(1941-12-08) Arts Club - Winter Rehearsal Practice
Details for Arts Club - Winter Rehearsal Practice
Summary: The Arts Club prepared for its Winter Pantomime
Date: December 8, 1941
Location: Auditorium
Plot: Arts Club - Winter Pantomime 1941
Related: The First Wizarding (Food) War

A steep flight of stairs, each of which doubles as a long row lined with a maximum of fifteen chairs crafted from pine, leads down to a small stage and dais at the room's bottom. The auditorium has no natural lighting, instead relying on candlelight, and the walls have been crafted from stone blocks, though most have been covered by intricately-designed tapestries whose fabrics shift and change shape depending on the production. The floor, meanwhile, is made from a hard, rough, black wood. The stage and dais are made from the same material as the floor. Enchanted silver megaphones that point from the stage outward makes even a whisper on the stage quite audible to the audience.

There are bright lights everywhere for once; sunlight charms have been affixed to the ceiling, giving it the illumination of the arcade or great hall in summer. It's necessary. People are bustling; one large corner of the audience seating has been sectioned off for the prop makers — the people styling their dresses, working their paintbrushes, and practicing their transfigurations. The stage itself is segmented, with half devoted to a (surprisingly quiet, given the number of people) choral practice, perhaps subject to magical muffling. The other half has three students engaged in a chaotic three-way duel with sticks that are clearly meant to be swords.

Professor Palancher herself is bouncing around like a pinball from point to point. The Professor of Muggle Studies is elegant, graceful, and fetchingly pretty, quite unlike your typical Hogwarts professor, and there's a not-unappreciable amount of distraction from the boys (and a few girls) when she walks past with her curly brown hair, soulful brown eyes and legs that go on and on forever. She pays the attention little mind and is focused on giving critique to whatever mass of students she's with at the time, always speaking with grace, poise, and dignity.

At the center of it all is a seventh-year Ravenclaw boy to whom puberty has not been terribly kind. 'Grease' is the first word that comes to mind when looking at him, from his oil-coiffed hair to the ridiculous wispy black mustache on his brow. He carries himself with a not-all-there-air and dreamily murmurs out orders here and there. To any who have been to the prior performances, they know him as Archimedes Lovegood, a pure-blooded boy who is the director of the play, with some very… avant-garde thoughts.

"No, no… this won't do. The Feng Shui of this performance has been completely disrupted; it's orthagonal to what will actually be delivered. This just will not do…" he says, with all the urgency and peril of a dozing boy who protests that he is not, in fact, sleepy.

Fortunately for her (as far as Medea is concerned) she's not actually been recruited to take place in the pagent. She's just here to take photos for the club's end-of-year chronicle so that they have a nice record of the Art Club's past accomplishments. The Sixth Year girl is hovering around the edges of the action snapping photos with her camera, tongue occasionally poking from the corner of her mouth as she focuses on lining up the perfect shot. She's doing her best not to give out contradictory information, but it's so hard not to ask them to move just to the right spot to make the perfect photo!

Over at the prop section, Dipper raises a textbook between herself and Medea when the latter comes near; dealing with crazy Lovegood was bad enough, but she wasn't interested in getting her photo taken. While the fifth-year lacked any real artistic talent, she could help out with props. And had been roped into doing so rather than just watching — probably Laurean's fault (again). "Summerbee, I thought everyone was supposed to help," she grumbled.

Wanting nothing more than to simply observe the goings-on of the Arts Club's preparations, John slips himself into a chair in the audience section, far off to one corner of the auditorium so as to draw as little attention to his presence as possible. The sixth year Slytherin keeps his head down, though his gaze darts about the auditorium with a bit more enthusiasm than he would let on.

He ends up sitting near to a, perhaps, familiar sixth-year redhead who's currently scribbling up a storm with her textbooks arrayed nearby: Phoenicia. She nods politely at John, but doesn't boom at him as she usually would, distracted with a letter she was writing. She chews on the tip of her quill and gets out a few more words. "G'afternoon, Mister Carrow," she adds almost absentmindedly.

