Her knees shook as she hid in the darkness of the shielding curtains and the low lit backstage of the theatre, the show was about to begin. She thought her heart would choke her, the way her throat constricted at the thought of performing before all of the hungry, waiting eyes.
The other performers and stage hands dashed about in the shadows like phantoms of the opera house. Usually she was as calm and collected as any other singer that has met audience and stage for more than a handful of years. No, it was not the usual crowds packing the theatre that set her trembling in her sequins and lace, the train of her dress more than capable of wrapping itself around her twice if not thrice.
It was the notice of the Queen’s attendance that set her blood to slow and her brain to let tumble loose all that she needed to remember as lead singer and actress in a performance attended by the Queen herself.
She imagined the stately crown perched on one of the velvet lined seats in one of the private balconies that would no doubt be near the stage. She imaged the regal woman’s rich robes draped over the wearing but well cared for cushions.
The boards creaked beneath her feet as a stagehand notified her of curtain call. She peered around the deep red curtains once more at the sea of faceless people as she searched for that aging face of the first Queen in a hundred years to visit the humble yet highly renowned theatre. Many shows had been performed within its walls. Royalty and peasant alike could find a seat at a show, on the right evening of course. They did not allow the general public to usually attend the same shows as royalty or state heads.
This was a special and possibly fortuitous night, indeed, if the good Queen enjoyed herself. Such a figure spouting kind words or even praise would be a boon to the company. As much as the uncertainty of the work gave her anxiety, the love she felt for the slowly rotting boards beneath her feet, the soon to be moth eaten curtains, all could benefit from the influx of interest in a play in favor of the Queen.
Once more she collected herself before turning to the darker world behind the stage, where worlds take shape, and people were born. Here we go, she thought, whipping the trailing dress behind her.
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