Friday, 4 May 2012

Response to Image - The Audition - Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 35

Welcome to the Romantic Friday Writers' fortnightly writing challenge, started and hosted by , and Donna Hole, where participants share their own 300-400-word text - story or poem - on a given theme. During the month of April, RFW has taken a break to participate in 'From A to Z in April' as did this blog owner. So the first challenge after this absence is a picture prompt provided by Denise. Scroll down past my text to read Denise' instructions for this Challenge No. 35 for Friday, 4th May 2012. We get a 600 word-limit this time.Yippee!

Here's my text: The Auditon: What's in a Name?

It was hot and humid when Daisy Martinsson waited for the audition. Exactly which play and which part was a secret. It was rumoured to be Romeo and Juliet, which was why it was mostly girls who stood and waited behind the theatre.

There was no shade on that side of the street, and Daisy had dressed in a mini-skirt, sleaveless top and sandels. From a wrinkled paper, Daisy read silently:  

O Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

Daisy's curly red hair became frizzy in the humidity. 

Deny thy father, and refuse thy name; 
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, 
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

I wonder if I will be able to stand out among the other girls? thought Daisy looking at two girls in front of her, one with dark curly hair and the other with a bleached-blond afro, with a very dark complexion and black eyes.

Daisy continued: 
'T is but thy name that is my enemy; 
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

Could Juliet have red hair? Daisy thought, as the dark-haired girl turned around,

'What are you reading?'  

'Just checking my grocery-list', lied Daisy, 'I need to shop after this. Have you prepared for this reading?'

'No. I'm sure they'll choose me for my looks!' she said laughing out loud.

Daisy thought: If they see any difference in us. Everyone is wearing the same short skirts and bare legs. It's more like a bathing beauty contest! Wonder which boy will be Romeo.

Finally, the door flung open and a fiftyish woman stepped out and distributed numbered cards. Daisy was number 17. The hot day dragged on and Daisy regreted not smearing sun-screen on her, now tender, red arms.

'Fifteen, please,' said the same woman, 'Would number fifteen please come forward. Alright! Sixteen, then!' A dark-haired girl pranced happily toward the door.

Who was number fifteen and didn't show? thought Daisy, I need to stay alert.
Daisy continued reading:

What's a Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot.

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part, 
Belonging to a man. 
O! be some other name:
What's in a name?

'Number seventeen, please! 'Would number seventeen please step forward?'

Daisy almost missed her call, but ran through the door and felt comfort in the coolness of the air-conditioned theatre. Daisy handed over her number-card, 'I'm number seventeen'.


'Daisy Martinsson, I mean, Daisy Martins.' 

'Write your contact information here, please', said the fiftyish woman giving her a form and a pencil and the script, 'Take this. It's the lines you will be reading for your audition. Go up on stage now, and start reading when the director tells you to.'

Daisy had just barely finish writing her name and address, when she found herself on stage. She looked at her lines that were printed out on a single sheet of paper.

'You may begin', instructed the director.

Daisy began:

'Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.'  

'A little louder, please.'

'Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.'  

''Thank you,' said the director, 'How long have you lived in Britain?'

'Seven years.'

'From Denmark?'

'No. Sweden. But I went to an English-speaking school there. Sigtuna.'

'I see.

'May I ask a question?'

'Make it short.'

'Which part is this?'

'Lady Capulet, Juliet's mother.' Turning away from Daisy he bellowed, 'Get number eighteen in here. Now!' 

Daisy walked off the stage and out into the hot, steamy air.


[Text copyright 2012 Christina Wigren All rights reserved.]

If you don't like this ending keep scrolling down to find a newly written sequel!

Here are Denise' instructions for this Challenge:
  • You must respond to the stimulus in some way.
  • From the image, choose who will be your viewpoint character.
  • Place your character/s in one of the following settings:
* a nightclub
* last day of high school/college
* at a carnival/festival
* a private party
* an exotic island
* audition for a part in the latest Romeo + Juliet production
* a combination of two or more of the above settings...

