The "Student-Directed Scenes" were a revelation. None was perfect, but one came close: the scene from Butterflies Are Free in which Jill Tanner meets Edward Albert, staged by student director Amanda Jones with loving naturalism that made the classroom momentarily fall away. But even the more imperfect scenes possessed real fire. One director had made his actresses practice their scene from Antigone outside, at night, by torchlight, and went into a detailed spiel about the historical importance of doing it just that way. Another fellow, also directing Antigone, had the wild idea of setting it during the War of the Roses.

I left before the students knew who'd won what. Lighting a cigarette in the school parking lot, I happened to walk by the Latina girl I'd crashed into earlier. She was also smoking a cigarette. (Hypocritically, I lectured her about it and told her that if she kept it up, she'd be stuck with a voice like Marianne Faithful's.) She told me that she thought she'd done well but that she was nervous. Apparently, an old nemesis from past Districts had competed in the same events as she, and she didn't know how she'd fare. Contemplating a possible loss, she was philosophical: "We'll party tonight, to celebrate a great day." Gesturing in the general direction of the athletic field, she said: "Today, it's like we get as much respect as the football team. That's incredible, right?"

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