You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 3


The Disastrous Play

With the play performance coming closer, they practiced a lot. Way more than required! Skip PE to practice, skip history lessons, make time for that, make time for this. That was all Sage heard.

The kids were impartial when it came to the performances. The play and songs were both hated equally.

“Run around! Leap, skip, hop, and prance! Wave your pompoms! Make an Elvis Presley pose. Line number one lay down on the ground!” Ms. Bruno shouted.

It was a circus! Sage tried his best to do what the instructor said, but he had no idea how to.

“Why Elvis?” Sage asked. “Why not somebody who could dance better, like Michael Jackson or somebody?”

“Put up or shut up,” Felix said nonchalantly.

No matter how well the kids performed, the teachers kept screaming at them. Some had to be less active, some had to be more excited, and others had to be moderately enthusiastic. The kids absolutely didn’t understand them. It was doubtful if the teachers even knew what they wanted.

Sage gave up. He did what he loved to do in such situations. Zone out and play with weapons in his head.

The next few weeks whizzed by in a blur! Soon, it was dress rehearsal time.

“I think the play group needs to emote better,” said Mr. Dux Princeps.

Mr. Princeps was the principal of Victory School, and he was constantly frustrated about his institute’s enrollment numbers. Famously, he had once said, “Victory School is the best-kept secret,” and then followed it up with a request for enrollment.

As a principal, he looked upon the performance as a marketing opportunity. Unfortunately, the current performance wasn’t meeting his standards.

A day before the show, there was yet another dress rehearsal. “How many dress rehearsals are we going to have?” Felix sulked.

“Probably ten thousand more,” Livia said. “No matter how much we practice, Nero just doesn’t get it right.”

“Stop it, Livia,” Nero said.

“She’s right, Nero. Everyone’s dying because of your bad performance! Remember what Princeps said? Emote better. If you need inspiration, look at John. He’s the lead, and he does a lot better than you,” Sage advised.

“My dad is mad that I’m not the protagonist. Everyone wants me to emote better. I’m a guard, and I barely have any lines. What emotions?” bawled Nero, who was almost in tears.

Finally, that dreaded day arrived. The students had to be at school at 7:00 in the morning. Many of the kids had barely woken up. They practiced multiple times until everyone got worn out.

In the evening, it was showtime. The parents had arrived and settled down. The school looked cleaner than usual. The teachers dazzled in their party attire, while the students itched and sweated in their costumes.

The host made an announcement, and the singing group went first. They managed to put up a decent performance. Still, Ms. Bruno and Mr. Princeps didn’t appear happy.

Next on was the Count of Monte Cristo play. The actors lined up on stage, and the crowd cheered excitedly. Most of the parents had their phones out, ready to film their child in all of their glory.

Livia started acting out her part. The protagonist of the play, John, walked in along with his guard, Nero.

A few minutes into the play, there was a sudden uproar. The parents and kids laughed uncontrollably. Sage had almost fallen asleep. He was jolted awake by all of the laughter around him.

Nero was playing the guard, but he was doing something weird. He was striving to emote better, but Nero was not quite Will Smith. So, it looked nothing close to emoting. He was shaking his hands and making strange motions.

When John proposed to Livia in the play, Nero dropped to a knee.

“MARRY ME!” Nero yelled repeating John.

When John was angry in the play, Nero whipped out his sword and began pointing it towards the offender. John was confused, but he continued with his act.

Pandemonium reigned over the stage, and the play had turned into absolute chaos.

Suddenly, Nero ran backstage and appeared wearing a set of heavy armor. He was certain that he would impress his parents and catapult to stardom with his performance.

“The heck?” John was in utter confusion. His opponent froze in terror.

It was a laugh riot for the viewers. Then, Nero’s little brother screamed from the audience, “Mom, Dad, look! Nero is looking like an idiot!”

“NERO! NERO! NERO!” The preschoolers started chanting his name.

“Nero, you idiot! You ruined my brilliant acting! We’re getting a zero for this play performance,” Livia yelled as she ran away from the stage.

“Where are you going, Livia? That play was awesome!” Sage sounded sweeter than honey, but sarcasm oozed from his voice.

“Sage, you advised Nero to copy the lead. It’s all your fault,” Livia started ranting.

Sage had no wish to be read the riot act. He walked away in the direction of the playground. Livia chased after him, shouting insults the whole time.


Note: This is a collaborative effort with Rishi Sridhar. My gratitude to you, Rishi.


You can read the next part in this series here: Part 5

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