Sarah, The Performer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
An insight into that one person everyone had to endure when at school - the exhibitionist.

Submitted: May 04, 2012

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Submitted: May 04, 2012

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The Performer

 

It was from a young age that Sarah knew she was destined for greatness. Her father wished for her to be an accountant, her mother suggested that she follow in her footsteps in the catering business, whilst her teachers generally thought she’d make an excellent lawyer - due to her relentless capacity for stubbornness in arguments. But no, none of these options appealed to her always idealistic mind. Sarah’s greatest desire was to grace the dazzling lights of the stage with her vigilant performing skills, to be a great actress who would be admired by many and loved by all. By the time she was seventeen, so dedicated was she to achieving this dream that she inadvertently found herself living out every moment in her day to day life as if in her own golden spotlight that followed her wherever she went. And in a way she had partly achieved it, for everyone in her small, tight knit village knew who she was and what she wanted, as was the same at the school she attended. Sarah managed to grace every simple corridor walk, and every dull, lecture filled class with her consistently melodramatic persona. This could be done in various ways, whether it be a high pitched squeal and flinging her head backwards at an obscure joke, or challenging her long suffering literature teacher, Mr. Fitzgerald as to why Margaret Mitchell was making all their lives difficult by boring them with the tedious nature of the American Civil War, a topic that had long since joined the list of things that she felt were not worthy of her time.

 

It was during one of these particular lessons that Sarah’s perception as to how her life would go would have its roots firmly tore from the wooden planks of the stage floor forever.

It was a typical Wednesday morning; the majority of the class were tired and full of teenage irritableness, with the remainder lazily engrossed in their mobile phones, shrewdly invisible from the teacher’s roaming eye by strategically placed blazers on their laps. Sarah made her usual “fashionably late” entrance; her long dirty blonde hair was chaotically wrapped up in a messy yet stylish bun and her perfectly proportioned and undeniably attractive face beamed a smile of pearly white teeth at their teacher, Mr. Fitzgerald.

“Oh, hello Sarah, nice of you to join us this fine morning.”

“Well you know me sir, I wouldn’t dream of missing a moment of your fabulous lessons” she retorted back quickly, playing her part aptly in the pair’s repertoire, something which the rest of the class had grew custom to as a mere notch in their everyday routine, much like brushing their teeth or tying their shoelaces.

“Well if you’ll kindly take your seat Sarah then we may continue with our lesson.”

Sarah let out her usual girlish giggle, that required her to crane her neck and adjust her vocal abilities to ‘stun’, and with that moved towards her seat, situated in the centre of the middle table, ensuring that her opinion could be heard by everyone, all the time.

Flopping down into her seat she took out her copy of “Gone With The Wind”, a book she felt was so tediously long it made her brain ache at the best of times.  

“Now,” continued Mr. Fitzgerald, “as I was saying before, Mitchell has clearly-”

“Sir, what page is this?” interrupted Sarah, revelling in the glory of Mr. Fitzgerald’s insincere smile which she was often met with when she caused his teachings to come to a halt.

“Top of page 427, Sarah. Anyway, as I was saying before, Mitchell has clearly interjected the metaphor of the stage being Gerald O’Hara’s life and Ellen representing the audience for which he played for, in order to concisely show how such a tragic loss has warped his mind. Make sure and highlight that – ”

“Well I think it’s just lovely sir.”

“Do you now Sarah?”

“Yes, it’s cute. The old man must have really loved her. It’s sort of sad at the same time, but still cute like.”

“Perhaps, the reason you feel so strongly about the quote Sarah, is due to how it describes his life as being set entirely on stage.”

Sarah’s back now shot upright, responding to the mediocre attention she was now receiving from her class mates, with her body feeding off it, as though it was her sole source of life.

“Well yes…I suppose you could say that Sir”, she remarked grinning.

“So my guess was right then, you do want to be an actress?”

This question was like a gift from God for Sarah, not only would she have everyone listening to what she was saying, but she would actually be talking about the one thing she truly cared about – being an actress. Fluttering her eyelids and placing her widespread right palm on her chest she began her response, as though she was about to deliver the greatest monologue ever written by man.

“Oh yes, Sir, it’s what I want most in the whole world” she gushed, “I can’t think of a single better job there is to do. It would just be so exciting, all the money, and the clothes, and the paparazzi taking photos and then your picture being everywhere.”

“It’s nice that you have such a passion for it. I admire that, I really do. But tell me this Sarah, what types of roles have you played in the past?”

And with this question Sarah now felt like the devil himself had cut short her fabulous one woman show. After a few moments silence, her classmates now sat upright to attention, swivelling their bodies completely around in order to watch her properly. For the first time in her life Sarah had gained her audience’s complete, undivided attention, as opposed to their half hearted, eye rolling observations from before, and ironically enough, such attention was not for what she did and said, but rather what she didn’t do and didn’t say.

“Well Sir,” she said in an uncharacteristically quiet voice, “I haven’t actually taken on any acting roles yet.”

“Oh, I see. So how do you know you want to be an actress?”

“I just do. I’ve seen plenty of films. And my Mum once took me to a showing of Grease. I just know that’s what I want.”

“Hm, then may I make a suggestion? Perhaps you should gain some experience first of all then. The school does promote work experience you know.”

“Yes, I know that Sir”, Sarah was now squirming under the ever watchful eyes of her scornful fellow pupils, “it’s just that living around here there’s never anything to do with acting going on. How can I get experience whenever there’s nothing for me to do?”

“Not my problem Sarah. However, it IS my problem to ensure that this class of students understand the complexities of Gerald O’Hara’s mind following the untimely death of his wife, and so if you wouldn’t mind, maybe you’d like to keep quiet and follow the book for the rest of the lesson.”

Sarah choked back her natural urge to argue back, knowing that anything she would have to say would be so ridiculously invalid that she would just appear to be a fool. As Mr. Fitzgerald turned back to his well worn copy of the novel, he stopped in his actions once more.

“And may I also say Sarah, just as a kind piece of advice, a true actress plays several different characters, not just an idea of what she should be herself. Keep that in mind.”

Defeated, Sarah bowed her head back into the book, and spent the rest of the lesson contemplating her teacher’s words rather than Margaret Mitchell’s.

 

Seven years later, things had simultaneously managed to both change drastically yet remain the same. Everyone still knew who Sarah was in her small, tight knit village and at the school which she had previously attended. She still performed for an audience, only now, instead of bored classmates she was the spectacle for members of a jury and a judge, as she became one of the country’s most successful young solicitors. On the day she won her biggest case to date, the multi-million figure divorce battle between one of the world’s most prolific and well known couples, Sarah happily stood amongst her fellow lawyers from the team, which had been assembled by the famous actress divorcee, on the sidelines. She looked on at the actress talking to the legions of cameras, microphones and screaming journalists and felt no pane of jealousy, no once compulsory urge to walk beside her, upstage her and then conquer the territory of attention.

Sarah was now at peace with her mind, and was now happier than she had ever been before. Full of poignancy she remembered how Mr. Fitzgerald was right in his reports after all, and then laughing to herself, remarked inwardly how since the day he finally upstaged her in class, she hadn’t allowed herself to not argue back to anyone since.


© Copyright 2018 Emma Nugent. All rights reserved.

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