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Name: Mary | Gender: female | Posts: 19 | Roses: 10
Old 02-27-2016 at 09:12 PM
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Unnatural Selection  Post [1] »

This little one-shot was written to answer a question often asked about the ALW stage version of Phantom. It has already been posted on, but as I'm new here, I wanted to contribute something to the forum.

Unnatural Selection

The Phantom always made it his business to be present, though unseen, on audition days. The standards of his Opera House must be maintained. Reyer and Giry were fairly good at their jobs, but Lefèvre would sometimes overrule them on a stupid whim. Lefèvre seemed very nervous these days. The Phantom wondered why. Perhaps he should pay the man more attention, let him know that his mentor kept an eye on him.

The would-be singers showed the usual spectrum, from hopelessly untalented to moderately competent. Some vacancies in the company would be filled, but there were no obvious stars in the group. Carlotta would have to reign for another season. But she and the audiences deserved each other. Many things would change when the time came for her to be replaced, but that time was not yet.

Although – the Phantom checked his list – that girl who had sung sixth in the group of ten… she had something. Her voice was true, but not strong. Her range was limited, but he felt that she had not yet realised her full potential. She was pretty, perhaps more than pretty, but had no talent for showing herself off. He watched her more closely. The hopefuls were asked to move about on stage, to sing snatches of different types of song, to come down to the footlights and talk about their background and experience.

Ah, that explained much about girl number six. Daughter of an itinerant violinist, singing and dancing at country fairs. No formal training, but music in her blood. Perhaps she could be the instrument he had yearned to find. He would put her to the test. She must be attached to the Opera House, but… he could not allow her to be placed with the chorus singers. That scarcely-audible strand of magic would be stamped out of her if she were trained in the group. There had to be another way.

When the auditions were over, Lefèvre returned to his office, grateful that there had been no disasters that day, but his nerves were not helped by the letter which he found on his desk. It was a list of the audition candidates, with comments in red ink attached to each. A few were marked "Accept." Several were "Reject." One was "Ought to be flogged for daring to come here." One was "No voice, good clothes. Offer post in Wardrobe." Against the name Daaé was the word "Ballet."

So the first part of the plan was in place. The Phantom neither knew nor cared what Madame Giry thought about having a barely-trained novice placed with her. Lefèvre had told her it was on the orders of the Opera Ghost, and there was no more to be said. Christine was relieved to have a job, even if not the one she had expected, and did her best. Next, though, the Phantom would have to separate her from the chattering flock of ballet rats. He had a plan for that.

The junior girls shared a large dressing room, but one morning they came in to find that a broken water pipe had brought down half of the ceiling, flooded the room and left it unusable. The girls had to be moved to anywhere with space for mirror, dressing table and hanging rail. They were put by threes and fours into some rooms, while others were assigned singly to mere closets. During the confusion, Madame Giry led Christine away from the others, unlocked a door, and said, "This is to be yours."

Some years ago, before the Phantom came to the Opera House, there had been a prima donna who wanted a dressing room apart from the others, to emphasize her own importance. A one-time store-room was lavishly equipped for her, and became the room of choice for the star of the day. But this did not suit the Phantom, when he found that Dressing Room 1 adjoined his most convenient route from the basements to the upper reaches of the building. Accidents started happening to costumes left in the room, and then to people who used the room. Theatre people are superstitious, and soon Dressing Room 1 became the Unlucky Room. No one would use it.

Christine gasped as she stepped into the generous space. "All this for me?!" Then she recalled the stories which the other girls whispered to one another. "Oh… is this not the Unlucky Room?"

Madame Giry fingered a note in her pocket. "For you, my dear… it may prove to be the Lucky Room."

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