Laurier to ER
From Laurier’s Faculty of Music to a recurring guest role on the hit show ER. That’s the trajectory Pragna Desai (BA ’94) took, and she now takes a fond look back at Laurier when speaking about her successful career in the performing arts.
Desai was studying voice at Laurier, intending to become a music teacher, when she took some acting electives taught by English Professor Leslie O’Dell. The professor told Desai that she had talent, and encouraged her to get involved in theatre. Soon, she was acting in local theatre productions, and when she graduated from Laurier, Desai went to
“I slept, ate, and drank theatre for three years,” she says of her time there. Graduating from George Brown, Desai went straight to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival where she was an apprentice member of the company for two years. On her first day of work on the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Desai entered the rehearsal hall to find O’Dell, a script consultant for the theatre.
“It was a sweet reunion, coming full circle,” Desai says. After working in regional theatre, Desai landed on ER, playing the role of Angelique in three episodes. Desai says the experience of working on a hit American television show was wonderful.
“We filmed in
Desai now splits time between
Desai says that she has become fascinated with all aspects of filmmaking and would like to continue developing her skills as a producer. She may be moving in new directions, but she still relies on her training from years ago.
“When I read or write scripts, I have an inner ear for rhythms and beats which comes directly from my musical training. I can hear if something has a good beat and how it should be structured….I would say that my music education informs everything I do.”