I had been so nervous that day that I could feel a storm of butterflies in my stomach. My palms refused to stay dry while my throat stubbornly remained dry. It was a day that I had been waiting for three months. It had taken three months of rehearsals before our annual school play was finally ready for its audience. By a stroke of luck and some acting skills I had managed to score one of the lead roles in the play. I nervously peeked through the onstage curtains and looked at the enormous crowd of people who had turned up. I knew that I would very shortly find out what it feels to have hundreds of eyes on you.
I fidgeted in my tight costume and wished once again that my tailor had done a better job. The play’s director showed up once more and gave all the actors and backstage crew a short motivational talk. I took it to mean that I better perform my best or else. My heart was a nervous wreck from beating erratically when the cue was given for my entrance on stage. I steadied my nerves and gracefully stepped forward. I had memorized the lines a thousand times so I wasn’t too worried about messing up my dialogues. My role as a ‘damsel in distress’ required that I barge on stage in a melodramatic manner.
What happened next was completely unexpected. One of the lighting wires caught onto my shoe and I tumbled head first onto the stage. I heard the audience gasp. In a different situation I would’ve loved that reaction but in the current situation that I was in, it only helped to turn my face into a crimson shade. My hands stung from taking the fall but it was my pride that was badly bruised. I had managed to turn my entry into a spectacle for the entire school. I was sure that somewhere in the audience people were holding back their laughter.
I knew that the fall had torn part of my costume. I wondered if I could take a chance of getting up and evaluating the damage. Another crucial second passed by and to my horror I saw the director backstage wildly waving at me to get up. With as much grace as I could muster, I slowly got up and ad-libbed a few dialogues to accompany my fall. In my head I could hear the director’s words:
“The show must go on.”
Thankfully the audience seemed to think my dramatic fall was part of the act and I continued the rest of the play without any eventful occurrence except for the standing ovation at the end.