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Phantom Rep
By Ben Alexander


(Christie has been locked in the theatre with Monica, a rival actress, who uses their forced time together to accuse Christie of using theatre as a place to assuage her vanity. Here, the spirited Christie sets her straight)


CHRISTIE: It was in the third grade, when they took us for a field trip to see Richard III in Boston. I'd never seen a live play before. I didn't understand what was going on up there, but I could tell that there was a whole bunch of people hating each other, going to way against each other, and just plain killing each other - kind of like all the wars and murders I heard about on the news. The last hour, I was really spacing out, desprately bored and upset with it all, wanting to go back to class and just take a spelling test or draw a picture. Then finally it ended and they closed the curtain. But then - right then - they did something that I wasn't ready for. They opened the curtain again, and there was everybody who'd been running around hating each other and killing each other for the last three and a half hours - they were all up there, holding hands, smiling at each other, patting each other on the back, smiling at us, taking a nice bow, and that was when it really hit me. Hit me hard. They looked so beautiful, so peaceful and loving. Richard the Third was standing right next to the woman he'd murdered, and she was holding his hand and smiling at him as if they were about to go get something to eat together as soon as they washed off their make-up and changed their clothes. And I had that picture in my head all the way back in the bus, and I lay awake in my bed practically all that night, thinking, that's what the world needs. We need to get the U.N. to pass a resolution that on a certain Sunday, everbody in the world - the President of the United States, the head of Russia, the murderers, the bank robbers, the millionaires, the coal miners - will just line up and hold hands and take a bow. Dead people, too. I decided that dead people would suddenly be able to get up off the floor, walk over to the guy who killed them, and say, "Good show, good show. Ladies and gentlemen, we were only kidding. It was all a story. We really all love each other, and now we're going to change out of our costumes and have a party. You can all come too. Cake and cookies and wine, all on us!" And that's why I wanted to act: so I could do that. Whether I was playing Snow White or the stepmother, Cordelia or Lady Macbeth, I wanted people to see me get up off the floor and take my place in line, smiling and holding hands with everybody, so I could give them a taste of what it would be like if the whole fucking world could take a curtain call.


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