, feeling as though I should have said more, or done something else. I always analysed everything that had happened in conversation with Cara.
I returned to my sewing and had just finished the last one when there was a loud bang and I turned to see a chorus member on the floor. She started crying.
"Are you ok?" I rushed over.
"My ankle. I think I broke it."
"Here let me see." Cara had rushed across and was now leaning down looking at the girl's ankle. Our arms brushed as she felt the ankle, and I felt a little tingle in my chest. "It's not broken, just sprained. You'll be off the show for a few nights."
The girl continued to cry as one of the stage hands helped her off and took her from the theatre so that he could get her to a doctors. Cara stared after them, stress showing in the furrows that had appeared in her forehead.
"She had a line. We need another chorus member to take it, and we only have an hour and a half. We still need to get in to costume."
"I'll go and find Maria. She'll do it." I said. "I'll send her up to you and you can tell her the line."
"Thank you Helena." I hurried to the chorus' changing area.
"Maria? Maria?" I saw Maria Wright peering round a dancers bum at me. "Maria, one of the girls has had a fall and twisted her ankle. You need to go and see Cara; she's going to give you her line." Maria thanked me and hurried away.
I then went to put on my makeup and costume. I could feel the tension building in my stomach as I carefully framed my eyes with eyeliner. Tonight. Opening night. Without mikes. I was going to have to project. That terrified me. I'd never been very good at that.
I went and stood at the side of the stage, as I was one of the first characters on. Abanazar enters, stage right, to make a leering speech and introduce the audience to the baddy. He then rubs his ring and I appear in a flash of pyrotechnics to do his bidding; in this case, tell him where Aladdin lives.
"I can do this, I can do this." I muttered as I stretched my feet.
"You can do this." I glanced behind me and smiled when I saw Craig, our Abanazar in his long black cape with his twisty moustache.
"Thanks Craig. Aren't you supposed to be the other side?"
"Just came to wish you good luck. Remember, speak from the diaphram." He vanished behind stage.
"This is your five minute curtain call." Jenna's voice said over the tannoy, and I went and stood close to the wall so I could see the stage. Craig and I had to perform our first part in front of the curtain, so I had to be ready.
I looked to my left adn saw Cara standing ready. She glanced over and smiled at me, giving me a thumbs up and mouthing good luck. I repeated the gesture and suddenly felt much better.
Here we go.