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Once in late autumn the drama department decided to put on a Shakespeare play for the school production. The year before was something by Robert Swindles and was a rather extravagant production with a special setting, including hiring scaffolding and various other props with the school's funding. The cast were rather apprehensive about the amount being spent and later Ms Hamlet admitted that they had overspent. It was to her and our relief that all nine hundred tickets for the three nights of the show had been sold out and so there was more than enough money to pay back the school and put extra for next years production.

It was extremely entertaining play, my mother cried when several of the characters died. She had to be reminded by my sister who sat next to her that it was only a play. Yet when I'd rubbed my makeup and emerged from backstage my mother greeted me with a frown on her face.

'You were really horrible and stuck up!' she exclaimed instead of congratulating me on my performance. 'I didn't like you at all.'

'Mum? She was supposed to be horribly stuck up, and impatient and everything.'

'Still!' my mother insisted firmly. 'Oh all right,' she said grudgingly, 'you were marvellous, sort of powerful and...good.'

'You know the earrings mummy lent you? We could see them glittering in the light right from the back,' my sister added proudly. Her face then darkened, 'but you know the guns you lot used, when the first shot went...mum screamed.'

'Well so what? The whole bloody audience jumped and screamed. You couldn't even here my voice!'

I didn't say anything. I remembered when they first used the replica gun in rehearsal we all jumped and screamed, because the shot was loud and we were...