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PW #207: YA Contemporary w/LGBTQ Elements: LADY HAMLET

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript status: Finished

Mentor Name: Kes Trester & Jennifer Hawkins
Mentee Name: Michella Domenici
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary w/LGBTQ elements
Word Count: 72,000


Alice Li will do anything to play Hamlet, even stage her own gender-swapped production. But her panic attacks threaten everything when her best friend bails, the location falls through, and she’s forced to cast both her ex-girlfriend and potential boyfriend—ay, there’s the rub!


Sometimes I think I’m going mad—like Hamlet.

I chip away my nail polish, forcing deep breaths. Around me, the theater fills with students, its own kind of orchestra. Their footsteps are drums. Backpacks hit the floor like the pulse of a trombone. Zippers squeak. Voices meld together in a crescendo. I’m home.

Ms. Blake clutches her trusty clipboard to her chest, hovering in front of me. Her large glasses cling to the tip of her nose.

“Alice, I think you signed the wrong list.” She taps the clipboard. “You’re auditioning for Ophelia, right? Not Hamlet.”

I shake my head. “No mistake.”

Ms. Blake studies the clipboard again. It’s like she thinks there’s an answer there, some clue as to whether or not I’m serious. She should know by now, I’m always serious. Dramatic and sparkly, but serious.

“You do know this is unconventional.”

Doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome.

“What’s unconventional?” A new voice pipes up. Parson stands in the aisle to my right, wearing a blinding bowtie.

I grin. “I’m auditioning for Hamlet.”

“That’s absurd,” Parson snaps. He almost looks… fearful? That’s so sweet, I never knew he was threatened by me. Maybe he’s smarter than I thought. “You can’t be Hamlet. You’re a… girl.”

Never mind.

“Parson,” Ms. Blake starts, a warning in her tone.

“Girls don’t play Hamlet.” He’s serious, earlier trace of alarm forgotten. I want to say something, but clutch my books tighter. Getting the part will shut him up. Then I can do a victory dance on his locker.


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