Trout College, 2013
Twenty working and final drafts of TV pilot screenplay 'Trout College' atop cast marble resin column with gold leaf detail, from solo exhibition 'Privileged White People,' 2013, at Forever & Today, Inc., NYC.
46 x 26.5 x 20 inches
For PDF of screenplay, cut and paste following link:
CHARACTER SKETCHES for “TROUT COLLEGE”
Setting: Trout College, Pottstown, NH, c. 1996
Anya Cristiani (age 19; b. 1978): Younger sister of Maria, scion of a politically elite Central American family and a bit of a diplo-brat. Attended Cathedral School in DC and now sophomore at Trout College. Distantly related to the President of El Salvador; daughter of the El Salvadorian ambassador to the United States; granddaughter of an industrialist. Interested in pursuing art history with Professor Colin Sitwell after summer internship at Sotheby's Sao Paulo. Her freshman year ended dramatically with a car crash that took the life of one of her friends, and for which Liam Finn, a classmate, mysteriously takes the blame. Her white Mercedes 190E, a gift from her father, has since been replaced with an identical one. Has been seen choppering in and out of campus with Maria at the beginning and ending of semesters.
Maria Cristiani (age 21; b. 1975): Anya’s introverted and studious older sister. Currently a junior studying for an International Relations degree, in part to make her father, Ambassador Rafael Cristiani, proud. Her closest confidante remains Immelda, the sisters’ longtime Honduran maid and de facto nanny, who visits campus weekly to do laundry and check up on her ‘girls.’ Drives a maroon 190E, given to her by her father at the same time as her sister's first white one. Had an illicit affair with a member of her father’s security staff the summer before her freshman year, since broken off. Tensions emerge between siblings when they vie for classmate Liam Finn’s attention.
Immelda: Maria and Anya’s longtime Honduran maid who largely raised the sisters. Loving and superstitious, she dabbles in magic.
Liam Finn (age 21; b. 1975): A day student who feels destined for greater things, but worries that his modest circumstances will prevent him from achieving his full potential. Lives with mother Laura to save money. Spends summers busing at the local diner where Laura works full time. Recently discovered that his father, who left when he was a young child, is an alumnus of Trout and involved in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in DC. Preceding pilot episode, Liam takes the blame for classmate Anya Cristiani's car accident for no apparent reason, prompting classmates’ speculation about their relationship (and Maria’s jealousy); in fact, Liam is looking for an access point to his father.
Laura Finn: Well-loved community fixture in Pottstown and working-class mother of Liam. At her job at the local diner, Town & Gown, she waits on townspeople and college kids ‘from the hill’ alike, and is privy to a variety of gossip.
David Liam: Liam Finn's father and Trout College class of 1971. Co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations. An honorable man who crossed ethical borders in order to steer the US through the Mexican Peso Crisis in 1994, and is now being blackmailed. Dealt with President Armando Calerón Sol of El Salvador extensively, and close friends with Ambassador Rafael Cristiani. Unaware that he has a son through Laura Finn, a summer love from their time in Detroit supporting the desegregation of busing in public school districts. In season one, he visits his alma mater as the distinguished guest lecturer for the Institute for the Humanities’ semester-long seminar on public policy.
Cabot Bowditch (age 19; b. 1978): Attended Groton and now a sophomore at Trout College. Middling academic performance offset by a winsome personality. Plays varsity lacrosse, even as a sophomore—a point of pride for his father, Stanford Bowditch. Best friend is Mason Lee, of whom he is protective. Grounded by a solid if not-yet-articulated liberal worldview and bi-curious. Plans to join the Peace Corps and spend time in Central America or Sub-Saharan Africa after graduation. Vice President of the Student Union (the faculty advisor of which is Professor Sitwell), a position won more by dint of Cabot’s lineage and charisma than political expertise. Favorite bands include Oasis and Dave Matthews; he often hums tracks from Under the Table and Dreaming to himself.
Stanford Bowditch: Father of Cabot. Boston Brahmin with conservative politics who is senior partner in Bowditch, Foster & Newman, a Boston white shoe law firm founded by his grandfather, the first Cabot Bowditch. WASPy and uptight, his favorite spot to relax and reflect is afront Winslow Homer’s The Trout (1892) at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, or at the Union Club.
Mason Lee: (age 20; b. 1977) Cabot’s best friend and old roommate from Groton. Was overweight and held back one year as a child. Barely made the varsity lacrosse team and now contentedly warms benches. Supportive of Cabot’s dalliances and defends his friend when Cabot’s dad catches Cabot and a third-year associate at Bowditch, Foster & Newman making out in the bathroom during alumni weekend.
Esperanza Diaz Bowditch: Stanford's second wife and former flight attendant. Raised Cabot since he was 10. A former Mexican national who never felt comfortable in Boston, Esperanza's political and social ambitions for her stepson are motivated by her need to find acceptance—a need that sometimes competes with a genuine desire to see her stepson happy.
Efram Huntsman (née Li’ol) (age 18; b. 1979): Handsome black freshman piano prodigy who for mysterious reason has stopped playing. Told in youth that his talent is a gift from God. Ethiopian Jew (Falasha) who was adopted at age 3 by parents in Kansas, where he grew up. In his freshman year, he catches the eye and ear of Sasha, the college's part-time music teacher. After saving her three-year old daughter from a car accident, he develops a special bond with the girl and her mother. A smart but troubled student, Efram initially sleeps through Colin Sitwell's "Art of Revolutions" survey, but later takes an interest when the course turns toward the art of the religiously prosecuted. Resents Trout’s other students, including Cabot Bowditch and the Cristiani sisters, the latter whom he considers spoiled.
Colin Sitwell (age 32; b. 1964): Impassioned art history professor, received his art history degree at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his PhD in at University of Chicago. Attracted to Sasha Kherdovsky, though these are tempered by his concern for how a relationship may impact Sasha’s daughter. Serves as the Institute for Humanities’ faculty advisor as well as that of various other campus political organizations and the student paper, The Trout. A mentor and stability unit that insulates the students from the drama that surrounds them. The campus' self-appointed radical, Colin ceaselessly and unsuccessfully shops his dissertation “Fascist Implications of Early Soviet Revolutionary Aesthetics” to publishers.
Sasha Kherdovsky (age 32; b. 1964): Single white mother of three year old daughter who lived in the United States since thirteen. Adjunct Professor of Music at Trout College. Hears Efram playing Chopin's “Revolutionary Étude in C minor” through the closed door. Unbeknownst to her, a spirit conjured by Efram's piano playing intervenes at the last moment to save her daughter from a car accident. Drawn towards Efram, but concerned that a relationship with the much younger man could jeopardize her part time job and also affect her daughter. Initially at odds with Colin over his reaction to Efram's indifference in lecture, but later develops feelings for her impassioned colleague, and shares his mentoring role to the students.
Octavius (age 22; b. 1974): Senior at Trout College and Professor Sitwell’s star student. A classic golden child. President of the student body and nearly certain to be valedictorian—unless archrival Sun Yee Mon outclasses him. Runs $50 million investment portfolio from his dorm room, seeded by wealthy friends from Swiss boarding school. Multi-ethnic with parents from Beirut and London.