Rehearsals, A Ficlet (PG-13), June 19, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #585)
(This story is an original fan fiction ficlet by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved; any resemblance to persons living, dead, undead, adulterous, falsely accused or not, is pure fiction and left up to the imagination of the reader.)
(I will use my dream cast of Richard Armitage as He, and Samantha Colley as She purely for illustration purposes.)
“Rehearsals, A Ficlet”: Prologue
To think of a thing is to acknowledge its existence. To see a thing is to want it. To want a thing–leads you into a lot of trouble, as the married John Proctor found out from his sexual dalliance with the much younger Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. This play happens to be currently in production at The Old Vic in London, England. This ficlet [(1) story logo top right] is my completely fictional imaginings of how the line between actors portraying lust and want and need and desire and the actors feeling those emotions themselves, might create some delicious artistic tension on the set and during rehearsals.
Rehearsals, A Ficlet (PG-13)
On the second day of rehearsals for a new play involving lust, lies, and larceny, it is suggested privately to the two lead actors (he and she) playing former lovers that–in a method acting sense–they might want to have the memory of at least kissing each other to bring a greater authenticity to their performances involving repressed and forbidden love.
He impassively nods slightly at the suggestion of them kissing, only glancing at his costar across the room through the corner of his eye. She had already been apprised of the suggestion and she seemingly retains a benign expression upon her face–but for the tiny twitch at the corner of her mouth, and the unbidden pinkening of her cheeks. He will have to remember these tells when they play poker together again on the coming weekend–a friendly card game being something that he enjoys from time to time with his acting colleagues. They, neither he nor she, move to act upon this suggestion of kissing practice. The suggestor tilts her head and raises a delicately arched eyebrow with a small smile and rehearsals continue.
These two actors–he and she–have a chemistry together, a heat, and an allure. Might the relationship of these two actors to each other add another dimension to the play each of them wonders in reflection? How can it not? The actor is old enough to be his colleague’s father. Yet, he seems younger and more youthful than his 40 plus years–physically and in his light hearted spirit, despite the spate of seriously dramatic roles he tackles, like this one. And her strength as an actress–albeit at the start of what is sure to be an illustrious career–helps her exude a maturity beyond her early twenty something years. Yet, the actor was previously conscious of feeling that he was too old by over a dozen years for his co-star love interest in another role–in terms of him seeming to be protective of her. That lady spoke glowingly about his generosity as a fellow actor. His gentlemanly demeanor and professionalism are universally praised by his acting colleagues and directors.
It is on the third day of rehearsals that he and his current lead actress find themselves on the brink of something with each of them having arrived early for rehearsals–by about two hours. This accidental meeting was not planned on either of their parts. He usually prefers to take time to concentrate upon his role and performance before other actors arrive for rehearsals. She also prefers to find a quiet space to prepare for the onslaught of the company’s dynamic daily rehearsals that are exhausting both mentally and physically.
She enters the stage door quietly and moves to find a secluded spot to review and practice her lines when she is startled by someone speaking to her.
Stage Manager: “You’re in quite early today, Miss. That is, except for him.”
The Stage Manager tilts his head to the tall man standing off in the shadows of the theatre wings, leaning against a ladder [right]. Her eyes instantly follow the intended direction and stop, mesmerized. The man’s beard that he will need for this role has only just begun to grow. So he looks relatively clean shaven. And she is quite taken aback at how young his being beardless makes him look–compared to the hirsute role he inhabited until recently, wherein he portrayed a character several hundred years old.
The Stage Manager leaves to attend to his duties.
She: “Oh! Hello.” She greets him courteously, controlling the quiver in her voice.
He: “Hello.” He replies laconically.
She thinks that were he wearing spurs, he might resemble a British Clint Eastwood–taciturn and brooding, without the cravat or the breast plate chain mail and sword.
Neither takes a forward step toward the other. Rather, they each step to their left–he away from the ladder, and she toward an open hallway leading to the dressing rooms. She briefly looks back at him over her shoulders.
Now he startles. He wonders does she want me to follow her? He has to retrieve his script in his dressing room anyway, so he falls into step behind her.
Her guileless eyes widen upon her beautiful unadorned face–her resolutely facing forward [right] –as she hears his foot falls behind her. They do not have to walk too far to reach their destinations. As the play’s leads, their dressing rooms are near the stage–a perk, as is their dressing rooms spaciousness and their private bathrooms. They pause at their respective doors opposite each other, their backs to each other–not daring to turn back to glance in the others’ direction.
