HOW TO IDENTIFY A FORMER THEATER MAJOR

September 19, 2012

As you’ve probably figured out, theater majors are a special breed of people. In college they were easy to spot, namely because they were always hanging out on the steps of the theater, joking around with their costuming professors or planning a “characters from Roald Dahl books” theme party. Now that we’re out in the real world, though, those who studied theater as undergraduates are harder to pinpoint. But worry not: with this simple guide, you’ll always know who you’re dealing with. Keep your eyes peeled for the following giveaways.

1. The person takes control.

Does this person take control of a situation that doesn’t really need to be controlled? If so, odds are good that you’re in the presence of someone who stage managed (they’ll tell you they “SM’d” if you ask) at least one college production. If this person is a member of a wedding party, for example, he will likely gather the rest of the group together and assign tasks, without being told to do so. An important aspect of this person’s personality is that once the tasks are assigned, he’ll say something like “I have no idea how I always end up doing this,” and will then start creating drama among the rest of the group members. For example: “Is Jamie not back from the store yet? If this has to do with him feeling awkward around Shana, don’t even get me started. I heard she might not come to the wedding anyway, and if she DOES come she’s bringing her new boyfriend, and I hear that THEY might be ENGAGED already. You heard me.”

2. The person has a large, interwoven group of college friends, and has hooked up with almost all of them.

When this person mentions that her old friends are coming to town, she’ll always refer to one of them as her ex-boyfriend, and then, as if she’d been pressed, reveal that yes, she did also hook up with the other friend who is coming, but that was WAY before she and the ex were dating, or at least a little before. She’ll then eagerly fill you in on the fact that she can never tell ANY of her college friends about the time that she actually witnessed the two visitors, her ex-boyfriend and the other guy-friend who she hooked up with before, making out. Without prompting, she’ll tell you that they were drunk at the “A” theme party (ex was dressed as an Asshole, guy-friend was dressed as an Alligator, and she was dressed as Anastasia, from the animated movie Anastasia), and they all found themselves in a room together. At that point, she dared them to kiss, and then they did except they actually MADE OUT and who KNOWS what even happened when she left the room because honestly, they seemed pretty into it.

3. The person has had many post-college “careers.”

Right after graduation, and on the heels of his starring turn in a 20th-century play that DID require a LITTLE nudity, this person had big theatrical plans. Still, bills had to be paid, so he got a job as an office assistant, but moonlighted as a house manager at a local theater (if you inquire about what a house manager does, he will just tell you that he basically ran the entire operation). Soon, he became really worn out from working two jobs, so he quit the theater but remained really active in the “theater scene” of his chosen city. He dabbled in playwriting, but found it wasn’t his strength, and then spent a lot of money on headshots that he didn’t feel good about. Ultimately, he decided that, while he wasn’t interested in pursuing stardom, he knew that he’d always be “artistically involved.” These days, he works 9-5 and sees a play every six months.

4. The person gets really drunk.

This person can drink a lot. And does.

5. The person tends to sing when drunk.

This person is the first one at any party to start a sing-along. See also: this person never fails to request that Michael Jackson be played at any function. “Let’s just get people dancing!,” this person is known to exclaim.

6. The person loves to complain about stress.

If this person creates extremely stressful situations for herself and then relishes complaining about them, she is probably just trying to re-live her late nights at rehearsal for Hair. She will stay at the office later than she needs to, working a little bit but mostly g-chatting, and each of her g-chats will contain the words “I have no idea what time I’m even getting OUT of here.” If you work with this person, she will try to drag you into her all-nighter, in the hopes that the two of you will end up ordering pizza and playing never-have-I-ever, lose track of time, and eventually find yourselves at a 24-hour diner as the sun comes up.

Finally, know that while these former students of the great art of theater are often hard to deal with, they also tend to be worth the trouble. A former theater major is known to be a dedicated, supportive friend. A former theater major — when it comes down to it — works hard. And a former theater major can ABSOLUTELY be counted on for a good time. So, there you have it. As Shakespeare probably once said, take this knowledge and make of it what you will.

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