Approaching to the prop section, Laurean brings some more conversation: "Oh, come on Dipper, it's not that bad. Let Medea take a good pic. She's helping with her best talent, which is photography. Always take the shot, right?" His gaze turns towards Medea while saying that. Although the young Maestro bears an expression of happiness, one can perceive signs of dark circles under his eyes, as if he hadn't rested well.

Approaching to the prop section, Laurean brings some more conversation: "Oh, come on Dipper, it's not that bad. Let Medea take a good pic. She's helping with her best talent, which is photography. Always take the shot, right?" His gaze turns towards Medea while saying that. Although the young Maestro bears an expression of happiness, one can perceive signs of dark circles under his eyes, as if he hadn't rested well.

"The flashes, Summerbee, the flashes. Please?" Dipper starts to plead when she gets a moment's reprieve from the camera when it whirls around and blinds her in the eyes. "Agh! C'mon! I know you're good at this but the light drives me crazy!"

John gives a bit of a start at the sound of Phoenicia's voice, clearly having not expected to be addressed - let alone by name. It takes him but a moment to recognize the source of that greeting and he gives the redhead a somewhat appraising look. "Miss Phillips," he murmurs by way of greeting after a moment, if a bit stiffly. Still, he does not make to move to a different seat, rather producing one of his own textbooks - likely to appear less the nosy onlooker moreso than to actually get any studying done - as he adds, "Didn't realize you had an interest in the Arts club."

"I used tae go, before this year. Busy wi' classes." Phoenicia straightened up and smiled down at Medea from her vantage point, only to cringe instead when Lovegood got belted about the back of his head with a prop-sword he backed into. "Och! Tha' boy needs tae watch where 'e's 'eaded! Thought I'd come fer moral support. What brings ye 'ere?"

Laurean chuckles at Dipper's pleadings. In order to assist his friend a little, the seventh year Ravenclaw makes a facetious impression of a sturdy bodyguard with a harsh voice: "Alright, you've heard the lady. No more pictures. No more questions."

Laurean's posturing makes Medea break into giggles. "I'm not even using the flash that much, calm down! Sheesh!" She waves her small pocket camera in demonstration. "But I'll stop if you really want me to." She positions the camera to snap a picture of Laurean, then turns to start taking some shots of the stage.

On the stage, Archimedes is recovering from the whack to the head he just took; however, he seems to be satisfied with the new arithmantic arrangement of the singers, who are confused but admittedly, despite the quieting charm, can be heard a bit more clearly and more richly. All the same, Professor Palancher's on a beeline over, having left the section of the audience where the people with speaking lines were practicing.

Now that she was gone, a small argument seemed to be brewing over there between the witch and the wizard recognizable as the pantomime's two leading roles…

"Eh, curiosity," John reluctantly admits, his gaze temporarily drawn towards the commotion by the students producing props, though he looks at Phoenicia once more. He shrugs his shoulders as he continues, "Figured I could slip in unnoticed and just…have a watch for a bit." He turns his gaze back towards his text, then, if only halfheartedly, glancing up now and then towards the brewing argument.

"Mm." Phee quietly acknowledges John's answer, then returns her eyes to her textbook, with considerably more interest. It was a copy of the sixth year textbook, Advanced Defensive Magic: Curses and Counter-Curses by Jerus Anedge, but she was several chapters ahead of where the class was presently. In the book was a painting and a caption that John could make out if he strained to look: Myrus Odium Carrow, Dark Beastmaster.

Dipper smiled gratefully over at Laurean and returned to item she was working on, a white papier-mache stone block; it was meant to go with the larger structure she was standing next to, a false fountain. Though transfiguration was used frequently as part of the play, physical objects were needed too, especially for more complicated set pieces. "Do you really think it's a good idea that we're restaging a play that ended up with the Great Hall on fire about twenty years ago?" she asked, after a moment to look. The pantomime was based on a lot of the tales of Beedle the Bard, but the centerpiece was, of course, based on the Fountain of Fair Fortune. Its last performance at the school had been legendarily catastrophic.

