The Actors

The Actors
As she took his hand in hers she noticed a clammy sweat in his palm and realised at once how nervous the boy was. The audition was incredibly important and the significance had not been lost on the child. Although only six years old, his perceptiveness intrigued Gillian. The boy frequently understood the immense role he had to play, especially in keeping his parents satisfied, and he rarely mistook work time for play time. As they ascended the stairs to the Actor’s Agency, the boy began to detach himself from his surroundings, pulling together all his inner control and consolidating the uncanny adult maturity which appealed so much to directors and lent him so well to performance. As the stairs veered right, the boy had completed his composure and relieving himself of Gillian’s hand, opened the office door and entered, alone, independent, confidant.

Surrounded by hopefuls touching up makeup and rehearsing lines in whispers, the boy walked directly to the front desk, which was much higher than he, and announced his name and appointment. The receptionist, peering over her desk, eyed the child and looking to me, raised an eyebrow, seeming to require an explanation. The boy excused himself to the receptionist and patiently repeated his appointment details. She pulled her glasses from the chain dangling around her neck and pushed them through her hair to rest on the bridge of her nose. We took a seat in the waiting room once the book had confirmed the details.

The boy was very calm now. His environs could not have contrasted more greatly. Gillian thought of her days as an actress, before she had opened the agency. Waiting for an audition, for your name to be called by a stranger, possibly with an accent, and if so American, from behind a door to where you would hastily proceed despite all your prior assertions to appear calm and collected. Waiting to be called was agonizingly painful. One’s head would be full of silly little things such as to walk nonchalantly and make a wonderful and crucial first impression. Not to grapple with bags and jackets and the like, twisting around your ankles, determined to trip you to your knees in terrifying embarrassment. To not jump up so fast when your name is called that all your audition papers and regimes and photos scattered about the place. Gillian remembered all these things but despite eight years of distance from such situations, she still felt her heart flutter as she saw hints of such worries on the faces of the twenty or so hopefuls.

The Actors

Joanna Beilby

East Bentleigh, Australia

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Short Story

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