Get your thinking caps on for this one. You have over 5 weeks to produce your best copy. I thought about raising the word limit to 600 words for this one. What do you think?
As always, I encourage you to leave a comment here or email me with your responses to issues raised in posts. Please know that your input is most valuable in the decision-making process. My email:

Denise (L'Aussie)

Word count according to WordCalc:600; 'FCA'; Full Critique Acceptable.

Best wishes,

This is a fictional text written directly for this 'response to image'- challenge. 

I used Denise's suggestion of an audition for a part in a production of Romeo and Juliet

I am also inspired by a scene from the film, The King's Speech, in which Geoffrey Rush's character, Lionel Logue, auditions for a part in a production of Skakespeare's play, Richard III, and is turned down, inspite of him knowing all the lines and having played the roll before. The reason? Lional Logue came from Australia. The theatre director in this scene said that he 'did not know that Richard III was king in the colonies'. This film reflects the attitudes of British people in the 1930's and 40's. But the director of the film (from 2010), Tom Hooper, is half Australian, and one of the key players, Guy Pierce, is Australian. 

I have no idea what aspiring actors and actresses are up against today when auditioning for the theatre. My guess would be that impeccable speech must be crucial.

My character, Daisy Martins (shortening her Swedish surname, Martinsson to make it sound more English), has moved to the U.K. from Sweden. (I actually have a distant cousin who has done this, but I don't know how well she has adapted to life there.) Daisy is so young that the theatre-director may not have noticed anything about her speech. It is harder to change your speech when you are older. 


A quick new sequel:
 Daisy opened the door and was about to step out into the steamy air when she heard a young male voice say, 'I'm number fifteen, please let me through!'

An utterly stunning boy with a face that resembled Michelangelos statue of David was running toward the backstage door, waving his number card. Instead of letting the door close and locking herself and this beautiful boy out, she held door open for him and went back in herself.

'Oh, thanks, Love!' he murmured softly as he wizzed past her breathlessly and showed the woman at the reception his queue-number. 'I'm number fifteen!'

'Alright, we'll let you read, but don't ever be late again!' she growled, 'Take this and get up there!' Beautiful-David scribbled his name and address on the form-card, and took the paper with the audition lines from her hand.

Daisy's heart beat quickly as she stood in the dark air-conditioned-cooled foyer watching this lanky boy climb up on stage to audition. Daisy was determined to stay and listen:

O! speak again, bright angel: for thou art 
As glorious to the night, being o'er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wond'ring eyes
Of mortals, that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds,
And sails upon the bosom of the air.

'Thank you, Peter, we'll let you know. But so far, we don't seem to have that much to choose from, if not Romeo, you can probably play Tybalt or Mercutio or whatever..'

'So I'm in? I'm really in?' 

'Yes, Peter, it looks that way. Congratulations. But don't be late!'

Elated, Peter walked toward the exist, but instead of just walking past Daisy he stopped, looked at her and smiled the most sunny smile she had ever seen before.

'Thanks for helping me get back in! I owe you. Have you already auditoned?'

'Yes, but they don't seem to have a part for me. Not even a small one.'

'Oh, no! And you would make a marvelous Juliet! Let's go have a coffee! Do you have time for that?'

'Oh yes, please,' said Daisy almost wanting to cry out at the top of her lungs, 'Ja, tack!' in Swedish. Peter turned out to be a wonderful friend and played the part of Romeo well. And he never, ever, made fun of her English.

[Or I could delete this last paragraph and write an even longer story about how Peter takes little Swedish Daisy to all the sights in London or wherever they are, and Daisy finally does get a small part in a play, thanks to Peter coaching her. His English is sublime.]

I know. I am such a sucker for a happy ending. But now I have gone well over the prescribed word count! This sequel has 456 words!

