It was the week of the performance and we had a full dress rehearsal. Everyone was in costume, all plastered with makeup, tights on (it was Robin Hood after all). We had spent many weeks practicing diligently and were a bit anxious for the first complete run through with everything. I felt nervous not only because I was wearing tights and makeup, but because there was no stopping. The lights were on, the stage was set, now I just had to remember all of my lines.
The run through went pretty well. I was not very nervous as I had acted a little bit before and we had rehearsed this play backwards and forwards. I knew my lines and I knew my actions. After the first act, we took a short break. The director complimented each of us on a great first half and encouraged us to do great on the second. I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was the lead role in the play and doing a fine job. I felt confident with my acting skills. When someone would forget a line, I would often be able to ad lib and help them along to their next line. I knew what needed to go where, who needed to say what, and in general what was going on. Nothing could throw me off, I was in the groove. One act down, one to go.
The second half continued on very smoothly, and without any major hiccups. Throughout the second half, I was pleased with my performance, and inside secretly looking a little forward to the close of the play. Just a little part inside me was a little bit excited for the closing kiss. I didn’t like Maid Marian. But as a ninth grade kid who looked like this:and who had minimal interaction with girls, it was a little bit of a thrill for me to kiss her, as awkward as it was for me to do, and even more awkward for anyone to watch. But throughout the second act, I eagerly anticipated this moment. “The King has issued a decree!” I said. As I delivered my line, Little John (who, please remember is being played by a girl) handed me the miniature scroll. This was a reminder that the play was coming to a close. I had only a few more lines to deliver, a little more dialogue with the rest of the cast, a girl to kiss and then our dress rehearsal would be complete, having gone incredibly smoothly.
As I unrolled the scroll, I noticed that the normally blank scroll seemed to have writing on it. “As for Little John…” I began, my eyes scanning the scroll, trying to make out the writing. “Brandon, I like you. Can’t you tell?” it read, in addition to a heart and a backslash with Megan’s signature. I was caught completely off guard. My concentration was lost. Suddenly I didn’t know who I was, what I was doing, or more importantly, what my next line was. As I held the scroll out at arm’s length, the entire cast of primarily girls behind me, I began to hear quiet giggles behind me. I attempted to continue to deliver my lines. “As for Friar Tuck…” I was stuck. I had no idea what my lines were. So many thoughts were racing through my head. It all made sense. The bass lessons, her letting me borrow a quarter for a drink, her asking me constantly about the tape…
THE TAPE! What was on that tape?!As I continued fumbling over my lines, blushing tremendously, I continued to act like I was reading from the scroll, trying not to lose it, but as I looked again at the scroll, I noticed some more writing. “P.S. That’s what’s on the tape.”
I somehow made it through the rest of the dress rehearsal. The kiss lost its excitement, I lost my concentration, and I couldn’t go anywhere near Megan. As soon as I got out of my makeup and costume, I speed walked straight to my Mom’s van, avoiding contact with anyone in the cast, but hearing their quiet whispers as I walked by.
As soon as I got home, I put the tape in my stereo. The tape began with several songs that were typical of a Junior High Church-going girl. These selections included artists such as Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline and Third Day. After several of these songs there was a period of silence followed by a click and the sound of someone breathing. This sound continued for a few moments until it was replaced by Megan’s voice. “Um hi Brandon…” she nervously began, her voice shaking. “I like you…a lot.” She continued. “I’ve been fairly subtle about it so far. Always saying hi to you, always conveniently having a quarter for you to borrow for a drink.” Listening to the monologue it was clear that she was reading from a piece of paper. “But I just had to tell you that I like you a lot. So, there you go. Let me know what you think.” There was another click followed by a few moments of silence, and then the music continued.
Needless to say, things were unbelievably awkward between Megan and myself. I talked to her and explained that I liked her only as a friend and that though she was nice, I didn’t like her like that. And overall the play went very smoothly, though we did have to switch back to the original full size scroll.
I learned a lot through The Somewhat True Tale of Robinhood. I became a better actor. I wore tights. I wore make up. And I learned that girls aren’t so bad after all.