The show was going splendidly. Except for a few minor bumps along the way, gone unnoticed by the crowd, I couldn't have imagined a performance any better. I was savoring every moment of it.
At first I had felt I little awkward pairing with Cara - I had never partnered with a girl and I thought the situation would make me feel strange. My fears had been averted at the very first practice. Cara was so good an actress I never should have doubted her ability to transform smoothly into the lead male role - so much so she was every bit Alladin should be and more, and I easily related to her in our respective parts.
The market scene was among my favorites. I contrasted against the ragged market scene around me in a costume of glitter and jewels, the silken fabric glinting in the stage lights. I was the fairytale that Alladin had fallen in love with. It was all beautifully romantic - as if I was my dark-haired mother, a sight to be seen when my father chanced on her.
It was here in the market that Alladin and So Shi, Cara and I, met. Flanked by my ever-present handmaids, the commoners parted at my approach. There was a dance, a part where I could relish the spotlight and the music, after which Alladin stepped on stage and exchanged some humorous remarks with the audience and I. One of the chorus accidently let out a laugh, but it was unheard by the crowd as they were laughing along too. But Cara was as convincing as ever and I felt totally in the zone as we acted seamlessly together.
We ended walking off stage holding hands, the lights fading out in preparation in for the following scene.
"That was amazing, Cara," I murmured through the half darkness of backstage as our fingers unlinked.
"You were amazing," She gasped through the excitement of the stage that I still felt too. She offered me a friendly hug, before jogging off to get to her next spot. "Keep up the good work!"
"You too!" I called after her in a hushed tone.
Now standing alone, I caught sight of Helena standing off to the side, watching me. She had an indiscernable expression on her face, blurred in the obscurity, which she quickly turned away. I shrugged at my costume and followed Cara's lead, going to my next spot to await my next cue.
Act Two marked the halfway point of the pantomine - the halfway point of a success. But we still had half a show to go, and there was no celebrating just yet. We had the crowd now, and now we had to finish them off.
After intermission's make-up touch-ups, costume changes, set adjustment, we adjourned for a brief cast meeting before getting into place. It really was like starting all over again. Cara gave me a thumbs up from across the stage - but I realized she wasn't looking at me, instead looking to the next wing where Helena stood. I pouted thoughtfully. There was certainly something going on between them.