First Commenter: 

L'Aussie Writer

To read other texts for Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 35, for the picture prompt please visit this site, click on the image below or scroll down to the linky:


Denise Covey said...

Hello Anna! I've missed you! I hope you enjoyed the madness of the April challenge. It certainly claimed too much time!

Now this story is absolutely delicious. You've certainly taken the trouble to adhere to the guidelines. I love that you used the audition suggestion and you've dealt with it so well. I saw the King's Speech and I adored it and I see echoes of what you point out here. Poor Daisy, being Swedish really didn't help her chances.

You've made her such an alluring character, I hope you use her in more stories. I want her to get a part in a play soon! (And where did No. 15 get to?)

Welcome back to RFW. So good to have you!


Scheherazade said...

Hi Anna,
Oh, I so wanted Daisy to get the part and I'm so sad for her. If you are not going to give her the part, then you must at least give her some bit of justice or happiness.

dolorah said...

Hi Anna; welcome back to the RFW :)

Your original excerpt was very well done. I liked the short insight into Daisy's life; you showed her career choice, her youth, gave a sense of how foreign she is through another's eyes, and even showed a bit of self interest when she wouldn't share her insights with the other girl.

I'm glad you put the explanation of how the text came about after the writing; I could see how you integrated all those thoughts and feelings into the text. I liked knowing I was "getting" what you were trying to portray in the writing.

I enjoyed the epilogue excerpt too. Always a pleasure to see how things turn out; and I especially liked the romance flow. Both work well as stand alone's.

Sometimes Anna, its good to leave a reader with questions - like what happened to #15 and does she ever get a part - and to allow the reader to want to read further if it is part of a larger writing, or to make up their own endings.

And the other good thing that comes of excerpts like these two, where there are so much possibility to explore the characters (both characters are well developed) and the story potential for your own future writings. I can't tell you how many times a prompt such as this has sparked a short story concept; and a lot of times the reader feedback on what they "wondered" about is exactly what helps me build a situation to write about.

One thing I can always count on in your writings Anna; it doesn't seem to matter what the prompt is, you come up with something unique and engaging for me to enjoy.

Thank you for returning to RFW and posting such a marvelous - two marvelous - excerpt to the prompt.


Denise Covey said...

Hello Anna. I'm so glad to be back and reading your stories. And to go and write a sequel! As Donna says, you don't have to explain everything to us. Readers must use their imaginations too! I think you could put this together, write some more, then you'd have a great short story to submit somewhere.

Thanks for writing for us Anna.


Tanya. said...

I'm so glad you wrote the sequel for us to see as I really was disappointed when it came to the end of the story...and I would love to read the next bit and see where you take it if you decide to go ahead and write it!!

The Poet said...

Dear Anna,
Isn't it great to be back with RFW? I too wrote everyday for both A-Z & Napowrimo, but it's just not the same.

I really enjoyed reading this. I think I prefer the second ending has the element of romance we're supposed to include. I did feel bad for Daisy though...she let David/Peter go ahead of her when he was way late and he got the part instead. Let's hope something good happens to her. Nicely written. Thanks for sharing.

I'm hosting Blog Hop Saturday! today. You're welcome to link your blog, OR a specific post OR your Fan Page...the choice is yours. Linky will stay open until 8:00pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). Hope you can join the fun!

Tina said...

This picture/prompt writing challenge seems like a really fun group! I might have to hop on board next time. Although I do have a serious problem about being brief...hate word limits, but they sure are a good exercise for your writing muscles.
Tina @ Life is Good

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Anna,
I enjoyed this story of a struggling actress. Your description of Peter is great using a visual reference like 'David.'

On the side I had to smile. I was very young when Arnold Swastznager (I'm no good at spelling) first appeared in the Conan movie. I remember how hard it was to understand him. I didn't think he would do well, look at him know. Lots of movies, governor of California and if he had his way he'd be President of the USA. Fortunately it's illegal for him to run. You have to be born in the USA to be President.

