Katie and the Magic Theatre

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Isis on Stage

Read by Natasha
Story by Bertie

Katie’s town had a theatre - a grand old building with steps and white pillars. A long time ago, it had been a musical hall featuring jolly songs and chorus girls. In Katy's time, when she was little, she used to go to pantomimes there. The tradition was that men would dress up as women, and girls would play the part of boys. All the children used to shout “Behind you” when the villain, Long John Silver, was creeping up on young Jim Hawkins.

So Katie had fond memories of the theatre, and she was sad when it closed its doors two years ago. It seemed people didn’t want to go to the theatre anymore. They were too busy at home playing Nintendo or watching FilmFlix.

So she was really pleased when Isis saw her at the school break time and told her,

“Guess what. The theatre’s reopening.”

“Oh, that’s great…. What are they putting on?”

“Well that’s the thing,” said Isis excitedly, “It’s a musical about a school girl who's secretly a witch! Isn’t that amazing!”

“I suppose you’re going to say her name’s Katie,”

“No, but she’s in love with a boy called Paul. Who says coincidences don’t happen!”

“That’s not a coincidence, because I’m not in love with Paul. We are just good friends.”

“Well seriously,” insisted Isis,” You should audition for it! Then we can come and watch you on stage!”

“Me, singing and dancing on stage. You’ve got to be kidding”, replied Katie.

“You’ve got a great voice. And you’ve always been a natural at dancing. I’m so envious. If I had a quarter of your talent I would apply like that!” she said, and she snapped her fingers, as if she was doing a magic spell. But of course she wasn’t. Because Isis did not have any magic powers.

But Katie did. And people who are good at magic are often artistic by nature. Music flowed through her, like magic.

Isis by contrast, was not at all musical. When she was little, her mother made her do violin lessons, and she was so terrible, that her teacher begged her to put down her instrument and never play again. Then her mother sent her to ballet classes. She loved dressing up in pink ballet clothes and shoes, but when it came to moving, she had two left feet and she stepped on the other kids toes.

So as it turned out, even though Isis wanted to be perfect at everything in life, she couldn’t be.

Because nobody can.

“I would just love to be on stage,” she said dreamily. “With the spotlight on me. I would open my mouth, and all these pretty notes would fly out and fill the theatre. Then everyone would adore me and when I finished my song, they would stand up and applaud and throw flowers onto the stage..”

Katie could see that her friend really wished she could sing.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Katie. “I’ll find a musical magic spell for you, and if it works, you can do the audition.”

“I’ll do it if you do too,” said Isis. “It will be more fun if we are in the play together.”

So Katie agreed. The call for auditions was the following Saturday morning. About 20 girls were waiting outside the theatre door in the cold. Katie and Isis recognised some of them from school.

“I don’t know why you’re here,” said Samantha to Isis. “My cat can sing more in tune than you can.”

And Isis smiled with her perfect pearly teeth. You see, she was quietly confident. You see, Katie had put a musical spell on her. She used the Grand Piano in the music room at Isis’s house. Katie sat down at it and played a weird and wonderful tune. Isis listened, and gradually felt herself more and more enchanted. Then Katie played some notes - and asked Isis to sing them. She did, and she hit them perfectly.

But when the stage door opened, and they were led inside, Isis started to feel butterflies in her stomach.

“Katie, I’m scared,” she said. “I don’t want to do this anymore. Let’s go home.”

“Oh, don’t be such a wimp,” exclaimed Katie. “You begged me to do this, and if we run away now, Samantha will never let us forget it!”

“It’s no use. I’m scared. I can’t sing,” cried Isis.

So Katie touched her friend on the forehead and said a calming spell.

“Better now?” she asked.

“You bet! Let’s go for it!”

Every girl had to sing a jazzy number , because it was that sort of musical.

“Next!” called out a voice.

Katie took a deep breath and walked onto the stage. She looked down at the audience - three judges in the third row, one man and two women. They held note pads.

“Name?” asked one of the women

“Katie” said Katie.

The music began to play. She drew a keep breath and sang

Super magic in the air
Count on it, we make a pair
Super magic in the air
Count on it If you dare

And then she did a little dance and ended with a little bow.

“Next!” called out the woman, Katie walked off, and Isis walked onto the stage, smiling her prettiest smile at the director and the casting crew.

This time they did not ask her name. The director just nodded and said, “Start Please!”

“Hmm,” thought Katie. “They didn’t say ‘please’ to me.”

The music began to play and Isis sang:

Super magic in the skies
Shooting stars, love will rise
We’re like two moons of mars
Love you madly - in the stars

“Thank you dear. Now would you mind showing us how you can dance,” said the woman.

