All the World’s a Stage – Part 1

Mr. Williams passed out the scripts and then went up to the front of the room.

“Alright, folks, we’re going to be putting on the classic Romeo and Juliet this year.”

For a long moment, there was nothing. Dead air. Then a boy in the back started laughing, a sharp noise that cut through the silence. As if that was a sign, the rest made their thoughts known in either groans or cheers in their turn.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. We’ll be having try-outs in a week, so make sure you read through so you can decide what parts you’d like to try for. And be glad I gave you the full script! The original actors only got a roll with their lines on it!” The bell rang and as everyone scrambled to grab their bags, Mr. Williams gave them a big smile. “See you tomorrow!”


RomaMontanari burst onto the stage with all of her usual dramatics.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name!”

Mr. Williams just sighed inwardly. He was used to her antics by now, after all, she was usually the female lead in the end. Every theatre had its diva, and Roma was theirs. A few more lines and she took a bow. The dark haired actor leaning against the wall groaned.

“Yes, Mr. Capello? Can I help you with something?”

The boy strode forward.

“This is ridiculous, Mr. Williams. Every single girl that’s come out here has done the same scene, rolling out the same tonality and the same manners. This isn’t some rom-com, this is one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies!”

“You think you can do better, Juan?”

Roma shoved him slightly and he grinned back at her, dark eyes flashing.

“Oh, you better believe I can, Montanari.”

Mr. Williams stood and walked towards the stage.

“Both of you cut that out. Let me get this straight. Juan, you’re objecting to Roma’s interpretation of the scene?”

“Yup, that’s about right.”


The trio of giggling girls had them cornered, the two freshman boys knew that quite well. They had been trying to check the prop room for a few things to help Duncan plan for the set build.

“Look at the pair of them.”

“Duncan’s little lap dogs.”

“But are they?” The middle girl, a blond like the other two and ever, it seemed, chewing on her gum, leaned in to grin. “Have a look at this one. Ken MacFinnley.”

“Mercifully?” The girl on the right giggled again and Ken took a half-step back and nearly back into his best friend, Benji. She was still staring at him. “ The Ken MacFinnley who’s going to do the set design for the next play? The Ken MacFinnley who’s going to be the next drama club president?”

“That’s…that’s not right. No, Duncan’s president. And he’s the one doing the set design. And I’m only a freshman…”

The girl on the left patted his cheek and smiled sweetly.

“Oh, but dear little boy, you will take his place.”

Finally, Benji spoke up.

“Um…what about me?”

All three girls turned to him and spoke.

“You’re next.”

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The Home for Forgotten Monsters

Mrs. Tipton smiled sadly at her newest boarder when she opened the door of the lodging house.
“Oh, my dear, I never thought you’d be joining us.”
The old woman at the door slumped her shoulders and pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders.
“No one lasts for ever. Not anymore.”
Mrs. Tipton nodded slowly, sadly, and stepped aside.
“I’ve set aside a room for you on the top floor. It’s only been Annis up there for years and I think she could use the company.”
Together, they climbed the rickety old stairs through the lodging house. They could hear the sounds of the other boarders in their rooms. Annis was singing, her windows wide and her voice like the wind on the moors. Jenny’s door was thrown open and the smell of a stew simmering wafted into the corridors. One woman stood in her doorway in a gown that had fit once, had been considered elegant once. Now, it was tattered and her looks had long since faded. She smiled distantly at the pair as they passed by.
“I’ve heard, Mrs. Tipton, that there’s to be a play staged in my honor this evening. At the Globe, no less. Another of William’s bits of brilliance, I’m certain.”
Mrs. Tipton returned her smile and patted the woman’s hand reassuringly.
“That’s right, Titania, dear. I’m sure it will be just delightful.”
They left the Faerie Queen humming to herself and dancing through a glade that existed now only in her mind. Soon, they reached the top floor and the vacancy.
“This would be your room. Let me know if you need anything and if you’ve any questions about the rules, I’m sure Annis would be happy to help.”
The old woman looked at the tidy bed with its clean sheets.
“Once, I slept on an oven, you know.”
“I know, dearie.”
Mrs. Tipton watched as the woman went to the window.
“I never thought it would come to this. I thought if I could last through that wretched Stalin, I could last through anything. Even when they were afraid of the atom, they remembered to be afraid of me.”
Black Annis stood in the doorway, a sorrowful expression on her monstrous visage.
“Humans don’t need us monsters anymore, Baba Yaga. They’ve made worse than we could ever be out of themselves.”