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Stage Fright on a Summer Night

Stage Fright on a Summer Night

Titel: Stage Fright on a Summer Night
Autoren: Mary Pope Osborne
Each seemed to be in his ownworld. One was pulling on a cape. Another was tying a rope around his waist. A third was whispering words to himself.
    â€œI’ll find your costumes,” said Will.
    As Will dug through a large basket of clothes, Jack and Annie looked around the costume room. It was crammed with fancy gowns, purple and blue capes, gold and silver wigs, stacks of hats, and masks.
    â€œCool,” whispered Annie. She touched a donkey mask and a lion mask. “These would make good disguises, huh?”
    Jack was amazed she was acting so calm. Didn’t she know they were about to stand in front of three thousand people? The thought made him break into a sweat. His stomach felt fluttery.
    â€œHere!” said Will. He handed them greentunics, hats, and slippers. “Put these on! No time to dally! Your parts come up soon!”

    Jack and Annie slipped behind a curtain and changed into their costumes. As they put on their hats, Annie hid her pigtails.
    When they came out, Will handed them each a small scroll. “Here are your rolls,” he said. “They have only
lines on them, no one else’s.”
    Jack unrolled his scroll. He had two long speeches to read.
    â€œWait a second,” he said. “I thought I just had a few lines. I didn’t know I had a ton.”
    â€œDon’t worry,” said Will. “Just remember—speak very clearly and with feeling. And above all, act natural.”
    Act natural?
thought Jack.
How do youact natural when you’re about to have a heart attack?
    Just then a short, chubby man burst into the costume room. He had curly hair and bright red cheeks. He was dressed all in green, too.
    â€œFor goodness’ sakes, Will!” he said in a frantic whisper. “What will we do?”
    â€œDon’t worry! Look who I’ve found! They both can read!” said Will. He pushed Jack and Annie forward. “Jack and Andy, meet Puck, ‘merry wanderer of the night.’ He’ll take you to the stage. Good luck!”
    Annie smiled. Jack groaned.
    â€œCome, boys!” said Puck. “Follow me!”
    Puck led Jack and Annie out of the costume room into the hallway. Then he guided them to a dark area at the back of the stage.
    Actors stood silently nearby, waiting to go on. One wore a beautiful white gown. Others wore tattered brown rags.
    Through an arch, Jack saw the roof of the stage. It was blue with stars and a moon. A huge crowd stood directly in front of the stage. More people watched from the galleries above.
    Every single person in England is out there!
Jack thought with horror.
How did I let Annie talk me into this?
    â€œI’ll take
onstage first,” Puck whispered to Jack. “When I say, ‘How now, spirit! Whither wander you?’, start reading your lines. Understand?”
    Jack barely nodded. His mouth felt dry. He tried to swallow, but he couldn’t.
    Puck turned to Annie.
    â€œYou go onstage with the fairy queen,” hewhispered. He pointed to the actor dressed in the beautiful white gown. “When she tells you to sing her to sleep, you start your song.”
    â€œWhat’s the tune?” asked Annie.
    â€œJust make it up,” said Puck. “Now, if they yell rude things, do not stop. Just—”
yells rude things?” Jack broke in.
    â€œThe groundlings get a bit wild,” said Puck.
    â€œGroundlings?” said Jack.
    â€œThe rowdy folk who don’t have seats,” said Puck. “They’re standing close to the stage. If they throw rotten fruit, don’t stop, either. Just keep going.”
    That does it
, thought Jack. He couldn’t go onstage—not with groundlings throwing things, not with three thousand people watching, not with a million lines to read—and not when he was about to throw up!
    While Puck and Annie watched the show, Jack slipped away. He looked for the exit. Just as he found the stairs, he bumped into Will.
    â€œWhere are you going?” Will whispered.
    â€œI can’t stay,” said Jack. “I’m sick!”
    Will sucked in his breath. But then he put his hands on Jack’s shoulders and spoke calmly.
    â€œClose your eyes for a moment, Jack,” he said.
    Jack closed his eyes. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears.
    â€œThere is nothing to fear,” Will whispered. “Imagine you are a fairy. You’re in the forest, on a summer night. See the

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