Some Kind of Superstar: Part Three
I walk out of the trailer with the script pages in my hand, clutched like a drowning pet would hold a rope, like a kid would hold a candy bar. Nathalie takes one look at the script – knows what it is instantly – and sighs.
“They gave you the part?” she says impassively, already having accepted it.
“No.” I shake my head. “They just want me to come back same time next week to go through another level. They’ll probably want you to do the same thing,” I lie enormously. I’m not being cruel or prejudiced or anything, but Nathalie has no chance. Really. It’s so obvious, even to her.
“Well, good luck with that. I hope you get it. I really, really do.” Her brown eyes are warm with sincerity and I have no doubt whatsoever that she means it. I can’t say anything back to that. I smile and nod, trying to let her know that it really means something to me. She winks and steps inside the trailer.
Needless to say, she comes out a few minutes later with a distinct lack of script. Plus a lack of confidence, lack of self-assuredness, lack of anything except her trademark nervousness.
“I’m the wrong kind of person,” she says shakily. “Apparently I’m not confident or cheerful enough for the part. It’s true; I feel like I just ate a Brain Wrap or something... thoroughly ill.” I must admit to being a little surprise at her use of words like ‘thoroughly’. I’d assumed that kind of vocabulary was beyond her apparently limited IQ. I guess I was wrong about her again.
“I’m sorry,” I say. But inside, I have to confess to an elated joy. I’ve got no competition now. I turn up with nobody to challenge me, and they take me if I’m good enough. That’s all I need. Nathalie smiles at me, thanking me for my words. How could I have ever thought of her as nothing but a gibbering wreck? So maybe she’s not a good actress, and maybe she has no self-confidence, but she’s friendly and kind and... nice. Nathalie is something very rare in this world; somebody nice who’s not afraid to show it.
“Yeah... I never really thought I’d get it, not for a moment,” she says, half-laughing. “My dad pushed me into it. Said it would really bolster my people skills.”
“Well, maybe it has,” I venture. “Do you think we could keep in contact? You’re a really nice person, Nathalie. I promise that even if I do become the new star of Caulfield Lane I’ll find time to write to you.” I grin at my own joke.
“I know you would... I know you will.” How strange it seems that this girl with no belief in herself already believes in me completely. We exchange addresses and write them down on the back of a bill in Nathalie’s pocket. She tears off half and gives it to me.
“Let’s see if we can find someone to take us back,” I say, looking around. “I don’t really want to get lost in that maze out there!” I spot someone in a green apron who’s just approaching the tunnel mouth. “HEY!” I shout at him. Her, actually, I see as she turns around.
“Can I help you?” she shouts back as we run up. She’s a grandmotherly-looking Orange Lenny, probably one of the lunch ladies or something similar.
“We were just auditioning, which means we’re new here and don’t know the way through,” I say, gesturing at the tunnel. “Could you show us?”
“Certainly, dearies,” smiles the Lenny, confirming my suspicions of a grandmother-like nature. “This way.”
“I’m Nathalie, and this is Kris,” Nathalie introduces us.
“Lorraine,” answers the Lenny. She doesn’t say anything else while leading us through the rocky maze. Nathalie and I keep looking at each other, trying to think of something to say and coming up short. Then we look at Lorraine, again striving for some small talk. We find nothing, and silence prevails all the way back to the Arts Centre. I’m too deep in my thoughts of a future audition to particularly care, and Nathalie isn’t a very talkative person anyway. When we arrive back in the Arts Centre Lorraine nods to both of us and heads straight for the Coffee Shop.
“Well, I’ll see you ’round,” I say awkwardly, standing just outside the cave, opposite Nathalie. She nods, waves, and runs off to a tall, teenage boy who I assume is her owner.
“Kristen!” shouts Mum, from somewhere further down. I catch sight of her and run up and hug her. “I swear, I’ve been waiting for hours. How’d it go?”
“Good,” I grin, holding up the script. “They want me back, same time next week.” Mum takes my free hand and we walk out of the underground hall together. I can’t help looking back, imagining myself here in a week’s time. In a tiny bit less than a week, I’ll be auditioning; in a week exactly, I should know if I’m in or not.
