Chapter 189 Stars and Flowers
The play didn’t have a theater curtain, nor an introduction, their preparation area was separated from the stage by a board, their stage was simple and crude, and for most of the cast it would be the first formal performance of their lives.
“This story takes place in the capital of a kingdom. Within the outer city, there lived a beautiful and kind-hearted girl…”
Accompanied by the sound of the narration, Irene slowly walked onto the stage. Her whole attire was a filthy gray gown, the hair on top of her head was a hideous mess, and her face was covered with dust.
Swinging the broom in her hand, she was carefully cleaning the ground, from time to time even bending down to wipe the difficult to remove dirt using the end of her gown.
After several days of rehearsal, Irene had thoroughly memorized the whole story’s process in her heart. The story was quite simple: a civilian girl had lost her mother, and was now constantly being bullied at her home, but because of the girl’s kindness she was then rescued by a witch, who used her magic power to give the girl the opportunity to participate in the prince’s party, where the prince and she fell in love the first moment they saw each other.
But since the witch’s magic was only effective for a limited time, she was forced to leave the ball in a hurry, and in her panic she left behind a crystal shoe. In order to find the beautiful girl, the prince had the whole city be searched. Ultimately, he found her in the outer city, and from then on the two of them lived happily ever after.
The story was simple and easy to understand, yet its plot completely broke away from the former description of a princess and a prince’s love, by allowing a common girl, who due to her kind nature gained the assistance of a witch, be able to to win the prince’s favor. As the Cinderella of this performance, the part where the character gathered up her courage to resist the oppression she had to face her whole life, would be the actress greatest highlight of the performance.
So Irene had never imagined that May would give the leading position to her.
Irene was already euphoric enough that the star of the Western Territory was willing to share the stage with her. Moreover, as the pillar of the stronghold’s theater, May had enough pride and confidence to play the leading role in all kinds of theater stages, yet in “Cinderella” she took the initiative to play the supportive character of the half-sister.
This was somewhat hard to believe for Irene, until the other side repeatedly emphasized that this was a performance of new kind of character, and that Irene had the talent needed to play Cinderella.
In the next rehearsal, she gathered all of her strength, not only to repeatedly practice every scene, but also when lying in her bed, even after the candles had gone out, she would still be going through the acting skills taught to her by May.So as not to fail to live up to the other side’s good intentions.
Fortunately, Irene was not without experience, so being on stage while having the eyes of countless people on her, she relaxed her body, and let the repeatedly practiced actions reappear one by one. Until now, she felt that she was in good shape and hadn’t made any errors. She even encouraged Rosia, playing the witch, with her eyes when the other had forgotten her lines.
“I split the wheat porridge in half, but do not eat too quickly; it is still very hot.”
“Thank you for your kindness, young woman, I will surely repay you.”
When Rosia bent her back and crookedly walked backstage, one after another the masses began to applaud – making Irene feel relieved. After all, she knew that, when someone forgot their words during a formal performance at the stronghold’s theater it would count as an utterly intolerable error. The nobility would immediately begin to boo and ridicule the actor, rather than trying to encourage the artist with applause.
At this point, it was May’s debut.
This part of the story was about the conflict of the mean older sister and Cinderella. Under the bullying and humiliation of the older sister, Cinderella could only hide in the basement and begin to tearing up as she held the portrait of her birth mother in her arms.
But now, as May stood before her, Irene suddenly felt that the atmosphere had completely changed.
She was no longer the quiet and taciturn theater star she had been during the rehearsals. Instead, she had turned into the ruler of the stage. With her lofty manners, her just perfectly executed body movements and unhidden contempt in her eyes, she placed Irene under a strong feeling of oppression.
“Oh, take a look at that, who is this ? Under what kind of delusion are you to think you don’t have to work in broad daylight?
“You poor wretch shall return without delay and wash my dress!”
“And you’d better be not clumsy, this is a formal banquet dress. You cannot afford to damage it by even a little.”
After her words, May ferociously pushed her back, and according to the plot Irene was supposed to pretend to fall, but under the cold look in May’s eyes she couldn’t stop herself from taking a few steps back, accidently tripping over her own feet and falling to the ground without any buffer- her elbow hit the stage floor and sent a burst of pain through her body.
“Truly just a useless waste…” May’s eyes were no longer set on her. Instead, she went to the center of the stage, facing the silent crowd on the square and began her monologue.
“That’s worthy of Miss May,” Margaret whispered amazed. “Just with a few simple words from her she was able to attract the attention of everyone, her character has already become alive.”
“Oh, indeed impressive,” Roland nodded, but this person was also way too ferocious and overdid it. The loathe and disdain she showed toward Irene, seems as if it was her real feelings. Even sitting back here, I could feel her ruthlessness. How infectious her emotional appeal was could be seen in the expression of the entire audience… However, she was not the protagonist ah. Irene’s relatively good performance had been suddenly completely overshadowed, if this goes on, I’m afraid the leading role will be overtaken by a supporting character.
Irene was stunned.
She knew she had to stand up quickly. May’s monologue, which was primarily about her longing for the prince, as well as the court ball, wouldn’t last long. So before the end of the scene, she had to leave the stage. But her familiar feeling from the previous rehearsals had already left her, turning the stage into a complete and utter stranger to her.
Are you only on this level?
Only when May finished her act and while passing by weaved her skirt so that its edge slapped against Irene’s face, was she able to recover. Even though the other didn’t say a word, but by looking into the cold eyes of the star from the West, Irene could understand her meaning. May had wanted to say that Irene should pull herself together. Since their two character’s personalities were like fire and water, once May reached out her hand, the play would be ruined! She clenched her lips, spreading an iron taste through her mouth. When she saw May disappeared behind the board, she also wanted to get up and leave. However, Ghent and Same carrying props had already stepped on the stage. When Sam placed a bucket in front of her, he took the chance to say in a small voice, “The next scene is still yours, just stay here while we work. Come on, you can do it!”
Irene knew that this wasn’t according to the script, to be truth… she had already missed the opportunity to leave.
Thus the audience saw an unusual change of scenery. Cinderella sat motionless on the stage, while her surrounding scene has been modified from the living room into the basement, changing the beautiful round table and wooden chairs into barrels and rattan baskets. While people who handled the props went back and forth, the girl maintained her position, as if she was frozen in time.
In the next act, Cinderella was trapped in the basement, and the witch came back to rescue her. Not only giving her beautiful clothes, but also summoning a carriage, which sent her directly to the castle.
“Remember, the spell will only last until midnight, so you must leave the palace before the last bell rings, or the clothes and the carriage will disappear.”
“A… yes. I’ve got it. Thank you.”
At this moment Irene was still unable to shake off her daze, hiding in the background she secretly watched May’s play. She only thought that the other actor seemed to be completely free, in front of more than a thousand viewers she still had a blossoming smile, what a powerful woman she was. Standing on the stage and having to face the bright star, only then did she thoroughly realized how amazing her counterparts acting was.
Is this the distance between stars and flowers?
When Rosia finished her dry lines, it was time for the first drama: the court ball. In order to achieve the effect of a grand ball, the scene needed the whole cast to go on stage – in addition to her, and May, Ghent, Sam, Rosia, and Tina were dressed as other noble dancers that were wearing masks. And dressed as the prince, was her lover, Ferlin.