He closes his eyes with his back to her. They cannot do this, the kiss. He can’t do this. He feels much too old for her. Not that he thinks she is a child–far from it–nor does he feel that he is ancient. But he believes that his handsome leather clad swain days are behind him. However, whether he is wearing leather, a tux, or casual rehearsal clothes, she finds him to be effortlessly handsome–and he is not vain about it which is endlessly appealing. She is almost trembling in anticipation as she places her hand upon her dressing rooms doorknob. She turns the door handle.
He hears the click of her entry into her dressing room–and then there is a pause as the door to her dressing room pushes open with a rush of air. He hears items being dropped onto a chair, and then the door clicks shut again. He opens his eyes and places his hand upon his own dressing room door handle–opening the door only enough to permit him entry, but no further. His intention being to slink sideways into his dressing room–as if he were a wisp of smoke seeking an avenue of escape.
Then he feels the soft weight of delicate hands and arms upon his back [(right]. He knows that it is her. He stills and says nothing–tensing up, waiting to hear what she wants of him–with her body pressed to his serving to unsettle him.
She had not expected him to be so gentlemanly about the kiss–not seeking her out to do the deed. Her experience with other actors–albeit during her drama school studies–have been that they tended to be ribald, sexually explicit in their remarks, and fiercely magnetic. And yet his magnetism comes from his courteous exchanges, his silence, and his stillness. She finds him mysterious–not the least of which is that he has not turned around with her pressing herself to him. She realizes that she must speak first.
She: “May I join you?” She asks boldly.
He: “Of course.” He nods and opens his dressing room door further–still not looking back at her, knowing she is there because of the imprint of her onto him.
She steps back from spooning with him and the two of them walk into the room–just beyond the door boundaries. He turns around and gazes at her quizzically. She smiles pleasantly and shuts his dressing room door. They are alone.
Then feeling suddenly shy about her slightly forward behavior to her leading man–who has more professional experience than she–she gazes at him with an apologetic smile. But if she is to seduce him on stage, she must be able to do that when they are alone–at least in the sense of them kissing, as was suggested to them. He says nothing, watching her, waiting for what she will do next–feeling that he should not be the instigator of what they will do, whatever they might be.
She: “I thought that we might discuss our characters’ motivations.” She states logically. Though euphemistically–her phrasing is possibly akin to asking him if he wants to see her etchings.
He: “Certainly. Please, sit.” He gestures to the long couch–his only seating in the room but for an uncomfortable makeup chair stool. He dozes on the couch sometimes–him taking cat naps to refresh himself is a helpful skill.
She: “No, please. After you.” She smiles deferentially, mirroring his polite demeanor.
He sits down at one end of the couch–thus giving her plenty of space to sit at the other end of the couch–to keep a respectable distance between them. Afterall, they are alone, unchaperoned as it were. However she does not sit at the opposite end of the couch–but rather, upon the wooden coffee table in front of him, facing him.
She gazes at him directly. He stares at her with widening eyes. The fronts of their knees touch when they breathe in and out. He keeps his hands at his sides. Her hands reach for his knees. His eyebrow raises, but he does not move otherwise. Her palms slowly cup his bent kneecaps encased in a lightweight much washed soft jeans material. Still maintaining eye contact with him, she moves her hands to just above his kneecaps and squeezes his muscular lower thighs. He instantly moves his hands to cover her hands, stopping her actions.
He: “What are you doing?” He asks her in a forced steadiness of timbre, belying the rapid beating of his heart. She is his young acting colleague, young enough to be his daughter, he tells himself. They cannot have a relationship–at least, not a sensual relationship.
She: “I have waited for you …every night.” She paraphrases her character’s line in a husky tone as she draws back her hands and then she clasps them in his hands–their fingers intertwining as if in a dance.
His eyes widen at her switching to what he presumes is an improvisation. So he plays along.
He: He slowly shakes his head as his character’s angst about his own lust surfaces and he replies with a studied gruffness intended to repel her. “We cannot do this.”
She: “Hhhh.” She sighs in seeming resignation.
Then she stands and their hands unclasp–his hands lowering to his sides again as he remains seated on the couch. Then in a swift movement that catches him off guard, she sits sideways across his lap and places her arms about his neck as she lays her head on his shoulder. He keeps his hands at his sides, not embracing her.
She: “Will you not even hold me then–as one human being comforts another? Is your mercy so meanly tendered that you cannot share it even with me?” She asks meekly, pleadingly, seeking his solace.