While helping Dipper with the props, Laurean thinks about her question for a second before answering: "Well, I don't like to be superstitious when it comes to theatrical arts, but I would prefer to preserve the Great Hall at least before leaving the castle." Clearly, a reference of the latest chaotic situation in which the Great Hall was involved. Remembering that night with a deep sigh of sorrow, the Ravenclaw shakes his head and tries to think about more positive things.

Medea shrug in response to Dipper's question. "Ah, I don't think it's all too big of a deal. Mostly superstition, isn't it? I'm sure it'll be fine. 'Less Peeves gets any funny ideas, of course," she mutters and looks around as if the poltergeist might be lurking about waiting to cause trouble. That done, she turns her camera back on Phoenicia to take yet another picture of the red-head, her cheeks flushing a little.

John seems to eye Phonicia's textbook for a moment before snorting somewhat dismissively. "Working quite a bit ahead, eh?" he asks, lips pursed as his eyes return to his own copy of that same text, though he has only begun leafing through the chapter covering dementors. He leans a bit away from the redhead near him as he hears the shutter of Medea's camera going off once more and he murmurs, "Looks like you've got yourself a fan, Phillips."

The arguments coming from the actors' block were getting… sharp. And unpleasant. Professor Palancher glanced back, weighed her options, and continued to gently give Archimedes guidance on 'directors keeping their hands to themselves', though at an accelerated pace now.

"I always dae. I read a few months ahead, then gae back and dae more in-depth readin' later. Let it sit in me napper an' stew in advanc-" Phee's measured commentary turned into a somewhat ear-piercing squeal — it was only 'somewhat' because it was quieted, but stil very high pitched — when John called her attention to her photographer. Red-faced, she did a little wave and a big smile before buring her blushing face back in her book. "Ahahaha- seems I dae…"

"Ugh, don't remind me about last night," Dipper says with a groan. "I sat underneath the table hiding for an hour, never threw a thing, and then Pringles catches me and accuses me of welching so I've got to clean the armor gallery today."

Laurean nods while Dipper describes her punishment. "Matches with Pringle's style for sure. Unfounded accusations combined with severe discipline… sorry to hear that, Dipper. Just out of curiosity, what did you do under the Slytherin table while all that chaos was on?" Even when trying to forget about something, the young Maestro couldn't help being inquisitive.

Medea snaps a quick picture of Phee waving at her. Then Phee's reaction and John's apparent comment brings a completely scarlet blush to Medea's face and she whirls around to hurriedly focus on taking pictures of the stage and the professor. Nothing going on here, certainly. She's just hiding her blush, yep. She's grinning though, big and wide and altogether far too pleased with herself. She focuses the camera on Laurean and Dipper again, taking a quick (flash-less) candid shot.

"A lady has her secrets, Maestro," she said coyly. Dipper was probably doing more divining while she was under there, otherwise she'd have come out in less than an hour. The smug smile on her face didn't last, though, becoming a deep scowl when she caught Medea taking her picture again — sure, it wasn't with flash, but… well, she just didn't like having her picture taken. With an irritable grunt, she turned about so she was facing the fountain instead.

"Weren't you supposed to be helping, too?" she asks Laurean pointedly.

John allows himself a snicker, shifting himself back into a more natural position in his seat as he drawls out, "Aah, I certainly didn't mean to embarrass you, Phillips," though his tone leaves some doubt to the sincerity of that statement. His attention turns back to his text and he underlines a few particularly important parts of the passage he was reading before adding, "If you're not careful your

"I'm… I'm nae embarrassed. Yer embarrassed," Phoenicia mumbled lamely, then scribbled a few things. "Be…cause…there's naethin' embarrassin'…"

Crickets chirped. No, literally, crickets chirped. A lot of them. It was a little odd, in point of fact, and she looked around to see what was causing it; on the far side of the prop section, there seemed to be a small flood of them jumping out everywhere — as more students started notice, a mixture of nervous laughter and creeped out squeals overtook the auditorium.

