Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

All the Cubicle’s a Stage

Every New Yorker seems to think his or her life is a movie; the Actors Institute helps its corporate-world clients learn to play their roles better.


The Actors Institute alumni include Ted Danson and Sigourney Weaver, but lately TAI has taken to working mostly with office types who feel they need some help with on-the-job motivation. “Principles of theater fit any situation,” explains TAI co-director Gifford Booth, a former puppeteer, at a recent Saturday-morning session before ordering the off-duty suits to perform “an extended bark now!” Then they do their prepared monologues. Herewith, the parts they’re playing in their minds:

Valerie Basile, 29
Publicist and event planner, Yves Saint Laurent beauty division
Piece: Rosie O’Donnell monologue from the movie Beautiful Girls assessing female beauty ideals.
What movie do you see yourself in?When Harry Met Sally—the scene when she’s ordering—that’s me. I totally identify with her. Not all her crazy neurotic tendencies, but the whole ‘I want it this way, and I want it inside,’ is totally me.”

Tony Arpante, 39
Software trainer, CheckFree Investment Services
Piece: Monologue from the play Night Maneuver by Howard Korder.
What movie do you see yourself in? “You’ve seen Falling Down with Michael Douglas? I don’t want to be him—he’s troubled—but he wants a thing, and these obstacles keep appearing, and they’re people-related. I was looking for a job for a year—living in a city like this, there’s a lot of obstacles.”

Carina von Knoop, 37
Former partner, Boston Consulting Group
Piece: Presentation for a beauty-industry job where she discusses high/low consumer choices. (“That’s who I am: a soccer mom but also the professional and the glamour diva, all in one.”)
What movie do you see yourself in? Erin Brockovich, which I loved. She’s powerful, she’s sexy, but she’s no-bullshit, and I loved that.”

Mark Basile, 29
Corporate investment banker, Citigroup
Piece: 1962 John F. Kennedy presidential address on the importance of space travel.
What movie do you see yourself in? “It’s actually a TV show, The West Wing. Sam Seaborn left business because he became disenchanted, and he found somebody worth following, Jed Bartlet. I want to follow the right person.”


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift