December 4, 2010
New York, NY

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English Majors

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...after this message from the Professional Organization of English Majors.

GK: So you went to Yale, and you decided to major in Theater.

SS: I could major in English but English majors are so unattractive. I'm a physical person (TAP DANCING)--I like to embody things - I crave physical movement ----- (SWORDFIGHT W VERBAL OUTBURSTS) ----- I love to be looked at!

GK: So you graduate and go to New York City where you land the role of Juliet in the Queens Shakespearean company---which is in Queens.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.

GK: And a few years go by and the theater runs into financial problems, a new board of directors comes in, a new executive director, and then----

TR (BURLY): Hi. I'm Jack Spratt, the new artistic director.

GK: And he takes you aside.

TR (BURLY): Look, Theresa. You're a great gal. But we're going in a different direction. We're gonna try something new---

SS: What????

FN (NEW YORK WOMAN): Hi. I'm Tiffany. I am, like, really inspired by your former work.

TR (BURLY): We're looking for something more youthful, Theresa.

GK: And that's it — you're fired. 

SS: More youthful-----??? But I'm only------ thirty-two...(?). (STING)

GK: Theater is a brutal business. One day you're a star, and the next day you're mulch. Your agent gets you a job on a soap opera.

SS: Oh thank god.

TR (HIGH, PUNCHY): It's called Blazing Pajamas, daily show, 3 pm Eastern, a continuing role, $10,000 a week minus 15% for me, of course.

SS: Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. This will keep me going until I get back into theater.

GK: And you do Blazing Pajamas though the dialogue is sort of chunky-----


SS (BREATHY): I don't know, Craig. Ever since your mother broke up my parents' marriage which meant that Mom and I had to live in squalor in the Meadowlands of New Jersey and she came down with amnesia and I had to clean the houses of the rich with nothing but a roll of paper towels and a travel-sized hand sanitizer, as your mother and my father sailed away on a 200-foot yacht and formed their own pharmaceutical company and adopted 14 children, including you -----  technically that would make you my step brother — and yet, I love you.

TR: I love you too, Bethany.

SS: I forgot what I was saying.

TR: You love me?

SS (BREATHY): Oh yeah, I love you Craig. But it doesn't seem fair to my mom. Oh, what to do?


GK: And three years pass as Bethany and then—

FN (QUIET): Look Theresa. You're a great gal. But we're going in a different direction. Bethany's had four marriages and been abducted by aliens and fought off a terrorist attack and we just don't see her going anywhere so tomorrow she's going to fall down an empty elevator shaft.

SS: I can't believe this!!!

FN (QUIET): So tomorrow, wear comfortable clothes and get ready to work with a harness.


GK: Three years as Bethany. Finished. And you go home that night and you eat 5 pints of Lumpy Lucy's Caramel Catastrophe Ice Cream (SS WEEPS, EATS ICE CREAM), and two weeks later you have a part on C.S.I. You're standing on the edge of Washington Square Park and say—

SS (UNDER): Smoke smoke smoke smoke smoke.

GK: That's your only line.

SS (UNDER): Smoke smoke smoke smoke smoke smoke—


GK: One day of shooting. 400 bucks. And then weeks go by. Months. Your agent doesn't call. And you find a job on Craigslist, standing around Lower Manhattan in a chicken suit, (CLUCKING), handing out flyers for Lower Manhattan Broilers. (CLUCKING). The mask is hot and the eyeholes are tiny and you're making $3.50 an hour, but it's an acting job---so you take it. (TRAFFIC, BREATHING IN MASK) But all the while you're thinking---

SS (MASK):  Where did I go wrong? 

GK: From Yale graduate to standing on a corner dressed as a chicken---

SS (MASK): Why is my life a disaster? Why why why??????

GK: If you had majored in English instead of theater, you would know that disaster is a major literary asset. You could move back to the Midwest, rent a farmhouse for cheap, sit down and write your memoir entitled FAILURE.

TR (RADIO ANNC): My next guest is Theresa Montclair, author of  FAILURE. A memoir of her years in Manhattan. Forty-one weeks on the NY Times bestseller list. And now to be made into a motion picture with Jennifer Aniston playing the role of you.

SS: That's right.

TR: So is this true? The story about you in a chickensuit handing out coupons for a fried chicken joint? 

SS: It's all true.

TR: You write so beautifully, it reads like a novel.

SS: Thank you.

GK: There is always fresh hope for an English major because failure is only material to a writer. A message from the Professional Organization of English Majors.


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