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“La La La La La” I frantically went through my vocal warmups. It was 15 minutes before the show, and everyone was nervously waiting backstage. I could feel the sweat slowly drip down my face as I patiently waited for the show to start.
“I’m so scared, what about you?” I asked Cindy.
It was the Thursday night Wizard of Oz play, and I was playing the role of Dorothy. On the other hand, Cindy, my best friend was playing the role of Glinda. I could feel her strange glaring look cast upon me as she responded.
“What’s there to be afraid of. I’m sure you’re going to do great,” she said with a slight tone of dullness in her voice.
Immediately she walked away suggesting that she’d rather be anywhere else but making conversation with me. I shrugged off the weird feeling as an important announcement was shouted out.
“Five minutes till show time everyone! Get in your places people.”
My castmates and I made our way behind the curtains. we wished each other good luck one last time before becoming silent.
“Good luck, you’ll really need it,” Cindy muttered.
My heart raced as confusion scattered my brain. Cindy appeared to be different than her usual self. It was as if a sudden coldness had taken over her. I wondered why she was so unhappy but decided to ignore the silly feeling. The curtains opened, the faint music played, and it was time for me to become Dorothy.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Way Up High…,” the audience cheered as I sang the last verse of the classic tune. The thrill of the stage was incredible! The curtains closed and I let out a huge sigh of relief.
“One scene down fourteen more to go!” we all unenthusiastically cried.
My gaze turned to Cindy as she flawlessly spun around in her beautiful, pink dress. Everyone watched in amazement. It was time for our scene and although I was still shaking in fear, Cindy looked as fearless as a warrior.
“Cindy, you look amazing,” I said in awe.
“Thanks,” she said giving no thought whatsoever to what I had just said.
She went into position as I cluelessly struggled to react. The scene started, the plot thickening.
“Oh no! She–she’s dead, you’ve killed her!” the Wicked Witch of the West voiced.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to, really I didn’t,” I glanced at the audience, their faces filled with interest.
“You’ve killed her, the Wicked Witch of the East is dead!” Cindy cried in dismay, a hint of anger in her voice.
“You’ve killed her!” she repeated.
The audience’s face suddenly filled with horror. Here Cindy was with her sweet calm yet irately convincing voice, while I was being made out to be the villain.
“It was an accident, I didn’t mean it,” I improvised giving her a look of frustration and confusion.
Cindy what are you doing?, thoughts raced my brain faster than the speed of light. She gleamed wickedly at me and I was terrified. The scene ended and I turned to confront her.
“What was that?! Those lines were not in the script,”
“Oops, my bad. It was an accident,” she spoke once again convincing everyone as well as me.
“Alright..,” I said, suspicion still clouded over me. I shrugged it off and focused on my following scenes. I nailed them with perfection.
“Poppy field scene next people!”
I quickly remembered that Cindy was also in this scene. She said it was an accident, I told myself, you have nothing to worry about. I got into my position, laying on the ground asleep. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Cindy elegantly strut out in her dress. She sprinkled the snowflakes over all of us. The Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow looked wonderful as the snowflakes were gently sprinkled upon them.
“Wake up now, wake up now,” Glinda said mesmerizing the audience.
She took the spotlight and made it her own, while I was still under her mountainous dress struggling to be seen. I awkwardly rolled around, trying to break free.
“Uh um,” I couldn’t seem to remember my lines.
“Goodbye now,” Glinda said with perfection. Once again, she elegantly left the stage, with no realization of what had just happened.
I finally understood what she was trying to do. She was trying to make me fail. Why would she do that? I questioned. I managed to end the scene even after being thrown off. With frustration and humiliation still masking my face, I stormed over to where she was.
“Cindy! What are you doing!” I yelled.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not stupid, I can tell that you’re trying to sabotage my scenes!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, a look of innocence on her face.
“You know what,” I said laughing, by this point all my frustration and anger exploded in her face, “you’re just jealous I got the role of Dorothy and you didn’t!”
Silence filled the room. I looked down at my dress and realized my mic was still on. Everything I had just said had been heard by every cast, crew, and audience member. Now I really looked like the villain. I felt defeated. Everyone looked at me as if I were crazy. Whispers were traded and looks were given.
“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Cindy said looking hurt.
She walked away as people comforted her. She made me look as if I had committed a crime and she was the victim.
Intermission was over and it was time to resume the play. Cindy’s actions only made me stronger. I acted the best I could have ever, nailing my lines and impressing the audience. Cindy didn’t bother to ruin anything after that. She must’ve felt accomplished, but little did she know I had a plan. The show ended brilliantly. The audience cheered with joy as we made our way off the stage. I cornered Cindy with a mic still turned on covered in my hand.
“I’m really sorry about what I said earlier, I didn’t mean it.”
“Oh, you’re so foolish, I did mean to sabotage your scenes,” she said with a look of pride.
I dramatically gasped.
“I should’ve got the role of Dorothy and you should’ve been Glinda. I’m a way better actor than you will ever be!”
I looked around to see the reactions on everyone’s faces, and I knew my plan had worked. I looked her straight in the eye as I took the mic out. I turned it off and eyed her with a half-smirk and smug self-assurance.
“So, you felt the need to sabotage this play! You have got some nerve Cindy, preferring a role over our friendship.”
A small audience had formed on the edges of the stage and they were watching us intently. Cindy’s face turned red from embarrassment and rage.
“You think that you’re clever with your trick, but I am still a better actress than you. I don’t care what any of them think,” she gestured to the small crowd deeply watching this verbal showdown.
My eyes widened at her brazen performance and the fact that she was not hiding her behavior from the people with whom she would have to work again in the next show. I was about to say something, when a well-dressed woman walked onto the stage and stopped just between us.
“I came here tonight on behalf of the event coordinators as a talent scout. They were very pleased with the show and wanted to recommend you for the city playhouse.”
I could feel my eyes widen in surprise as I heard Cindy gasp in horror. This was not how she had planned this night to go. I almost felt sorry for her, until I heard the woman speak as she turned to me.
“Well young lady, let us go speak about the position that is available at the playhouse if you have the time?”
Cindy was seething and clenching her beautiful dress that looked like it had lost some of its shimmer. I nodded at the woman and turned to follow her off the stage, but not before glancing back at Cindy with a small salute.
Cindy’s true colors were out and in the open. I had never experienced anything as disheartening as what had happened today. It was as if reality had called and punched me in the face. In my mind I decided to excuse what had happened. It scared me to think that someone who had always been there for me, who I thought had my back, could deliberately ruin our friendship, and for what? She favored a role over me. She was ready to throw away our friendship, just for the spotlight. She wasn’t afraid of the consequences. She wasn’t afraid of anything. I used to sometimes wish I could be as bold as Cindy, but I realized that there is more to a person than courage. What Cindy lacked was admiration for others, and she’d never be able to realize it. But I knew I had to put those thoughts to rest, be the bigger person. I knew that I had earned the lead role of Dorothy fair and square, and that if I was in Cindy’s place things would’ve been different. This wake up call changed me. I was determined to work harder than I ever had and set my priorities straight. Nothing would stop me from doing what I loved most. And what I loved most was to act.