Based on a play by Hans Szekely and Zoltan Egyed, an acting student works to realize her fantasies in romance and the theater.
At a dramatic school in Paris teacher Madame Charlot (Gale Sondergaard) is jealous of the talent of Louise Mauban (Luise Rainer). The factory where Louise works is visited by Gina Bertier (Genevieve Tobin), her producer Boulin (Melville Cooper), and backer Andre D'Abbencourt (Alan Marshal). Gina offers Louise her diamond bracelet; but she declines it, but Andre leaves her money. Nana (Paulette Goddard) hears that Gina is in love with Fleury (John Hubbard), who says that Nana is jealous. Madame Charlot has Fleury and Louise play Romeo and Juliet. Then Pasquel (Henry Stephenson) has his son (Rand Brooks) play it. While Madame Charlot acts, Louise falls asleep. Louise tells how Andre took her out of the factory. Simone (Virginia Grey) tells Fleury that Andre is in love with a student. Fleury goes to tell Gina about Andre, who informs Boulin he cannot back the show. Andre tells Boulin to ask Fleury, who gets fired as the show closes.
Simone advises Boulin, who hires Louise to star. Louise wants to play Electra, and Boulin asks her to talk to Andre. Nana meets Andre and asks about Louise, learning he does not know her. Nana tells others that Louise lied and invites Louise to her party for Andre. Simone spills champagne on Louise's white gown. Louise tells about Andre as he sneaks in and then toasts her. Andre asks Nana to forgive him and dances with Louise, who says she makes plays out of everything. Andre learns that she is poor and offers to get the gown cleaned so she can return it. Louise tells Andre her fantasies, and he kisses her. Andre asks to make her play real and be her husband.
At a nightclub Andre with Louise is bored until he sees La Brasiliana dance. George (Erik Rhodes) takes Andre to meet her while Nana doubts Louise and her relationship with Andre. Louise goes home alone while Andre dances with La Brasiliana. Madame Charlot complains to Pasquel that she was not cast as Joan of Arc. Louise is late to class, and Madame Charlot says she will be expelled. Louise says Madame hates her but thanks her for inspiring her. Louise invites her friends to her apartment. She gets a letter and rips it up with a large check. Louise gives her clothes to her friends and the letter to Nana. The next day Madame Charlot tells Louise she is to play Joan. Pasquel tells his son to leave the school and acting because he has no talent. Yvonne (Ann Rutherford) tells young Pasquel she loves him and does not want to act either. Louise plays Joan of Arc and is acclaimed. Nana congratulates her. Andre asks Louise out, but she declines because she loves the theater more.
Those who love theater will appreciate the struggles of this young actress and perhaps will understand why she makes art equal to or greater than real life.