• Published 16th Feb 2018
  • 3,576 Views, 28 Comments

A Rose By Any Other Name - TheNewYorkBrony

Applejack and Sunset get stuck doing Romeo and Juliet to pass theater class.

  • ...

Act I: All The World's A Stage

If Sunset had known what was going to happen when she walked into drama class that morning she wouldn't have walked in at all.

Drama wasn't exactly her thing. It was more Rarity's; who was an avid thespian herself. She lived for the spotlight and craved attention.

Sunset, did not. Well, at least not anymore.

She didn't understand human theater anyway. Not that she understood theater at all. All the times she was invited to go to a play back in Equestria, she declined, more interested in focusing on her studies.

Sunset had read multiple plays though, thanks to Canterlot High's English curriculum. They've read Hamlet, Macbeth, (which was awkward for both Sunset and Flash who were chosen as Macbeth and his wife) and countless others that Sunset couldn't remember at the moment.

But the one play she never understood the most, the one that vexed her to the point of no end, was the one that Mr. Magnet, the drama teacher, for whatever reason had chosen for the senior play.

Romeo and Juliet.

Of course, it wasn't the story itself that vexed her the most, but the meaning behind it. Love is so strong that you would kill yourself for your lover? It's so strong for you to want to rather be dead than live without your significant other?

The concept was lost on her. It was a preposterous and pretentious idea to believe that someone with good common sense would want to do something so foolish. Love is tragic sure, but in this case it was just ignorant, fleeting, and naive.

This is probably why she never got past act three, and failed the drama mid term that accounted for half of her grade.

She wasn't alone though, Applejack had failed too, claiming she was too busy around the farm to read such mushy gushy stuff. (That and Elizabethan English was difficult for her to read but she wasn't going to tell anyone that.)

This had promptly landed them on the edge of failing the entire class and not being able to graduate due to such a low grade.

"Today we'll be picking the leads for our play," Mr. Magnet said. He looked over the class to see that no one was really excited except for Rarity and Twilight. "Oh come on, people! This is the arts! Show some enthusiasm!"

Rolling his eyes he went over to his desk and picked up a piece of paper. "I've already pre-selected who will do what. Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy, you are in charge of scenery and all of the set pieces. I want that stage to shine, girls!"

Pinkie saluted the teacher. "Aye, aye, Capitaine!"

"Snips, Snails, Flash, you'll be in charge of lighting, and all of the behind the scenes techy stuff." Mr. Magnet read off.

"Yes!" Snips cheered, high fiving Snails.

"As for the main characters, we've got Rainbow Dash as Mercutio, Twilight as Tybalt, and Applejack and Sunset Shimmer as Romeo and Juliet."

Sunset was immediately snapped out of her own little world when she heard her name. "I'm sorry Mr. M, but I could have sworn you just casted me as Juliet and Applejack as Romeo."

Mr. Magnet nodded. "That I did. Your grades in this class are anything but pleasant. I figured this would be a good chance for you both to make up for your failures and pass the class. Which is why this play accounts for a third of your grade."

"A third?!" Sunset asked, eyes wide. "Mr. Magnet—"

"Ah, ah." Mr. Magnet tsked, shaking a finger at her. "The theater gods have spoken and their decision cannot be changed."

Sunset slumped back in her chair and folded her arms. There was no sense in fighting that. It wasn't worth it.

She looked over to Applejack to see that the farm girl had her head in her hat. She couldn't really see it that well, but if the slight red tinge to her skin was any indication, she was blushing profusely.

Derpy raised her hand. “Aren’t Applejack and Sunset both girls? How could they play a couple?”

The rest of the class nodded in agreement, murmurs rising from them.

“Oh come now, children!” Mr. Magnet responded, putting his hands on his hips. “It’s the current year! Gay marriage is legal! Crossdressing for both men and women has been a thing for hundreds of years! In fact, before women were allowed to act in plays, men were filling in both roles!”

“So a guy would just kiss another guy in drag?” Snips asked. “That’s kind of weird.”

“Yeah,” Snails chimed. “Weird.”

Mr. Magnet rolled his eyes. “It’s not weird, it’s art people! History! The greatest actors of old weren’t afraid of a little risk! Shakespeare would be proud!”

The bell rung before he could go into further detail, and the kids rushed out of the classroom excited to head to lunch.

At the lunch table, the rest of their friends tried to cheer up AJ and Sunset.

“Think of it as a chance to show everyone what you can do, darling!” Rarity insisted, rubbing Sunset’s back as she continuously banged her head on the table with a loud, unceremonious ‘thunk’.

“Yeah!” Pinkie chirped, hovering over Applejack who was groaning into her hat. “Acting is just like playing music! You just remember a bunch of stuff and hope you don’t flop!”

