Status: Hiatus

The Balcony Scene

Opening Number

As the lights come on, row by row, over the ocean of seats in the auditorium, Vic feels a swelling in his chest. Even though the stage lights are still dark, he can make it out even from here at the top of the stairs; deep red curtains, frayed at the bottom and one long rip streaking down the left one; hardwood floor, with worn duct tape placed strategically around the stage positions; the traveler curtains hanging open at the sides, waiting to be drawn.

This is where Vic has spent the majority of his last three years. Almost every day of the year, starting with his first audition as a freshman, he has put in at least some time in the theater doing something. He wasn’t always onstage—he learned after that first show that working lights and sound and helping out with the set and props backstage is almost as fun as being a star. He just likes to be involved with the shows. Even though it’s a crappy theater in a crappy school in a crappy hick town, and they never sell more than a couple hundred tickets for the whole weekend, there’s something almost . . . magical about the theater. Vic has always thought so.

And now senior year has arrived at last. And finally Director Jenkins has given Vic the go-ahead to write, produce, and direct his own musical.

“You’ve earned it. I’ve never seen anyone work so hard for our program,” Jenkins said. It’s true—every year the school does three shows, a grand fall musical, a winter drama, and a smaller musical in the spring. And every show, without fail, is contributed to in some way by Vic. He mastered the lighting and sound system as well as performing in all three shows as a freshman, got one lead and two good roles as a sophomore, and got three leads and directed for the first time as a junior. He’s a natural performer and leader, as well as an all-around good guy. When “fresh meat” come stumbling into the theater for their first auditions in the fall, it’s Vic that shows them where to go and gives them advice.

Writing his own show has been Vic’s dream for years, ever since he discovered his love for the theater as a freshman, when, despite being one of the best singers in the school, he was forced to play the part of a villager/dancing napkin in Beauty and the Beast. He was quite surprised when Jenkins said he would be allowed to direct it, too, but he isn’t complaining. He worked on his show all summer, sitting in the basement by the piano or on the couch, pounding out melodies and lyrics and dialogue and finally it was complete. The night he finished it, he had his little brother Mike read through the whole thing—letting Vic play and sing the songs when the time came—and when his brother approved, the script was deemed worthy for the school’s theater.

Director Jenkins still has to approve it, of course, but Vic has no doubt in his mind that this will be the best show the school has ever seen, even including Little Shop of Horrors last year. As he breathes deeply the smell of dust and paint and mothballs and even some stale sweat, Vic smiles to himself. This is my domain, he thinks, taking his time stepping down the stairs until he gets to the pit. This is where I shine.


“Very good, thank you, Justin,” Vic calls to the young man in the tank top onstage. While the boy—sophomore, if Vic had to guess—nods and traipses offstage, Vic says to his co-director Jaime “Send in the next one.”

Jaime groans. “I hate exerting energy.” Vic ignores his pouty face and makes a dismissive gesture with his hand. He has no time for Jaime’s shenanigans today, not when there are twenty-one kids still to audition, as well as an entire week’s worth of decision-making over who gets what parts.

This is going to be a hard one, Vic can tell. Very few of the students who had tried out thus far were bad singers, though many of them had a noticeable lack of acting skills. Still, no one was simply atrocious, and, even worse, no one had stood out as outstanding either. Vic has been looking forward to auditions—partly, he has to admit, because was been a victim of too-many nail-biting tryouts and heart-stopping journeys to the cast list to not want to dish out a little bit of the same. But also because he really does care about the kids who are interested in the theatre, and wants them to get roles in which they’ll be comfortable and excel.

The sound of the auditorium door opening, and a second later Jaime is flopping back into his seat next to Vic. “That Justin kid wasn’t so bad,” he muses to Vic. “A little goofy, maybe, but good acting.”

“Yeah,” Vic agrees. “Does he have the voice for Carter, though?” Carter was the lead male role in Vic’s musical, the dashing hero who is a victim of his own multiple-personality disorder, which manifests as a creepy man named Drapes—the other male lead. A little dark for a musical, maybe, but the script has enough of a wry sort of comedy element thrown in to lighten it up substantially. The ever-eccentric Director Jenkins didn’t seem to mind its somber nature when he approved it.

“If people don’t like it, they don’t have to see it,” he shrugged as he handed the script back to Vic. “Personally I think it’s brilliant. It has a certain murder-mystery/psychologically-stimulating element that isn’t seen in a lot of musicals. Go get ‘em, Victor!” And he clapped Vic on the back and went back to sorting through piles of sheet music for the choir.

