• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 03
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Beauty and the Beast

The mask was sweaty against my face. Exposing my shining fleshy face to those bright lights had never felt more unappealing. The stage was so hot I thought the plastic might melt the mask to my skull, trapping me forever in this all-too-fitting character. The Beast.

I had always known I didn’t ‘look the part’. When I was a young I would go round to other little girls’ houses and play dress up. Even in frills and lace I felt ganglier and more solid than they were. Dancing around, as they did, they’d seem like little pixies. I was a dwarf. Even in princess attire I’d end up the villain. In 'Snow White' I was the queen. I was the sea witch in many a rendition of The Little Mermaid. By the age of ten I had been every wicked queen that exists in myth, legend and Disney.

But it wasn’t so bad – I was good at playing the villain. Great even. I’ve been every single school play, and I happily auditioned for this one. This has not been a good experience. But I suppose I did it to myself. I could have auditioned for the chorus or one of the townspeople. Male or female… nobody minds when there are no boys around. I didn’t have to go for a lead. But that little ugly girl in a frilly frock got the better of me.

Needless to say I didn’t get Belle. I turned up, sang my best soprano, and got duly appointed as “the other lead”. I tried to back out but there’s not much you can do when you audition for beauty and get the beast. I suppose it was only to be expected. It was an unspoken judgement but I got the message all the same: The mask was an improvement.