by Anna Schwartz. @annajschwartz.
AMESBURY, Mass. - 17-year old Julie Romero has developed severe pneumonia after taking a midnight walk in last night’s rainstorm - which she claims is preparation for her role as Eponine Understudy #2 in her high school’s production of Les Misérables.
“I wanted to cultivate compassion for my character,” Romero said through strained breaths as she practiced her corset-wearing technique. “I needed to put myself in her shoes for an authentic performance, just in case both Bobbie and Alma get sick or injured or attacked or something.”
Rick Steele, who was persuaded into a third senior year to play both Jean Valjean and Javert since no other guys auditioned, shared his opinion on Romero’s illness.
“I mean, Julie always pulls these stunts,” Steele noted as he practiced his self-on-self stage combat. “She just wants attention. Freshman year she joined the cheer team for Bring it On, but practice conflicted with rehearsals, so she just ended up as a JV cheerleader. Then we did Mamma Mia!, and she read her mom’s old diaries. Her dad is really her dad, but he’s also wanted for embezzlement. Or he was before Julie got him arrested.”
Mrs. Huntington, Romero’s underpaid drama teacher, appeared consistently unimpressed and fed up with Romero’s antics.
“That girl needs to spend more time studying how to sing and less time studying for the LSAT if she wants a chance at playing Elle Woods this spring,” said Huntington in between sips of pure coffee grounds from her Don't Make Me Use My Director Voice mug. “I’m honestly too scared to stage Chicago. She’s not married of course, but that boyfriend of hers might need to watch out…”
At press time, Romero was explaining how bullying the little girl she babysits helps her feel Eponine’s guilt for mistreating Cosette. She then issued a formal request for help in her search for a pet cow, a red jacket, a blonde friend, and one very expensive shoe.