No one in the school complained when Vic described the plot to them; in fact, most seemed rather interested in the idea. The first real pang of anxiety hit Vic when a good forty kids had taken home fragments of the script and songs from a pile on a table outside the theater to practice for their auditions. These same kids are now pacing back and forth in the hallway outside the auditorium, either nervous as hell for their audition or freaking out at the audition they’ve just given. Somehow trying out in front of another student, even one as friendly as Vic, makes it all the more nerve-wracking.

The next student walks onstage now, a blonde with gauges in his ears. Vic checks the list, scanning down the names until he reaches the first one that isn’t crossed out.

“Craig Owens, right?” He glances up and the kid nods, not looking at all nervous for his audition. “All right, and what part are you reading for?”

“Drapes, of course.” Like it was so fucking obvious. Excuse me for not reading your mind.

While Jaime snorts quietly into his hand, Vic keeps a lighthearted but professional tone and says, “All right, then how about we start from page forty-four, Anna’s line ‘Thank you’?”

Craig shrugs. “Hey, you’re the director.”

God, what a smartass. Vic grits his teeth before clearing his throat and reading the lines he practically already has memorized. “ ‘Thank you, I’ll take care of it.’ ”

Craig jumps in, and Vic immediately notices the change in his voice, his facial expressions, even the way he’s standing. He seems crafty, smarmy, devilish . . . “ ‘How are you, honey? I been missin’ you.’ ” For the first time since auditions began, someone is showing an indication of Drapes’s character, not from the lines, but from the way Craig is saying them—hell, just looking at Craig gives you shivers.

Getting excited, Vic goes on, “ ‘Oh, Carter. Uh, long time no see. I’m good, I suppose.’ ”

“ ‘Been wondering what happened after that night at your L.A. place, huh? How’s the baby, darling? She take after her mother?’ ”

“ ‘Carter, I’m not going to have this conversation with—’ ”

“ ‘Shut up, you whore!’ ” Craig cuts Vic off at the perfect time.

“ ‘But I—’ ”

Craig mimes hitting someone across the face. Caught up in the moment, Vic almost flinches. He tries to calm down as the blonde boy goes on, still in an angry growl that shows just a hint of lunacy. “ ‘You better hope that wearin’ that cross is enough to atone for your sins, baby. Because only God can save you now.’ ”

“I’m gonna stop you right there,” says Vic, in slight awe, trying to keep his voice from quivering. “That was . . . good. Really good, Craig.” He pulls himself together. “Uh, all right, now did you have a song in mind that you’d like do for the vocal part of the audition?”

“Yeah, gimme a second.” Craig flips his hair out of his face, now back to the mischievous kid he really is.

“It’s fine, take your time.”

A few moments pass as Craig mentally prepares himself. Then he looks up, meeting Vic’s eyes, confidence sparkling from every pore of his body. He begins to sing, and it’s one of Drapes’s songs, of course.

The locusts took over my brain.
I'm not living for you,
I'm just living, so chill with your games.
You hope for sun, I want rain.
We just tear down the walls and the home that our jealousy built

You're not as pretty as you maybe think that you are

It's been watching you
Your slips and slurs and play on words
All fall from your mouth
Each mutter, rolling dripping from your tongue
My plague’s begun.

The last note dies away, resounding through the theater and finally fading into the ceiling, and Vic is speechless because the song was perfect. Absolutely perfect. He can’t even remember what he pictured it sounding like when he wrote it, because Craig just did it flawless justice. The kid is staring at Vic, eyebrows raised like he’s daring the director to criticize his voice.

“Uh, okay, thanks, Craig!” Vic is smiling like an idiot and he knows it, but this kid has got him on cloud nine. “Good job, dude. Cast list will be up in a week.”

“All right. Thanks, director.”

Vic has to take a moment to steady himself after that. They’re halfway through auditions, and this is the first time anyone has ever actually become the character that they are trying out for. It was almost eerie; although when Vic wrote the part of Drapes he had pictured a thin, pale, dark-haired man, now all he can think about is the way that Craig pronounced the words, how they had sounded so wicked and fitting coming from him.

Jaime whistled lowly beside him. “That guy was good, dude. Best we’ve seen so far.”

He doesn’t even understand; he can’t, because he didn’t write the freaking thing. He can’t understand what Craig Owens has just brought to life.

Vic tries to keep his cool. “He was okay. Bring in the next one, will you?”

Jaime disappears, leaving Vic to cross of Craig’s name and tap his pen against his pad of paper excitedly. He makes a note next to Craig’s name “Great audition—perfect for Drapes!

Maybe the auditions are going well, after all.
♠ ♠ ♠
Another old fic. I've got a few chapters but I never finished it. If people like it I'll probably write the rest. Please comment and subscribe and whatnot if you liked it! I know I've been off the Kellic radar for a while but I'm jumping back in and I'm excited! Love you! :)