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Story continues from Friday:
At half past three, all the Year Fives who wanted to be in the Christmas concert went to the hall to audition for Ms Robinson and Mr Beardsley. There were more parts available than actors to play them so Luke felt confident he’d get something. He was expecting to have to get up on stage and recite a line or two from the play, as he’d seen done in a movie once. However, when Ms Robinson saw how few people had turned up she simply asked for a show of hands for each role. If only one person raised their hand for a particular role, they got it. If more than one person raised their hand, Mr Beardsley drew one of their names from a hat. Luke felt this diminished the accomplishment somewhat. He was the only applicant for the role of Third Spirit so the part was his, in addition he was pressed to play Jacob Marley which he was happy to do. Simon Butler would play Ebenezer Scrooge as an old man, a young man and a child. Katia got the parts of young Scrooge’s sweetheart and Mrs Cratchit; Kenny got Bob Cratchit, Fezziwig and the coachman; Tania wanted to play Scrooge’s nephew and Scrooge’s sister because she thought it would add realism to have some discernible family resemblance between those characters. Her wish was granted. And so it went on. Children were permitted to leave after their roles were assigned and by a quarter past five only a few minor roles remained to be cast. Joe and Luke were the only children left in the hall. Luke was waiting for Joe who, for almost two hours, had waited patiently for an opportunity to ask if he could paint the scenery. He had brought with him some preliminary sketches of ideas for backdrops and costumes but when he approached Ms Robinson, she misunderstood his reason for being there.
“Okay Joe, that leaves us with Scrooge’s Servant, the Gentleman Visitor, the Cook, and the Butcher. Do you think you can handle those?”
Joe went white in the face.
“er, no, he don’t want them,” said Luke, stepping in.
“Excuse me, I was talking to Joe,” said Ms Robinson, quite testily. “Come on Joe, they’re only small parts, you can do those for me can’t you?”
Joe looked at the sketchbook in his hands.
“I brought these …” he mumbled nervously.
“What was that? You’ll do it? Thank you Joe,” and she wrote his name next to the character names on her clipboard.
Joe looked at Luke with panic in his eyes.
“No, he’s not doin’ the actin’, he’s good at paintin’ scenery. He’ll be too busy paintin’ to do any actin’,” said Luke persuasively.
Ms Robinson looked at Luke as if her patience was at an end.
“This is nothing to do with you. If Joe didn’t want to do it he would have said so. Please credit him with enough intelligence to speak for himself and stop interfering.” She turned back to Joe. “Okay Joe?”
Joe nodded his assent.
Ms Robinson closed her clipboard and began to pack up her things. Luke knew full well that Joe was only there because he’d asked him to be. He couldn’t let him get lumbered with this.
“No,” he said with determination “Joe don’t wanna do it. That’s not why he came. He daren’t say it coz you’re in a mood, but he definitely don’t wanna do it!”
Ms Robinson glared at him in that all too familiar way.
“Luke. Walker,” she said slowly as if something had just occurred to her, “you’re the one Cathy Tebbut warned me about.”
At this point Mr Beardsley, who had witnessed the entire interaction, decided it was time to intervene.
“Can I have a word Ms Robinson?” he asked.
She glared again at Luke and then stepped aside to speak to her colleague. Luke sat down on the floor next to Joe.
“Sorry,” he said.
“S’oright,” his friend replied.
After a few minutes of hushed discussion Ms Robinson left. Mr Beardsley walked over to the boys.
“Ms Robinson and I have been thinking,” he said, “it doesn’t work very well to have an odd number of pupils in a class because when we need you to work with a partner, there’s always an odd one out.”
The boys nodded. That was true.
“So,” Mr Beardsley went on, “it’s better to have twenty six or twenty four pupils in a class than twenty five.”
The boys nodded again.
“So, Ms Robinson has agreed that it would be a good idea for you to transfer to my class Joe, if that’s alright with you.”
Joe’s now very enthusiastic nod was accompanied by a wide smile. Luke smiled too.
“Okay then,” said Mr Beardsley, smiling back at them, “I’ll see you both, ten to nine, on Monday.” He started to turn away before adding, “oh, and Joe, Ms Robinson said she’d be delighted to have your help with the scenery because she’s going to give some of the Year 4 kids the opportunity to audition for the minor roles.”
He winked and walked away.
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Luke Walker paperbacks:
Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (the first eight chapters); More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (chapters nine to sixteen); and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook are available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada 🙂 but if you’d prefer to mail order them through us, get in touch 😀