Thursday, December 9, 2010

Drama Queen

Last Saturday’s Prairie Home Companion, which was broadcast live from Town Hall, presented a skit that was all too close to home, presented courtesy of POEM (Professional Organization of English Majors). A Yale undergrad decides to switch her major from English to drama so as to be more in touch with her body, which she parenthetically likes to exhibit. After graduation, she lands a job with the Queens Shakespeare Company, located in Queens, where she plays Juliet. A few years later, when the theater runs into financial trouble, she is brought in and told that while her talents are appreciated, they are looking for someone younger. Despite her protests that she is only 32, she is let go. Her next job is with a soap opera called Blazing Pajamas, where she earns $10,000 a week until she’s told that her character is being discontinued and that she should show up for her last performance in a sweat suit so she can be shown falling down an elevator shaft. Next is a bit part on C.S.I., where she has only one line (actually one word) as a drug dealer who stands on the north side of Washington Square saying, “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke.” For this gig she brings in a cool $400. If she had been an English major, she could have avoided this tumble to the bottom of the social ladder, which culminates in her dressing up in a chicken costume and handing out fliers for fryers. But the skit ends by projecting the impossible. The drama major with the credentials of an English major is being interviewed about her memoir, Failure, which has been on the bestseller list for 41 weeks.

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