Stagefright

Stagefright by Carole Wilkinson

Book: Stagefright by Carole Wilkinson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carole Wilkinson
Velvet gave Drago a head start and then headed for class.
    “Velvet, can I speak to you for a moment?” It was Miss Ryan who was picking up litter around the rubbish skip.
    Velvet was sure she was about to get into trouble for being at the front of the school during lunchtime. But Miss Ryan wasn’t wearing her stern “I’m about to recite the school rules to you” face. It looked more like a “I’m going to ask you to collate 500 humanities handouts” face.
    “I’ve been meaning to ask you about your drama production.”
    “Yes?” Velvet said, thinking that there must be another school rule that they were breaking.
    Miss Ryan was fiddling with her hankie. “Actually I’d like to be involved.”
    “Really?” Velvet tried to edge away from her.
    “I think it sounds like an interesting project.” Miss Ryan flushed a little. “I could help with costumes. I can sew quite well, you know. I make all my own clothes.”
    Velvet looked at Miss Ryan’s aqua and mauve checked skirt and frilly lemon blouse.
    “That would be wonderful. Thanks so much for the offer. We’ll let you know when we’re ready to make costumes.”
    Miss Ryan went back to picking up litter. Peter was going in the side door. He’d overheard the conversation.
    “Don’t even think about it,” he said.
    “Don’t worry. That day will never come.”

C H A P TE R 16
    Velvet had never been late for cultural studies before. She flung open the door and stood breathless and flushed at the front of the class, clutching a book as thick as a house brick. Everyone else had arrived, even Drago.
    Mei was playing “Over the Rainbow” on a French horn. She was playing it very well.
    “Why didn’t someone tell me she could play?” Taleb said.
    “So she’s in the band is she?” Hailie said.
    “You bet she is.” Taleb handed Mei some sheet music.
    Mei smiled.
    No one had noticed Velvet’s dramatic entrance, so she dropped the heavy book onto a desk. “It’s all lies!”
    The others turned towards her without interest. They were used to Velvet’s outbursts.
    “What is?”
    “The way Shakespeare portrays Richard. He didn’t have Clarence killed. He didn’t murder the princes and he’d been in love with Anne since childhood. Richard was a good guy.”
    Mr MacDonald inspected the book.
    “It’s a historical novel, Velvet. It’s someone’s fictional idea of what happened. That doesn’t make it the truth.”
    “And the play is just Shakespeare’s idea of what happened. And it’s wrong!”
    Velvet was digging in her bag. She pulled out another book.
    “This is a proper history book. It says there’s no proof that Richard was evil. In fact there’s plenty of evidence that he was a good king.” She pointed an accusing finger at Jesus. “It’s his fault.”
    Jesus looked up mid pushup. “Me?”
    “Richmond, the guy you’re playing. After he killed Richard and became king, he rewrote history. He said Richard had done all these terrible things. They even changed paintings of him so he looked mean. And he didn’t have a hunched back. They made it up!”
    “So what are you saying, Velvet – that we should rewrite Shakespeare?” Peter asked.
    “Yes! We could call it
The True Story of Richard the Third
.”
    “No way.”
    “Drago, I thought you’d be on my side at least. You’d be a hero instead of a villain.”
    “I like being a villain.”
    “It’s not fair.”
    Mr MacDonald stepped in to stop another brawl erupting. “We can’t change the script now.”
    They spent the rest of the afternoon talking about what could happen in Act II. Taleb had questions to ask Velvet about the coronation song – how many harmony parts they should have, whether there should be a solo.
    “How come all the good scenes happen offstage?” Jesus said. “You know, like the one where some guy called Hastings gets his head cut off.”
    “We can’t fake a beheading on stage.”
    “Someone could bring the head to prove that the job’s been

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