“They are not the same thing!” Rarity chided. “If anything, one is harder than the other!” she pursed her lips when she saw the agitated looks Applejack and Sunset were giving her. “I-I mean what would I know, darling, I’m just a fashion designer!”

“Speaking of designing,” Twilight said, looking at something in the sketchpad Rarity always carried with her. “Are you sure that you can make all of these costumes by yourself?”

“Well why not, darling?! I’ve made multiple outfits before!” Rarity responded, slightly confused.

“I’m not doubting your ability,” Twilight said, adjusting her glasses. “It’s just, erm, the dress you’ve designed for Juliet is kind of, eccentric?”

“Nonsense darling! I’ve done research before on Medieval wear for Sweetie Belle’s play. This is nothing compared to that!” Rarity said, waving her off.

Sunset decided to finally stop banging her head on the table because of the nausea that was starting to set in. She sighed. “At any rate, it’s not like me and Applejack have a choice.”

“I have no idea how we’re going to design all of this by ourselves,” Fluttershy sighed, sitting down at the table with her lunch. “I don’t know the first thing about drawing scenery. All I can draw is characters.”

“Is it really that hard to draw a tree and some bushes?” Rainbow Dash asked, rolling her eyes.

“Well, no,” Fluttershy answered her, “But you know how much of a perfectionist Mr. Magnet is. He might make us do the whole thing all over again. I’d honestly rather face my fears and be a character in the show.”

“You don’t mean that,” Sunset said, her mouth in a thin line. “At least you don’t have to kiss one of your best friends.”

“Well, this one time in third grade—” Fluttershy had started, but was promptly cut off by Rainbow’s hand clamping over her mouth.

Rarity rolled her eyes. “You’re exaggerating, darling,” she said, filing her nails. “You haven’t even seen the script yet. Knowing Mr. Magnet, he probably made some prodigious amount of changes.”

Twilight nodded. “It’s not uncommon for Shakespearean plays to be reworked for high school,” she smiled. “Crystal Prep put on Macbeth last year—and while I was too busy with my experiments—I heard it was a real hoot.”

“Well we don’t have a fancy shmancy school with a fancy shmancy budget. We’ve got a weeb, a sugar crazed lunatic, and maybe half the art club,” Rainbow responded, folding her arms.

“I’m not a weeb!” Fluttershy protested."I just like the storylines, the animation, and the cute little figurines..."

“Yeah! And I’m not a sugar crazed lunatic!” Pinkie added, pouring frosting onto her nachos.

Sunset groaned. “Can we please get back on the subject?”

"Yeah, yeah, and I'm not awesome," Rainbow rolled her eyes, ignoring Sunset. She pointed a finger at Pinkie's food, "just try not to break your drum set this time when you go on another crazed sugar episode."

"No promises!" Pinkie said. She threw her head back and squirted a can of whip cream into her mouth.

Sunset groaned and put her head on the table.

The first practice was after school in the auditorium. Sunset tried to drag it out for as long as she could, but eventually had to make her way there.

Students from all periods sat in the front row, talking, laughing and looking at their cell phones.

Twilight, Rainbow, and Applejack were already on stage being directed around by Mr. Magnet, while Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie were backstage taking inventory of the supplies they borrowed from the art club for the backdrops.

He beamed as soon as he saw her. “There’s our beautiful superstar! We were just about to start rehearsal! Before all that though Rarity needs to take your measurements!”

“Oh, uh, okay,” Sunset said sheepishly, letting herself be pulled by the fashionista to a secluded little corner backstage where they could be away from everyone.

“Hold your arms out, darling,” Rarity said. She held up a yellow measuring tape.

“Don’t you already have my measurements?” Sunset asked as she spread her arms out.

“Yes, yes, but that was summertime darling, it’s the middle of fall, surely you gained a few pounds since then.” Rarity responded, wrapping the tape around her waist.

“What?!” Sunset gasped, “I eat fruits and vegetables everyday! The only time I eat out is if all of us go out.” She crossed her arms as she glared down at her friend who had squatted down to take a better look, “besides, if anyone of us has gained weight, it has to be you.”

“Pardon?” Rarity demanded, aghast.

“You eat a carton of ice cream every time a boy rejects you.”

“I do not!” Rarity insisted, her voice shrill.

Sunset took the measuring tape out of the seamstress’s hands and wrapped it around her waist. “The tape seems to think otherwise,” she said, smirking.

Rarity pouted, snatching the tape from her. “Don’t make me prick you, darling. What’s got you in such a dour mood anyway?” she asked, beginning to continue her work on the older girl’s measurements.

Sunset sighed. “Sorry...it’s just...thinking about kissing one of my friends, even if it’s just for a show...it’s kind of awkward, you know? I don’t want it to change anything between us.”