No worries on your comment about the Laundry Woman from Hell. I am so glad you have the backbone to do something about it.

Unknown said...

Dear Denise,
Thank you for the encouragement. I wrote the sequel after reading Linda's comment. Daisy might work in a short story or two. Now that I've given her an English sort of maybe boyfriend, I might be able to write more about her adventures in the UK. Makes me want to take a trip to 'follow Daisy's steps...'
Dear Linda,
Thank you for your honesty. Thanks to you I did write a continuation that gives Daisy some real hope. Peter is a nice guy that I has loosely based on my nephew Lars.
Dear Donna,
What a good reader you are; as well as writer. We both are working with a similar theme in our stories: protagonists who har trying to become someone else. Daisy, from Sweden, is trying very hard to be English.
Dear Tanya,
Thank you for commenting. Your visits always make me happy. I am happy you like the second ending. I like it too. But it was Linda's comment that got me going so that I actually posted it, inspite of going over the word-limit.
Dear Andy,
Thank you for your thoughts on Daisy's behalf. But Daisy and Peter were not seeking the exact same parts. In my story, I am assuming that there are many girls who want to play the part of Julia, but few boys who dare to even try out for the part of Romeo. The theatre company had to promise Peter a part because there were so few boys to choose from. The girls seeking Juliet's part were a dime a dozen. So Peter is not actually taking Daisy's part from her. If I can get Peter to play Romeo, he can practice with Daisy, and then when the girl who gets that roll is taken ill, guess which understudy gets her big break? Daisy!
Dear Tina,
Thanks for visiting! You are so welcome to join. In fact I was just going to ask you if I could feature one of your 'Postcards from Sweden'-posts on my blog for the next time. I'll get back with you for more about this.
Dear Nancy,
Thanks so much for your comments. I don't know how foreign I want to make Daisy. I have heard young Swedish people really speak impeccable English. But then there are so many who don't. If you are pretty enough maybe you can do it. Look at Greta Garbo or Ingrid Bergman. But they were often cast in parts where it was okey to have a little accent. Greta Garbo's Nanutska (spelling?) is a good exemple. It didn't use to bother me, but I don't really like Ingrid Bergman's filmer anymore. She is the typecast Swede.
I was interested to compare Guy Pierce playing George VI's brother who had to abdicate. It sounded right, at least to me, and then he speaks this Australian English when he is interviewed about what it was like working on The King's Speech.

I don't want Daisy to sound as Swedish as Arnold Swartzenegger sounds Austrian. I never had trouble understanding his speech, though, but that probably says more about my English than his!

I love your expression 'The Laundrywoman from Hell'! Maybe I can use that as a title for a murder mystery based on her character! Actually, I tried to delete my comment about the trouble I have with some of my neighbours, but it was too big. I could not click on the 'delete-button', so I had to leave it, even if I thought that it was a silly comment.

I was at the store yesterday ordering my washing machine for the bathroom. But it will take another ten workdays before they can deliver it. They offered 20% off sale on their products this weekend and were flooded with customers.

Bad news from the tax people. I won't have time to rewrite the story about Edwin Kloow until I get my returns sent off.


Thank you all, wonderful people for your support and kindness to me.


Unknown said...

Forgot to tell Donna:
Maybe seven years is too long. Maybe Daisy should only have been in the U.K. two years.
When writing a first draft, there is a lot that doesn't work or is not logical. Daisy needs to be very young. If she lived in the UK seven years she is too old.

Just a thought.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Anna,

Sorry I'm late getting around this weekend...

Loved this, such a fun piece! It was inevitable "stage" scenarios would come from this prompt...And you did Daisy proud... ;)


Kiru Taye said...

Hi Anna,

I love your take on the prompt. I love the way you've made Daisy instantly loveable, the reader empathising with her use of English as a secondary language. I also love that you've added a sequel giving her a happy ever after. It's the romantic in me. LOL.

Well done.

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