"Ah… sorry…!" One bespectacled Hufflepuff suddenly cried out. He was halfway covered in crickets and trying to shake them off. "I uh… On the bright side, the bug transfiguration spell does work for the plague scene…!"

Well, that caught the professor's attention; she abandoned her instruction of Archimedes and smoothly stepped up the aisle with a pleasant smile, heading to see what she could do to undo the latest minor catastrophe. All the while, the two actors kept arguing…

Medea grins at Dipper, then breaks into giggles at the sight of the crickets. She can't help it! Still blushing madly, she moves to take some pictures of the ongoing bug disaster, focusing on her work to avoid any lingering glances at Phee.

"Right, right," John manages, just barely holding back an outright laugh at Phoenicia's expense. "I think," he murmurs after a moment, shutting his book and tucking it away, "that I will be heading back to my common room. "Do try not to embarrass yourself too much in front of your admirer, Phillips. Better to maintain a good impression." With that, he rises from his seat and proceeds to make his way out of the auditorium, still snickering to himself.

Laurean smirks at Dipper. "Oh, seems like someone doesn't like to be the center of attention." The seventh year keeps assisting her while making gestures to catch Medea's attention: "I'll distract her so you can take a better shot", he mutters to her fellow housemate moving his lips widely to make the statement more understandable from afar. "Hey Dipper, have you seen that? Crickets! What a crazy week!" Laurean helps himself with gestures of surprise towards the bug infestation.

Dipper shudders and takes a few quick steps backwards — she wasn't fond of animals to begin with, insects and arachnids least of all, and the crickets were on the high end of the auditorium. It was only logical they would descend, and they were certainly hopping in that direction.

Professor Palancher was making quick, graceful strides up the aisle and pointing her wand this way and that — each jab followed by the word 'Nomorphus!' and a pulse of blue that counterspelled a mass of crickets to what they had originally been: kernels of rice. But there were an awful lot of them…

"Numpty Slytherin," Phee muttered to herself, dragging herself into a little embarrassed ball. Thank goodness the crickets were taking everyone else's attention.

Laurean puts his hand on Dipper's shoulder in order to calm her nerves. "Don't worry. Just make sure you don't make sudden movements. Stepping back quietly… like so." The seventh year takes a few steps backwards too, but very slowly, without losing his composure.

Augustina shook her shoulder free of the hand. "They're bugs! They're creepy, not dangerous. 'No sudden movements', hmph. Now… if this happens backstage at the show, I'll be bloody upset, but there'll be a hundred other things to happen before I worry about making sudden movements."

Laurean realises that his concern was exaggerated and feels a bit stupid for a moment. "You're right. I just… nevermind. We're not in real danger, so it doesn't matter." The young Maestro tightened his lips while saying that, his expression was quite bizarre, as if he had tasted something really bitter.

Dipper laughed and she patted him on HIS shoulder. "A little on edge after the craziness last night, Maestro?" she teased.

Laurean grumbled a little because of Dipper's tease and turned his gaze towards Phoenicia before answering: "You can joke, but I should have seen that accident coming. It was my fault… I've been hearing the creak of the wand all night. This feeling of remorse and failure is killing me. I should do something about it."

The Slytherin shrugged and put her hands behind her head; Professor Palancher nearly had reverted all of the crickets back into their base form, so there was nothing else to be creeped out about. "…She doesn't seem that angry about it from what you said last night, so I don't see why you see it as such a big deal. She'll just get another one over the winter holidays. Now are you going to help me with this fountain prop, or not?"

Laurean continued assisting Dipper with the fountain while considering her last words. "Oh, but it's more than just a wand, this is about the sentimental value. All the memories are now broken. First spells, magical duels… they're gone. So this is a matter of honor now. I'll have to find a way to fix my mistake." The Ravenclaw's expression was very determined and solemn. He really cared about it.

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