“Change things between you two? How so? Your characters are dating darling, not you two.” Rarity said, eyebrows furrowing.

“Well....” Sunset blushed. “I mean...I’m not opposed to that, but it’s you know...”

Rarity gasped. “You like her, don’t you?!”

“What? No,” Sunset chuckled nervously as her eyes darted across the stage where Applejack and Rainbow Dash were hitting each other in the head with plastic swords much to Pinkie and Twilight’s amusement.

“You do!” Rarity giggled as her face lit up, “this is wonderful! Oh, you two will make such a cute couple! What should your couple name be? Sunjack or Appleset? Oh! Or maybe—”

“Rarity!” Sunset hissed. “There will be no couple names. There will be no cuteness because there is no couple! It’s just, you know, something passing!”

“Sunset Shimmer! Young love is not something that is just ‘passing’! It is beautiful and sweet!” declared Rarity, authority and confidence lacing her voice.

“I guess then it’s beautiful and sweet that two teenagers killed themselves because their parents said they couldn’t be together.” Sunset responded, raising a brow.

“Of course!” Rarity exclaimed. She paused and let out a nervous chuckle, “ok, well not that way. It’s sweet how two people from two opposing families found love in each other.”

She moved the tape from Sunset’s waist to under her arms as she continued to speak, “they were ready to risk everything just to be together. Their wealth, their status, even their lives just so they could be together.”

She let out a heartfelt sigh, “so romantic.” She fluttered her eyelashes as she stared into nothing.

“They’re like twelve!” Sunset told her, rolling her eyes.

“Romance knows no age, Sunset,” Rarity scoffed. “And they were thirteen and fourteen respectively. It’s no wonder why you failed the midterm.”

Sunset held up a finger but put it down in defeat. “Touché. You win this round, Rarity.”

Rarity winked at her, finishing up her measurements. “I always do, darling.”

“Ladies, please!” Mr. Magnet said, clapping his hands. “I need my leading lady on stage for rehearsals!
This is a play. Not some chatty box for your latest gossip.”

He clapped his hands again, “Chop chop!”

Sunset sighed and lowered her head, “Guess it’s time to accept my fate and kiss my best friend.”

“That’s the spirit!” He smiled at her before he turned his head towards another part of the stage, “now where are my painters? Come on people! I need color!”

Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy lugged paint cans on stage from the storage closet backstage, Fluttershy struggling with the one she had in her hands and Pinkie fine with the four in her own and the one inexplicably hanging from her hair.

“You missed most of the run through, but you made it just in time for the scene where Romeo finds out the love of his life, Juliet, is dead.” Mr. Magnet said, gesturing to Applejack kneeling before a wooden coffin on a stone-looking table.

“Oh, I always hate this part,” Fluttershy moaned. She moved her hands up to cover her face with the paint can.

“Go Applejack!” Pinkie screamed as she jumped in place, as if she was cheering at a sports game instead of watching a play. A orange foam finger hung from her hair as she twirled little flags with Applejack’s name on them.

“Shh!” Mr. Magnet glared down at her before he turned back to the scene.

Sunset climbed inside the coffin unsurely. The bottom of the coffin was hastily lined with a blanket for the time being. It softened the hard table enough to allow her to lay there for a bit, but not by much.

She laid back and rested her head on the small pillow placed at the front. She closed her eyes and placed her arms by her side.

She tried to look relaxed and at peace, but the knowledge that she would soon have to kiss her friend (and secret crush) filled her with anxiety.

“Sunset! Please stop fidgeting! Dead people don’t move, dear!” Mr. Magnet called to her.

“Easy for you to say,” Sunset grumbled, situating herself in the coffin and finally relaxing. Just a tad though, she could still hear Applejack breathing beside her, which made her heart race.

“Annnd action!”

“O my love. My wife,” Applejack exclaimed, with as much emotion as a cardboard box. “Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath, hath had no power yet upon thy beauty: Thou art not c-conquer'd; beauty's e-ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, and death's pale flag is not advanced there.”

“Why can’t she just say, ‘Holy crap, you’re dead!’ or something? Why does it have to sound so complicated?” Rainbow hissed to Rarity who was standing beside her now, clutching a handkerchief.

“Shhh!” Rarity hushed, sniffling. “This is my favorite part!”

“I still will stay with thee,” Applejack continued, “and never from this palace of dim night depart again.”

“More emotion!” Mr. Magnet hissed from the sidelines, “you’re sad that the love of your life is dead! Not reading from a textbook in Social Studies class!”

“Here, here will I remain!” Applejack spoke louder, but still sounding stiff and robotic.

“Here is where we’re gonna remain if she keeps saying her lines like that,” Rainbow said, rolling her eyes. “Ow!” she groaned after Rarity punched her arm.

