Written by Ma. Angelica M. Domingo
Performed by Chia Andrea T. Tumbagahan
From Jawili Integrated School
“No! Don’t go. I promise to do anything, anything! Just stay with me, please!” “Cut!” I can hear it already, my co-stars telling me how proud they are that they have experienced acting with me. I can hear how the director congratulates me for having single takes in all my scenes. I can hear the applause, applause. I live for the applause!
“Earth to Tekla!” of course, my older sister had to wake me up from my sweet daydream. “Let’s go! We need to sell all of our veggies if you want to be home by lunch time!” She pulled my hand. “Ouch! Be gentle on my skin. You know how I need to be flawless for my audition!” I reminded her. “Whatever, your majesty! I think you forgot your to wear your malunggay crown!” my sister said, mocking me. “Just wait until I wear my crown. It will be bedazzled with diamonds, shining, sitting perfectly on my head!” I said and went back to daydreaming as we walk.
When that time comes, I will walk no more. I will have a limousine which I will ride wherever I will go. I will have a handful of servants waiting for my orders. I will have thousands of admirers and suitors, all vying for my love and attention. Most of all, I will have millions of fans with resounding applause, applause for each of my performance. I live for the applause!
“Earth to Tekla!” of course, my mother had to wake me up from my sweet daydream. “Go and wash the laundry. I have to go and join the barangay’s free Zumba sessions. “Can I join, mother? I need to be a bit slimmer in preparation for my audition.” I answered. “Well, all you have to do is give up your dinner. At least, there will be more for Toto, for Totoy, for Nene, for Inday, and for Bebe.” My mother said before she turned to leave. I was speechless but I went back to my daydream nevertheless.
When that time comes, I will gorge on tender, juicy steaks. I will drink the finest wine. I will have the sweetest dessert. I will even endorse my favorite fast food chain as my fans watch my TV ad and give it an admiring applause, applause. I live for the applause.
On the day of the audition, I was wearing my friend’s cocktail dress. My neighbour showed his support by doing my hair and makeup for free. I borrowed my sister’s school shoes. I used the trial cologne in a nearby convenience store. I asked for fare from my mother and she was generous enough to add her laughter before I go. Well, at least she wished me luck.
I wasn’t nervous at all. I live for this. I live for the applause.
I saw the TV network’s gate. There must be hundreds of hopeful girls like me waiting in line. “Hi! Is this the line for the audition?” I asked a girl with skin as white as snow. I felt a bit insecure with my dark skin. She rolled her eyes and answered, “Duh!” Then, she turned her back. How mean! “What’s that smell?” An ultra-thin girl asked as she crinkled her nose. That’s when I remembered the ibis that I packed for the guard. I heard that when you give them something, they will let you in.
I left my spot in the line and went straight to the gate. I had to squeeze and push my way in but nothing can come in the way of a determined heart like mine.
“Manong! This is for you.” I said. “Wow! Ibis! I miss this. Where are you from?” He asked. “I am from Tangalan, Aklan.” I answered. That was when he winked at me and said “I’m from Aklan too!” She motioned for me to go to the side where there was a smaller, closed gate. He let me in and gave me a number.
I walked in with my head held high. I outsmarted them. I can imagine how many times I will be able to outsmart them all until I reach the top and hear all the applause, applause. I live for the applause.
“#113!” a woman shouted. That’s my number. I walked into a room where she pointed and added a little sway to my hips as I walked. Once inside, I saw three stern looking men and a woman who was smiling warmly at me.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked. “Teresita Templo, 16, from Tangalan Aklan.” I said, ending my introduction with my signature pose. “Dance.” They said. I did. No applause was heard. “Sing.” They said “I wanna go back to the island called Boracay…” but they did not let me finish. That was just one line. No applause. “Act.” They said. “Father, mother! Where are you! Why did you leave me.” No applause. “Thank you. We’ll call you.” They said.
My heart broke a bit. I know exactly what that meant. I went out, looking at the ground as I walk. My tears started to fall. “How was it?” asked the guard. I shook my head but to my surprise he smiled. “That’s OK. There will be another audition next week.” I felt myself smile. I cheered up a bit. Well, tomorrow is another day. Another possibility to get applause, applause. I live for the applause.