G abriella fingered her camcorder. She eyed the girls in the cast speculatively. It was already their third practice, and she felt like she was starting to get a feel for who was who. Now that the film was officially underway, it was time to get started on the documentary for Doug. She was determined to prove herself to her old film school director, and she’d been giving careful thought to possible angles for the documentary.

 Nothing had come to mind yet, other than A Bunch of Amateurs Try to Make a Movie. Maybe the best thing to do was interview as many cast members as possible and tease out a theme afterwards.

She’d chosen Huvy as her first subject — not that Huvy realized this, yet. There was something about the girl that fascinated Gabriella. Gabriella was eager to figure out who Huvy really was.

Finally, the practice today was going well. The last two sessions had been chaotic, as Rina tried to take charge of some 40 excitable teenage girls. Gabriella had watched with sympathy as Rina’s attempts to talk over the crowd proved completely ineffective.

Rina was not a screamer, Gabriella could tell; she was used to people listening to her with hushed reverence. Problem was, neither was Gabriella, and she responded to Rina’s look beseeching help with a helpless shrug. There was a reason she’d never had the tiniest temptation to go into teaching, or even to become a camp counselor.

It was Dassi, Rina’s troupe member, who’d finally gotten everyone in line with a shrill whistle and a threatening glare, and Rina had been forced into toughness — “This isn’t school, being a part of this film is a privilege, and anyone who doesn’t know how to be mature can leave right now.” The girls finally quieted down.

Rina’s threat must have worked, because today they looked much more serious. The first two scenes went smoothly, and they were now practicing the first musical number. Gabriella had wanted them to hire a professional to compose the songs, but Rina had insisted that this was her expertise, that she always wrote her own music for her shows. Gabriella had been wary, but as it turned out, Rina did have a talent for composition. The music was sweet and catchy. It was the lyrics that were cheesy.

“We all have fun under the sun?” Gabriella had muttered, when she’d first laid eyes on the words.

Now she watched as Rina gathered the ensemble cast who would be performing the song and dance portions. Huvy was part of this group, and she shuffled over with the rest — as always, keeping herself hidden in the middle. Gabriella had a crazy urge to call her forward for a solo, just to see how she’d handle being the center of attention. But the musical part was Rina’s baby (Gabriella didn’t have a musical bone in her body), and all she could do right now was observe.

Observe, and decide who else she would hit for her first round of documentary interviews. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 605)