I can’t help telling everybody at school. The comments range from “That’s incredible, Kris, that’s just so totally awesome!” and “You think you can make it? That’s stupid. You’re appalling,” and other things along that thread which I won’t say. All in all it’s a fairly mixed reception.
“I just cannot believe you’re going to be on Caulfield Lane!” Lena squeals on Wednesday, three days before the Saturday audition. Lena’s one of those annoying people who acts like she’s everybody’s best friend, and meanwhile she goes around behind their backs spreading rumours. But once you dig through the snobby stuck-up-ness, she’s kind of okay.
“Maybe I’m going to be on Caulfield Lane,” I correct. “It’s not a sure thing. Only if I get through the auditions, only if I’m good enough. If I’m awful and terrible like everybody says I will be...” I shrug noncommittally.
“Not everybody says that,” Lena corrects me in turn. “Loads of people are really supportive. Especially when Cory and that lot aren’t around.” Cory’s the school bully. He’s made it his mission in life to hurt, sneer at, insult and generally upset as many students as possible. He’s got a throng of fellow bullies who flock around him and follow his lead. Cory’s also decided to bash up anyone who says that I’ll be good on Neovision. I think he’s upset because I got what he didn’t. There was a rumour floating around a while back, the kind that starts off with ‘Mary said that Sue said that John said that Michael said...’ and is therefore thoroughly unreliable. Anyway, true or not, the rumour was that Cory had tried out for a part on Neovision and been completely rejected. Not just plain rejected – completely and utterly rejected. And Cory’s always gotten whatever he wants. I reckon that it was true and that’s why he’s so sore at me. But whatever.
“Yeah, but it would be nice if they would say it to me,” I say. Apart from Lena and a few other friends, I haven’t had that many assurances of success. But I guess I can’t expect to. I mean honestly, loads of the pets in this school barely know me. I guess that to most of them I’ve only said things like ‘Can I borrow your pen?’ or not even that. And there are tons of pets I’ve never spoken to at all. So why should they care that I, a total stranger, may or may not be on Neovision in the near future?
“Well, I guess they’re too shy or something. Or they don’t want it to seem like they’re sucking up to you because you’re about to become a famous actress!” Lena grins broadly. I can tell that she, just like Nathalie, really believes I can do it.
I just wish I believed it too.
Saturday rolls around and I’m standing in the Arts Centre again, alone this time. Mum’s got a really bad cold and can’t leave the house. It’s really chilly down here and I’m beginning to wish I’d brought a coat.
“Good to see you again!” says Steein, coming up behind me. He showed me around last time, and was one of the judges when I was here then. He waves in the direction of the cave at the back. We disappear through the crevice and navigate our way through the tunnels and passages in the rock. I’m completely lost, but Steein seems to know his way. Effortlessly, he leads me to the hidden studios. Again I’m overawed by the sheer size of everything. This cavern is massive, simply unfathomable, and completely underground. Hundreds, if not thousands of trailers are scattered around, as well as sets. There’s one proper building in the centre, rising up and looking over everything. That’s probably where the model shop is, and the director’s offices and stuff. Steein smiles at me.
“Still a bit on the amazing side?” he asks with a grin. He’s probably taken hundreds of new people through here, and seen every one of them stare out at the cavern.
“I don’t think I’ll every get used to it,” I say, shaking my head.
“You will once you start filming here, and living in one of those.” He flicks a fin vaguely at the sea of white residential trailers. “Well, if you film here. Which I think you will.” He flashes a broad, toothy smile at me and walks across the cavern. I follow, staying close so I don’t get lost in the maze here, of trailers and sets instead of the rocky labyrinth entrance. Plus, there are loads of people walking around and it’s easy to lose sight of one White Bruce.
“Here we are,” he says at last, pulling open a trailer door. “Through here.” He climbs in first, leaving me outside. I take a few deep breaths and straighten up my clothing. Then I reach up to the railing and pull myself inside.
Ready to audition.
Ready to achieve my dream.
To be continued...