From Episode # 1 The Abduction of Callie
Callie loved having her own dressing room. It was small, but neat. Her costumes and props fit tidily into the uncomplicated wooden closets along the wall. Her mirror was unadorned, but the workmanship was excellent, and she could see herself clearly in the smooth polished surface. The candles along the wall were good quality, if inexpensive wax, and there was hardly ever a breeze to distort her work light. A smart little brass plaque hung over the door with her full name, Calliope Winters. The only thing missing was a star, but she was beginning to think she might never see one of those over her door. Calliope Winters was an understudy. That was one of the curses of the theatre. There would only ever be one lead actress, and no matter how talented Callie was, it was Veronica Silversong.
Callie’s petite build was perfect for acting. The elaborate dresses she wore to play her roles were heavy, sometimes, so she was stronger than she looked. Her eyes were deep brown pools which stole her audience, and her raven hair and milky skin in the right lighting gave her the appearance of a porcelain doll. Her voice was clear and strong. When she wore the radiant garb of a states woman, she sparkled with poise and confidence. When she played a lowly page boy, or a villain she blended with the shadows. Her skill range was wide, much wider than the lead actress could perform, but she didn’t have the social connections Veronica had, so she was stuck in second place.
Wilbur Finkler, an uneasy man who managed the acting troop, tapped lightly on the open door. He was wringing his hands anxiously. When he was nervous, he had a habit of chewing on whatever was lying around. This often included non food items as well, like paper, pens, and scarves. “She’s not here Callie.” He moaned, his high pitched speech was slurred.
“Who’s not here?” She teased. Callie knew Veronica wasn’t present two hours ago, when she went to help the starlet into costume. The door was locked, and there was no answer to her insistent pounding. She’d known then she was going to be playing the lead that evening. Veronica was inconsiderate like that, but Callie was prepared any time to take on her role as the understudy.
“It’s Ms. Silversong,” he whined pitifully “She still hasn’t arrived, and the play is supposed to start in five minutes.” If Mr. Finkler hadn’t been so busy wringing his hands and being frustrated, he would have noticed Callie was in the hoop skirt costume, and ready for her five minute curtain call.
“That’s why you hired me.” She smiled kindly at the little man, kissing him lightly on the forehead, and abstracting the lacey glove that was making its way towards his mouth. “It’s not like anyone’s going to notice a difference.” Callie pulled the lacey glove, along with its partner, over her dainty hands. Aside from the birthmark that covered her right hand, a strange discoloration that went from the tips of her fingers to half way up her forearm, the rest of her looked remarkably like the actress she was substituting for. This was both a blessing, because it was why she got the job, and a curse because Veronica took full advantage of their odd resemblance, claiming reviews that she hadn’t earned and using Callie to cover any absence.
Callie reminded herself that her bills were paid, even if there wasn’t much left after, and one day someone was going to notice her. One day, she hoped, she would be seen as a star in her own right, and not just the understudy. With these high hopes bolstering her confidence, she swept out of the dressing room, to greet her audience.