Zoe Baker works in a bookstore. She also likes acting, and she has a part in the play Romeo and Juliet. Mike Morrison writes about the play for the newspaper. What does he write about Zoe? Is Zoe a good actress… or is she just “a pretty face”? What does Zoe think when she reads the newspaper? What does she do?
1 Zoe is angry.
The Newport Players do six plays every year, and Zoe is in most of them. Some plays are exciting, and some plays are famous. This week, the play is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
A lot of people are coming to see it.” Zoe thinks. “I must act well.”
“One day I want to be famous.” he thinks.
“Do you want to write a review of Romeo and Juliet for the newspaper. Mike?” she asks him. “The Newport Players are doing the play tonight at the Little Theatre.”
“Yes, please. Aunt Peggy!” Mike says. “Thanks for asking me.”
Mike goes into the theatre and sits at the front. He gets out his notebook and pen ready to write notes for his review. There are a lot of people in the audience.
Five minutes later, the play begins.
Mike is watching her.
“She’s very pretty and she’s doing her best.” he thinks. But it’s not easy to act the part of an older woman. She’s only sixteen or seventeen years old, and we all know it.”
He begins to write in his notebook.
“And Zoe Baker acts the part of Juliet’s mother. She has a pretty face and she speaks her words well. But she is a young girl in an older woman’s costume, and we all know it. She can never make me believe differently.”
“Who is this Mike Morrison?” she thinks. “What does he know about acting?”
2 Zoe has an idea
Suddenly, Zoe sees a boy sitting at a table across the room. “Who’s that boy?” she asks Annie.
“Mike?” Zoe says. “Mike who?”
“Mike Morrison.” Annie says.
“That’s Mike Morrison?” Zoe says. She is furious.
“Yes. Why?” Annie asks.
“He writes reviews for the Newport Weekly News,” Zoe says.
“That’s right.” Annie says. “His aunt is the editor. He … oh!” She stops suddenly and looks at Zoe. “The review of Romeo and Juliet.”
But Zoe isn’t laughing. “Yes, all right!” she says furiously, and she begins to get up from her chair. Then she stops, suddenly.
“No.” Zoe says. “I have a better idea. Does he come into this cafe often?”
“Every Tuesday and Thursday evening. I think.” Annie says. “He has a writing class at the college, and he comes here after it finishes.”
“Is it?” Annie says. She looks across at Mike Morrison, then at Zoe. “Why is it interesting? What are you thinking of doing?”
“Tell me, am I good actress?” Zoe asks.
“Yes, you are.” Annie says. “But—”
“OK.” Zoe says. “I’m a good actress and I want to prove it to Mr Mike-Nice-Face-Morrison.”
Zoe smiles and begins to tell Annie about her idea …
3 A difficult interview
He asks for a cup of coffee, then starts to read one of his books. Some minutes later, a woman comes into the cafe. She is carrying a magazine under her arm.
At first, Mike does not see the woman. Then she comes across to his table.
Mike is surprised. “Yes.” he says. “That’s me.”
The woman smiles. “Can I sit at this table?” she asks. “Yes, of course.” Mike says.
She sits down and puts the magazine on the table in front of Mike.
“Yes, I know it.” Mike says. “It’s a magazine about famous people.”
“That’s right.” Kate says. “Do you want to write something for it? Can you do an interview for me?”
“You sometimes write theatre reviews for the Newport weekly newspaper.” she says. “Is that right?”
“Yes, I do.” he says. “I want to write plays one day, and—” “Well, do this interview for my magazine then.” she says. “It’s with a famous playwright. He lives in Newport.”
“OK!” he says. “When can I do it?”
“Tomorrow morning.” Kate says. “You must tell Marin. “This interview is for Yes! magazine.” But tell him after you get into the house. OK?”
“OK,” Mike says.
4 Todd Marin’s house
“… so I say to him, “I’m the editor of Yes! magazine and can you interview Todd Marin?”” Zoe tells Annie.
