Act I, Scene I
An actress, an empty stage and a single light centered in the middle of the stage.
Shining on our actress, ready to perform. She stands up straight, shoulders back, expression focused and concentrated. The audience is empty as well,
only except a guy in the third row. He's here to audition, a notepad on his lap.
A professional expression on his tired face and maybe a bit bored. But that is irrelevant to our story... the man coughs slightly, encouraging the actress to start.
So J, what will you be performing for us tonight?
(He asks politely, looking at his watch.
The actress, notices it and clenches her fists...)
I'm here to show the "stages of pretense" I'm quite famous for the act of pretending and fooling my heart...
Oh, I see. Then begin, the audience awaits.
Yes, of that I am aware... Act one... People often ask me... How are you?
How do you feel? That's when I use my pretenses like this...
She looks at the space before her, body language shifting and changing until it falls into the role. Concentration disappearing, replaced with the softest of smiles. Her posture relaxing, her eyes losing their edge. A single spark filling them from inside. She gives a nonchalant wave of her hand and enhances her smile so it almost reaches her eyes.
Oh me? I'm just fine, never better and how are you?
(The actress freezes at the last word and loses the smile,
a pained look instead of the fake modest one)
...and then they leave, and I am left with myself. Playing pretense, even when alone... Because I no longer know the person that I once was.
(The actress looks up and waits for the review.
The guy in the audience filling in his notes)
That was great J. Very tasteful and engaging...
Do you want to see something more?
No, my darling... that will be all.
Yes, of course, I understand...
Oh, and J, my dear...
How are you feeling today?
Me...? Why that's a silly question to ask of me... As always, I am just fine...
The lights dim and the "audience" leaves. Our single actress, leaving as well...
Walking down the stairs, her back once again strained,
the smile faded away, just like everything else.