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AFTERWORD As the World Sparkle BY KAREN OLSSON \(Scene i: The Chance of a Lifetime. Early morning, September 17. Commerce & Navarro Streets, San Antonio. On three sides of the intersection, people linger around the Pik Nik grocery and wait for the bus. On the fourth side is a large, beige, fortress-style building, with a long line of young women winding around its perimeter. Inside the building is the Planet Hollywood restaurant, where open auditions are being held for “Sunset Beach,” a daytime soap opera produced by Aaron Spelling. The sky is grey. A light rain has just ended. The air is heavy with the smell of makeup. Enter REPORTER IS FRAN-TICALLY STRUG-GLING TO FINISH HER BANANA AS SHE HURRIES TO-WARD LINE OF SOAP OPERA HOPE-FULS, WHIPS OUT NOTEBOOK. REPORTER: \(BEGINS ASKING QUES-are you here? WOMAN #1: \(WHAT A DUMB QUES-new TV show! It’s a great opportunity… WOMAN #2: The chance of a lifetime! WOMAN #3: A chance to get on TV! WOMAN #1: \(RUSTLING THROUGH done some modeling… WOMAN #2: …a few commercials WOMAN #1: …and musical theater. WOMAN #3: My agent sent me down here. WOMAN #1: \(PULLING NEWSPAPER when I won the Universal Royalty Texas Pageant. WOMAN #2: These are my head shots… neat… WOMEN: \(IN UNISON, WAVING PHO-So what do you think they’re looking for? WOMAN #1: They said in the casting call, “attractive, physically fit…dynamic…” WOMAN #2: You know, be unique, have sparkle…you may or may not be their look. You never knowit’s the chance of a lifetime… that! WOMAN #2: Pardon? REPORTER: Never mind… \(TURNS TO So what do you think of all this? You don’t want to know… REPORTER: No, really… BOUNCER: I think this is… \(BUT BEFORE HE CAN FINISH HIS SENTENCE, OUT RUSHES PLANET HOLLYWOOD PR WOMAN, INDEX FIN-P.H.P.R.W.: What did I tell you about speaking to the press! \(All present appear stricken with guilt \(Scene ii: It’s All About Sparkle. Inside Planet Hollywood. Leopard-print carpet, zebra-hide decor, potted palms. A baby carriage and a spaceman suit hang from the ceiling. Ten chairs are lined up to face a string of booths; behind the chairs the movie Sister Act is playing on a small screencloseup on Whoopi Goldberg in a nun’s habit. Standing by the booths are CASTING AGENT, a short, squat, gravelly-voiced woman with a cap pulled down over her head, and NBC REPRESENTA-TIVE, a thirtyish woman wearing jeans and a Sunset Beach t-shirt. As REPORTER sits down to watch, ten young hopefuls are CASTING AGENT: \(PACING BACK cool and you can sit down. Life gets better in a hurry, doesn’t it? \(WOMEN LAUGH APPRECIATIVELY, BEAM AT CASTING one by one and tell me your name and where you’re from. WOMAN #1: My name is Shelbi Jones and I was born and raised in Lubbock… \(Young hopefuls introduce themselves in turn, continue to beam. Afterward casting agent and NBC rep confer for approxiCASTING AGENT: Well ladies, it’s that simple. Now if you’ll follow that man right there, he’ll show you where to go… \(POINTS TO MAN STANDING BY STAIRS, HOLDS BACK ONE PERSON \(The one woman is issued a script and assigned a time to read. The others are escorted out a door on the bottom floor and given plastic “Sunset Beach” visors as souvenirs. They stand outside, disgruntled. REPORTER: …But how do you pick that one girl out of ten? NBC REP: We’re looking for fresh new faces, for sparkle, dynamic personalities. Someone with a wholesome, healthy look. CASTING AGENT: Of course she has to be pretty, but beyond that it has to do with personality, a certain sparkle, a certain snapit’s just something you know. It’s that sparkle. sparkle… \(DASHES INTO BATHROOM, LOOKS 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 11, 1996