“Todd Marin!” Annie says. “But he throws gossip magazine reporters out of his house!”
“I know!” Zoe says, laughing. “And I want to stand outside his house and watch Todd Marin throw Mike Morrison out!”
“I don’t like Yes! magazine very much, but this is an important interview.” Mike thinks. “And perhaps I can talk to Todd Marin about my play.” (Mike is writing a play for television.)
She hides behind one of the bushes in front of Todd Marin’s house and watches Mike go to the front door. It is a big dark house.
When Todd Marin opens the door of his house. Mike begins to talk quickly.
“Hello, Mr Marin.” he says. “I’m Mike Morrison. I’m a student at Newport College, and I want to write plays.”
“Do you?” Todd Marin says.
“What do you want from me?” Todd Marin asks.
“Can I ask you some questions?” Mike says.
“Why?” Marin asks. “Is it for the Newport Weekly News?”
Then, after a second or two, he says, “It . . . it’s for Yes! magazine. Listen, I know it’s a stupid magazine, but…”
“Come into the house.” Todd Marin says suddenly.
5 Zoe waits
Zoe smiles. “Right, he’s in the house.” she thinks. “Now let’s wait for Todd Marin to throw him out!”
“Thank you for telling me the truth.” he says to Mike. “I can see you’re an honest young man. You can ask your questions. But not for Yes! magazine. You’re right. It is a stupid magazine. I hate gossip magazines. Why do people write for them?”
“Because they pay a lot of money. I believe.” Mike says.
“Yes, that’s OK.” Mike says, and he smiles at Todd Marin happily.
“I like to help young writers with ideas when I can.” Todd says kindly. “Sit down.”
“I read your reviews in the newspaper sometimes,” Todd says. “They’re very good.”
“Well. I think they’re OK.” Mike says. “But I want to write for the theatre, for TV, and for movies. I’m writing a play now.”
“Can I?” Mike asks. “Well, it’s about a boy and a girl.”
“A boy and a girl?”
“That’s right. They…”
“What are they doing in there?” she thinks. Todd Marin never gives interviews to gossip magazines, so what are they talking about?”
about waiting for
“How long must I wait?” she thinks impatiently.
6 Telling the truth
They talk for two or three minutes and Zoe watches them from behind the bush. She is amazed.
“What’s happening?” she thinks. “Why are they so friendly?”
Mike sees Kate Lawson waiting for him.
“Oh, hello.” he says nervously. He is surprised to see her so soon. “Are you waiting for me?”
“Yes.” she says impatiently. “I’m waiting for your interview.”
“But what?” Kate begins.
“What can two people talk about for an hour and a half?” Mike says, laughing. About writing, about characters and about plot. Nothing for Yes magazine. I’m afraid. Oh, I have my list of questions and Mr Marin’s answers, but my interview is for the Newport Weekly News. And I know a lot more about writing plays now. He’s very interested in my play.”
“Yes. I’m writing a play for TV.” Mike says. “And Mr Marin wants to read it. He can help me with the characters and the plot.”
“You’re angry,” Mike says. “Listen, I’m sorry about the interview for Yes!”
“She’s wearing a wig!” Mike thinks, amazed.
Next, she takes off her glasses and she smiles at Mike. And now he knows her.
“That’s right.” Zoe says. I’m a seventeen-year-old girl in an older woman’s costume, Mr Mike Morrison, review writer for the Newport Weekly News!”
“No, there isn’t.” Zoe says, laughing. “What do you think now? Does this prove something? Am I a good actress?” “Yes, you are a good actress.” Mike says, laughing with her. “And I’m going to put that in the Newport Weekly News.”
“Are you?” Zoe says.
“Now I can get help with my play.” he says. “Come on, let’s get a cup of coffee. And I’m paying!”
“Well, I can’t refuse a free coffee!” Zoe says, and she laughs.