So Isis did some moves that she had learned in ballet class. And because she had received Katie’s musical spell, and a touch of confidence, she performed them perfectly - no two left feet this time.

“Thank you very much, dear, we’ll let you know. NEXT!”

Isis smiled again and Katie thought she really did have star quality.

“They liked you better than anyone,” she said to her friend.

“Oh, no, they were just being polite. You were the best. Like I said, this part is made for you,” replied Isis. She thought for a bit, and then she added:

“By the way. I didn’t know that the woman leading the audition was going to be my aunt. Imagine my shock, when I looked into the footlights and saw her sitting, so serious, and taking notes on everyone.”

“Ah,” said Katie, “Now it all makes sense.”:.

That afternoon, the director - who was her aunt - called Isis to offer her the lead role of the singing witch. Samantha and Katie received parts too - in the chorus line.

And as it turned out, when Katie read the script, the witch in the play was not at all like her. The theatrical witch was decidedly a bad witch. If you could imagine Samantha with magical powers, that would be her.

The rehearsals soon began - three evenings a week. Each time, Katie always boosted Isis by playing the magical tune on the grand piano . And everyone, even Samantha, had to agree that her singing voice and dance moves were spot on.

Six weeks later, it was the opening night. Katie met Isis as usual at her house, and played the magical music on the piano. But this time Isis sat stiffly. She didn’t look well.

“It’s no use,” she said. “I can’t do this. I’ve got stage fright. It’s so bad, I can’t feel the spell. All I can hear is a throbbing sound in my ears, like swans beating their wings. You’ll have to call the theatre and tell them I’m sorry I can’t go on.”

“Nonsense,” said Katie.

“You could easily fill my shoes. You could even do real magic spells and everyone would think it was part of the show.”

“That’s not going to happen,” said Katie firmly. “Because you are going to get over this stage fright.”

“Well in that case,” said Isis. “I need some more magic than usual, because the normal dose is not working.

Now Katie knew some spells for making normal magic twice or even three times as powerful, but she was reluctant to use it because such powerful doses of magic could be dangerous. Once her Great Aunt Chloe used the booster spell, then boarded her broom-stick to take her to Clapham Common, and it flew her all the way to South Africa!

But as Isis was in such a state of stage fright, Katie doubled the spell. Isis begged for still more magic, and against her better judgement, Katie made it even stronger.

Isis, now brimming with confidence, smiled a big smile, already like a Broadway star.

When they arrived at the Theatre, they found everyone in a panic.

“We thought you’d done a runner,” said Samantha.

Even the usherettes were suffering from first night nerves.

The show was a sell out. The parents and relatives of two local schools had come to see the performance.

It seemed like an eon until the curtain call. At last, the music struck up and the curtain rose to reveal the chorus, supposedly kids at school, milling around and chatting. Katie and Samantha had a couple of lines to say, and they even got some laughs. About 1o minutes into the play, Isis had her first big number. She sprang out of the crowd of school girls and began to dance.

[Bring up music and song . here when it reaches the guitar solo the narration continues ]

The magical boost was doing its trick because she looked more radiant than Katie had ever seen her. The notes seemed to flow out of her mouth with ease and her dance moves were superbly fluent and springy. She even invented new moves on the spot. The boy playing Paul was having trouble keeping up with her. Then, with one enormous jump, worthy of the Russian Ballerina, Anna Pavlova, she flew into the air - only she didn’t come down. She carried on flying, and screaming, all the way into the seats on the upper Circle, 30 feet above the stage.

The audience, thinking it was all some stage trick, burst into applause which drowned out poor Isis’s screams. Little did they know that it wasn’t stage magic, it was real magic. The director ordered the safety curtain down and ran up the stairs to the circle. There she found a shocked, but unharmed Isis.

“That was some leap,” she said.

“I , I want to go home,” stammered Isis. “I’m sorry. I can’t go on.”

The show was cancelled that evening, and the Theatre had to refund all the tickets. What a disaster! It seemed like the curtain had fallen for the very last time.

But Isis’s giant leap had an unexpected benefit. When word got around, the story was in the local newspapers, and the next day it was a national, and then an international news item. The rest of the season was totally sold out. The show returned by popular demand!

But Isis had had enough time in the spotlight of stardom. She persuaded her aunt to give the lead part to Katie. Katie reluctantly agreed, and every night, just to keep the audience happy, she performed some impossible magic tricks, like flying, just a little bit, or singing a high note and breaking a glass, or jumping straight up in the air, but one thing she didn’t do, was land in the audience.