“Ladies, please!” Mr. Magnet said, “if you keep interrupting, I’ll be forced to keep you after school and have you help make the set!”

Rainbow grumbled under her breath, but kept silent as she continued to watch the play.

“Here’s to my love,” Applejack raised a plastic bottle above her head. The bottle had a green liquid inside and a sticker of a skull with crossbones under it.

She took out the cork and raised the glass to her lips. The second the liquid touched her tongue, she spat it out, “What in the hay is this?!” She demanded, scrunching up her face. “Is this, is this lime juice?!” She said, gagging and holding the bottle away from her body as if it reeked of the Black Plague.

“Lime juice?” Mr. Magnet repeated, eyebrows furrowed, “Pinkie I told you to fill it with Gatorade!”

“You did?” Pinkie asked, blinking. “Well, that makes a lot more sense!”

Fluttershy, who was standing next to her, smacked her forehead. “That’s what I was trying to tell you the entire time you were filling it, Pinkie.”

“Well, it did get her to act with some emotion,” he muttered under his breath. “Let’s continue with the scene, girls!”

“Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die,” Applejack let out a small cough before she fell over onto her back, “I’m dead.”

Rainbow smacked her forehead. “No shit, Sherlock!”

“Shh! Final warning!” Mr. Magnet said, glaring at her. “One more outburst and you’ll be helping Pinkie paint the backgrounds.”

“It needs more pink!” Pinkie exclaimed from backstage. She stood in front of a backdrop of the castle’s walls.

“Pinkie, no!” Fluttershy reached her arms out to stop her, but it was too late.

Pinkie pulled her arms back and lunged forward. All of the pink paint flew from the can and onto the backdrop.

The once grey drawing of the castle walls were now splattered with gaudy hues of magenta. Fluttershy sighed as her arms dropped down to her sides, “that took hours to draw.”

“Oh, that’s ok, girls,” Mr. Magnet waved his hand, “I was going to make you redraw it anyway.”

Rainbow doubled over with laughter.

“And you’ll be helping them, Miss Rainbow Dash.” Mr. Magnet added sternly.

“Aw, c’mon!”

“Can we please finish this already?” Sunset called from the coffin, “this blanket is starting to itch.”

“Alright. Now, Sunset, you’ve just woken up from your coma, and you realize the love of your life has killed himself. You’re heartbroken! Distraught!” Mr. Magnet instructed, turning to her.

“Got it,” Sunset said before she climbed out of the coffin. She walked over to the “dead” Applejack. She got down on her knees and took one of Applejack’s hands in her own.

“At least one of them is serious about this,” Mr. Magnet muttered as he watched.

Sunset closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Slowly she opened her eyes and looked down at her friend’s face.

“Oh no, Romeo is dead,” She spoke in a tone just as emotionless as Applejack’s had been.

“Oh for Pete’s sake!” Mr. Magnet said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Have either of you seen an actual play? Watched tv? Something with decent acting?”

“It’s a high school play and he’s acting like it’s gonna be reviewed for the Academy,” Dash mumbled.

“Tony’s dear,” Rarity corrected, waving her comment off, clutching her handkerchief. “Tony’s are plays, the Academy are for movies.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Yeah, whatever.”

“More feeling! More emotion! Sunset dear, please!” Mr. Magnet pleaded, clasping his hands together.

“Oh no!” Sunset exclaimed, her tone mildy more enthusiastic. “My Romeo is dead! I cannot live without him! I must join him in the afterlife!” she turned from the students in the audience back to Applejack who was still lying on her back ‘dead’.

Applejack’s blonde hair was splayed out behind her like a golden halo. Her rosy cheeks were still, her long eyelashes twitching with movement. Sunset was almost lost in her beauty when she heard Mr. Magnet cough.

“And so, I take my life, with his dagger!” Sunset shouted, taking the fake dagger from Applejack’s side and stabbing herself, falling over quite dramatically.

“Bravo!” Mr. Magnet cheered, clapping his hands. “Bravo! I mean, you did skip over the whole kiss thing, but bravo! We can save that for the actual show, right ladies?”

Applejack sat up and mumbled some form of affirmation, while Rainbow snickered, helping her up.

Sunset nodded, sheepishly turning her head away to hide her blush. She had hoped he hadn’t noticed that. “Don’t worry Mr. Magnet, we won't let you down.” she said, smiling at him faintly.

“Good,” He responded, turning around to go talk to other students.

Sunset exhaled. Maybe she was good at this acting thing after all.

Author's Note:

This was supposed to be one big long huge story but i decided to split it up because ain't nobody got time for that. Thanks to North Bridge and Ruby Cast for proofreading and helping me with the Shakespeare in this.