Doctor Faust, by Lawrence Summers

summersfaust(Scene: Drew Gilpin Faust, a female, is reflecting in her study.)

Faust: Damn it all! I have learned everything that my lowly female brain could possibly hold, and I am still unsatisfied… (to audience) because, you know, women are never satisfied. Am I right, guys? Am I right? (back to monologue) I have studied History for as long as I can remember, but for some reason, I get the feeling that there’s more to life than Antebellum Southern Society. Isn’t there?

Rosenberg: (yelling, off-stage) Yeah, you could make me a sandwich!

Faust: (to Rosenberg) I am trying to think here, Charles! (back to monologue) I’m tired of research. All that reading really wears down my delicate mind, and my femininity prevents me from making any valuable contributions anyway. If only there were a way for me to get all the respect that I want without having to work too hard for it…

(A puff of smoke. Mephistopheles appears dressed in crimson)

Mephisto: Perhaps I may be of service to you.

Faust: Who are you?

Mephisto: Who I am is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I come from Hell.

Faust: Hell?

Mephisto: Oh, sorry, “Hell” is my pet name for Harvard University.

Faust: What does Harvard want to do with me?

Mephisto: Well, the women faculty at Harvard have their panties in a bunch because the devilishly charming ex-President said they can’t do science or math.

Faust: Oh, I remember that. That was wrong of him to say.

Mephisto: Oh really? Then solve a math equation, right now. Any math equation that comes to mind.

Faust: Well, umm… (panicking) Can I use a calculator?

Mephisto: Go ahead.

Faust: (takes out calculator from desk, jabs her finger at it) I don’t know how to work this thing. Can I get Charles to help me?

Mephisto: Nope.

Faust: I can’t figure this out! (throws it away) Ok, so what’s your point?

Mephisto: Well, the University is looking for a new President…

Faust: Uh-huh.

Mephisto: And you just said that you wanted more power and respect…

Faust: Yes, I did.

Mephisto: And Harvard wants to clear all rumors of sexism…

Faust: Right.

Mephisto: And a female President would do just that…

Faust: Indeed…

Mephisto: So maybe we could work out a deal…

Faust: Ok…

Mephisto: One that will fulfill both of our needs…

Faust: Mm hmm…

Mephisto: Ergo… (pause)

Faust: … Ergo what?

Mephisto: Bitch, can’t you connect the dots?

Faust: There are dots?

Mephisto: Damn it, I’m giving you the opportunity to become Harvard’s next President!

Faust: (surprised and ecstatic) Really?! You have come to me exclusively with this offer?

Mephisto: Actually, first, we asked two men, Thomas Cech and Lee Bollinger, but they declined. Then we approached two women, Ruth Simmons and Shirley Tilghman, but they also declined, so… yeah, do you want it?

Faust: Yes! I mean, maybe… what do I have to give you in exchange? Do you want my soul?

Mephisto: Psh, women don’t have souls!

Faust: My brain?

Mephisto: As if that’s worth anything.

Faust: Of course it is! I am a Doctor!

Mephisto: Pfft, Like women could ever become ‘Doctors.’

Faust: It’s true!

Mephisto: Oh really, you’re a Doctor of what?

Faust: American Civilization. (pauses for a moment of self-realization) Okay, fine, you win.

Mephisto: Good. Don’t worry, there’s nothing really valuable we can get from a woman, not unless she’s really hot. So, we don’t need anything from you. Let’s just say that, intentionally or unintentionally, you will be doing the devil’s work.

Faust: The Devil?

Mephisto: Who?

Faust: What?

Mephisto: Hmm?

Faust: Huh? Wait, what are we talking about?

Mephisto: Exactly.

Faust: So when do I start working?

Mephisto: As soon as you want.

Faust: How about July 1st?

Mephisto: But that’s… sure, whatever you want.

Rosenberg: (yelling, off-stage) That sandwich isn’t making itself!

Faust: (to Rosenberg) Gimme a sec! (to Mephistopheles) Excuse me, I must attend to some important business matters but thanks for everything.

Mephisto: No problem. (Faust leaves. Mephisto mutters to himself.) “How about July 1st?” There aren’t any classes in July, you stupid bitch.

(puff of smoke, Mephistopheles disappears)

END SCENE

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