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SHOW TIME Juliette Draper, a junior at St. John’s School, loved performing as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.
I’m sorry! It’s just harder than it looks to not hit people with a giant, red crab claw!” I implored my sister, Isabelle. I swerved out of her reach, wiggling around the looming ship set. I glanced up at the blue wave backdrop, transforming the usually drab stage into a sea of colors and floating fish.
Our school was putting on The Little Mermaid, and it was opening night, when hordes pack the seats with whispered excitement and high expectations. I peeked at my sister, who was teching the play, and giggled nervously as I saw her rub the red mark on her arm, a product of my cumbersome Sebastian costume, which had “accidentally” hit her after she made fun of my false eyelashes. The lights flashing down, the sequins on my jacket illuminating in the glow, I took a breath, trying to forget that in 15 minutes I would be put on display.
One could even say that I felt like a crab being chased by a crazy French chef (Little Mermaid reference!). I ignored the butterflies doing an Irish jig in my stomach. Walking to center stage, I began to go through the dance moves to “Under the Sea” in my head. I got tired of practicing my Jamaican accent and craned my neck to look up at the ceiling.
Getting lost in the pitch black above me, I stared at the hanging lights and dangling microphones. An onlooker may have seen a girl gaping up at nothing with her mouth wide open, caked in red makeup, wearing a red suit and clutching red crab claws, but I was impervious to the hustle around me. I was standing in the center of a crowd of teenagers discussing middle-school gossip, but I was lost in the cozy feel and crisp air of the stage.
There’s something about performing that makes me want to want to jump, sing and cartwheel until my legs cease to function. Pulling me out of my daydream, my sister yelled, “Five minutes till curtain!” barking toward people in fish costumes, “Places!” Crab-walking to the wings, I took one last breath, thought, “Girls run the world,” and got ready to dance my booty off. Show time.
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