Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Real World: Dominican Republic (A Play in One Act)

(This is something I wrote for the summer Gringo Grita, which is the PCDR publication. It might be a little insider-y but my mom thought it was funny, so here you go.)

The scene: a tastefully-decorated (not even one ceramic figurine or cut-glass objets d´arte in sight), well-air conditioned office. An Important Television Executive (ITE) sits behind an imposing desk, perhaps mahogany, perhaps oak, definitely not a Presidente crate with a board on top. Feeling rather out of place, an intrepid Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) is making her pitch for what she believes will be next season´s biggest hit.

PCV: So, I was thinking a show about a Peace Corps volunteer would be really funny.
ITE: I´m not really looking for anything too highbrow this season. What if he´s a high school teacher? Or a cowboy?
PCV: It´s about a woman, actually, and the Peace Corps thing is kind of central.
ITE: A woman? Do you think Teri Hatcher would be interested?
PCV: Um, maybe. Anyway, so there´s this Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic—
ITE: The Dominican Republic? I don´t even know where that is. No one knows where that is. How about Mexico? Mexico´s hot these days. Or Cuba.
PCV: Well, maybe. Anyway, so this volunteer lives with this host family, and they´re all super strict 7th Day Adventists—
ITE: Adventists? No, how about if they´re Jewish.
PCV: Uh, there aren´t really that many Jewish people in the DR—
ITE: I bet there´s plenty in Mexico.
PCV: … anyway, so this volunteer lives with this really religious family, and then one of her project partners is a Catholic nun. Conflict ensues!
ITE: A young, sexy nun?
PCV: No, more like an older, motherly nun.
ITE: A sexy, mature nun. I like it.
PCV: OK, um, anyway, and her other project partner is a divorced single mom with a 5-year-old daughter. It´s a combination with a lot of potential hilarity!
ITE: Cute kids are gold. Does she have a catchphrase?
PCV: Um, she asks for juice a lot.
ITE: Maybe we can do a tie-in with Hi-C. (Makes a note) OK, so what does this volunteer do?
PCV: Well, she tries to schedule committee meetings. Also, she installs Encarta on computers.
ITE: Potential tie-in with Microsoft. Excellent. Although Macs are so in these days, could she work with Macs?
PCV: … sure. Anyway, so she does that stuff, and spends a lot of time explaining that she´s not from New York—
ITE: Why isn´t she from New York? Everyone loves New York, especially since 9/11.
PCV: OK, well, she also tries to explain to everyone that she works for the Peace Corps, not the Catholic Church.
ITE: I´ll be frank, there´s not a lot of drama here.
PCV: It´s a comedy! A cultural comedy of manners, if you will.
ITE: How about she works in an emergency room? There´s a lot of drama there.
PCV: She could give charlas about AIDS prevention.
ITE: AIDS is big these days! Only African AIDS, though. OK, she´s a doctor in an African emergency room.
PCV: I guess there are a lot of volunteers in Africa, too….
ITE: I´ve got it, we´re going to do a reality show about African kids with AIDS. No! Too depressing. A reality show about African kids with cute animals. Like zebras and whatever. Kind of a Crocodile Hunter thing. Brilliant.
PCV: That´s not really—
ITE: Save your hippie crap for PBS, lady.

(The PCV grabs her Nalgene and leaves, wondering if maybe she shouldn´t have worn flip-flops to the meeting. The ITE picks up the phone and asks his secretary to determine which African nation has the most photogenic children.)

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