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Stage Fright - Fiction (Grade 5)

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Stage Fright - Fiction

Even through the heavy curtain, Marcus could hear the audience's excited whispers. He closed his eyes and imagined himself darting out the back door of the stage area.

“Maybe I'll leave town!” he thought wildly. “I can start a new life somewhere else.”

That would have to be easier than this. Tonight was the school's first performance of The Day the Kids Ruled the School, and Marcus was starring in the lead role. He had worked for months to memorize his lines, but his stomach was still tied in knots.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is it!" whispered Mrs. LaMountain, the drama teacher, to the assembled students. "From this moment on, you will no longer be mere students - you will be actors!"

Despite his teacher's melodramatic words, Marcus felt a thrill of anticipation. He had always wanted to become an actor and star in his own blockbuster movie, but his speech impediment, a stutter he had never been able to overcome, seemed to make that dream impossible. When he found out that his hero, actor Bruce Willis, had also suffered from a stutter as a child, he decided to face his fears and try out for the school play. Now, as he waited for the curtain to open, his fears returned.

"Curtains up!" called Mrs. LaMountain. Marcus was dazzled by the bright lights as the curtain lifted. He felt the audience's eyes on him as he opened his mouth to speak.

"I . . . I . . ." He tried to speak, but his words got tangled up in his mouth.
“I know my lines!” he wanted to shout. They just won't come out of my mouth right! Across the stage, Janie Fisher came to his rescue.

"What do you think we should do for our senior year, Ted?" asked Janie, speaking her lines in a strong, confident voice. Marcus took a deep breath and fixed his eyes on Janie instead of the audience.

"I think we should rule the school!" he replied, in the cocky voice of his character, Ted.

As long as he kept his eyes on Janie, he could say his lines as smoothly as he had in practice. Maybe there's a future for me in acting after all, he dared to hope.
According to the story, how does Janie affect Marcus during the play?
  1. She gets the drama teacher to replace him at the last minute.
  2. She tells him that even famous people, like Bruce Willis, stutter.
  3. She causes him to laugh onstage and ruin his performance.
  4. She helps him get the courage to continue his performance.
Even though the story is written in third person it is similar to first person because...
  1. You can see the thoughts of multiple characters
  2. You can tell how Marcus is feeling
  3. You can get a single perspective
  4. You can discover what happened during the play
How would the story be different if it were narrated in first person from Janie's point of view?

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