He: “I am not free to be with you … again.” He sighs, struggling against softening toward her and sinking into the depths of lust that he knows would consume him were he to give in to the lustrous allure of her soft womanly body pressing into him, her silky hair of spun copper, and her eyes and lips in which he could drown his soul.
She: “I care not for your freedom. I do not need you to be free. I simply need to be with you.” She pleads as her lips move from his neck to his mouth. She has wanted to kiss him, even before the suggestion was made to her.
At first their kiss is hesitant and shy, then they become emboldened as their arms intertwine and their tongues tangle in sensual delights. He forgets his earlier misgivings about their age difference as he gives himself up to her tender ministrations. She appreciatively caresses his muscular arms and shoulders, then she moves her hand lower to caress his abdomen.
He: “Hmmm.” He groans in arousal as he ineffectively tries to push her hand away from the source of his agitation as she continues to sit upon him.
Then she takes his hand and guides him to caress her. But he resists. He will not touch her there or be forever lost in her beauty and with his need for her. He cannot have her–he cannot, he must not. He must remain aloof–even as their kisses deepen. But she does not recognize his superiority over her in deciding what and who they are to each other, for she becomes bolder with each passing moment of their deepening intimacies.
Their lovers’ dance continues as they lie down upon the couch side by side cuddling–him attempting an appeasement to forestall the inevitable for now, her feeling triumphant in her seduction.
It is several weeks later, when rehearsals begin for the day that he and she are put through their paces yet again. Line by line they rehearse and fine tune their movements and interactions in each scene. During a break in rehearsals, she gazes at him with sweetly sensual adoration. He returns her gaze with a brooding scowl–more angry with himself, than at her for their continuing furtive and clandestine meetings. No one knows–nor, they hope, suspects–their connection. But to her, he directs the ferocity of his gaze–a seething self loathing for his crumbled resolve. She is neither hurt by his somewhat haughty demeanor in her presence, nor is she questioning of it. Their colleagues notice that his and her intensity of feeling in the scenes since from very early in the rehearsal process, sensing the chemistry between them as acting colleagues and acting partners.
Of particular poignancy now is a scene of challenging perspectives–his character in denial, her character stating the facts.
He: “…I will cut off my hand before I reach for you again. We never touched.” He forcefully waves his hand to emphasize his negation of the facts. Would that his own resolve were so steady.
She: She replies softly as her doe eyes rise to gaze up at him. “Ay, but we did.” Her character’s simple truth betokens more than the words in their script. Their relationship now is more than mere acting colleagues. They cannot go back, they can only go forward.
He turns away from her. Then she presses herself against his back, both coaxing him to respond to her and goading him about denying their deepening bond. Her breath caresses the back of his neck as she speaks her lines–not taunting him as she had read the lines at the first, but now with a seductive whisper, inviting him to be with her again [below] .
P.S. I had seen the graphic above on Wednesday, and it inspired this little ficlet
P.S. Since I added my ficlet here to my Wattpad stories site–and I don’t do hyperlink credits over there, I created both image and quotes references which appear below in the order they appear.
1) The “Rehearsals, A Ficlet” story logo includes a flipped image of Samantha Colley and Richard Armitage rehearsing “The Crucible” at The Old Vic and was found at The Old Vic’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OldVicTheatre/photos/a.10151896378262185.1073741845.116694452184/10151896378952185/?type=3&theater
2) An image of British actor Richard Armitage from 2008 was previously found at www.RichardArmitageNet.com
3) An image of British actress Samantha Colley was found at http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/04/11/article-0-1CFF72DF00000578-434_306x423.jpg
4) A flipped image of Samantha Colley and Richard Armitage rehearsing “The Crucible” at The Old Vic and was found at The Old Vic’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OldVicTheatre/photos/a.10151896378262185.1073741845.116694452184/10151896378952185/?type=3&theater
5) This wallpaper of a The Crucible rehearsal image and a quote was tweeted by Harry Kennedy’s Pencil at https://mobile.twitter.com/HarrysPencil/status/479239868992610304/photo/1
The Crucible Quote References
a) Abigail’s line “I have waited for you … every night.” was paraphrased from the wallpaper’s The Crucible quote https://mobile.twitter.com/HarrysPencil/status/479239868992610304/photo/1
b) John’s line “…I will cut o ff my hand before I reach for you again. We never touched.” and Abilgail’s response “Ay, but we did.” are quoted from The Crucible and were found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115988/quotes
c) Abigail’s lines from The Crucible, Act 1, as quoted in the wallpaper were found at https://mobile.twitter.com/HarrysPencil/status/479239868992610304/photo/1