La Bete: Abridged

Dear William Shakespeare,
You have an excuse for your writing often being inaccessible.  It is about 400 years old.  At the time, it was more accessible.  So, good job.
Sincerely,
Broadway Abridged.

Dear David Hirson,
You wrote La Bete 19 years ago.
We just thought that you might not have been aware.
Sincerely,
Broadway Abridged
                                  LA BETE ABRIDGED
                                         OR
                             RHYMING WON'T SAVE YOU NOW
                            A "Broadway Abridged" Script
                                                            By Gil Varod






            SCENE: THE MUSIC BOX THEATER, IN SOME SORT OF METER.


                                   We hear a track of someone sing.
                                   Two actors onstage are arguing.


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            I hate him so, whatever the cost.
            I hate him--


                                   GUY NOT ABOVE THE TITLE
                         Dave, the audience is lost.


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            They're lost?  We're three lines into the play.
            Is it the rhymes?


                                   GUY NOT ABOVE THE TITLE
                              That's it part-way.
            It's: Why are we arguing?  Are we in France?
            Who are these people?


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
                                  Here's Mark Rylance!


                                   GUY NOT ABOVE THE TITLE
            Oh good, this crap could use the impacting
            Of Mark Rylance's brilliant acting.


                                   Enter Mark Rylance.  
                                   (In very weird pants.)


                                   MARK RYLANCE
            I'm Mark Rylance, I'm awesome, it's true.
            Just listen to me monologue for you!
            I'll blab about art.  I'll eat.  I'll spit.
            In part of my monologue, I take a shit!
            I'll speak for forever.  But please don't ask why
            I don't stop till thirty-five minutes go by.
            You'll thank the stars that I'm at least funny.
            But I won't move the plot, I'll never be done-y.
            At 8:40pm your foot you'll be tappin'
            And wondrin' when something in this play will happen.
            I'll act as annoying as annoying can be
            But couldn't we learn that in two minutes?  Three?
            Why thirty-five?


                                   GUY NOT ABOVE THE TITLE
                            A reasonable suggestion.


                                   PLAYWRIGHT DAVID HIRSON
            I think that I'm able to answer that question.
            You may think this play is older than the sun
            From the language, but really, it's from `91.
            And it must be two hours, my play can't be shorter!
            Why not shove a monologue as the first quarter?
            Yes John Guare was known to once utter the sound,
            "The audience gives playwrights an hour to fuck around.
            If he doesn't have them then, he's lost them forever."
            So we're only thirty five--


                                   MARK RYLANCE
                                       I'm not sure whether
            You heard that quote right.  He said not "an hour",
            He said *fifteen minutes*.


                                   PLAYWRIGHT DAVID HIRSON
                                      Well now I feel dour.
            Perhaps this small little tidbit displays
            Why in 20 years I've only churned out two plays.


                                   MARK RYLANCE
            Perhaps it's a blessing to all who've come-ly.
            Oh look, finally it's Joanna Lumley.


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
            It's 8:45, let's explain the plot.
            I am a princess.  I'm royal a lot.
            You're all in my royal acting company.
            I patron for all of you people--


                                   MARK RYLANCE
                                             Not me!


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
            Yes I find Mark Rylance's one-man-shows fierce.
            I want him to act with you, David Hyde Pierce.


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            But I hate Mark Rylance, he's oh so annoying!


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
            Well I liked him lots in that show, Boying, Boying.


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            Um, that's not the title--


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
                                      Enough of your prattle!
            Let's watch him perform, yes this is the battle.
            If I like his play, then he is in your troupe.
            If not I'll discard him, he's not in the group.


                                   MARK RYLANCE
            In my play two brothers both vie for affection
            Of one single woman, she makes a selection
            And he who is not chosen, well that one, he dies.
            And something with some leg that's wooden--


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
                                                        How wise!
            Just look at the meaning, the huge parallels!


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            To modern-day France's e-con-o-mic hells?


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
            No, to "La Bete", where two actors vie
            For the affection of one single woman, that's I!
            And instead of one actor ending up dead
            By the end of the play, the play does instead!


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            I thought that Mark Rylance's story was crappy.
            I want him kicked out, so I can be happy!


                                   OTHER ACTORS IN TROUPE
            His play wasn't good, but it wasn't contentious
            Unlike yours, you see, *yours* are pretentious!


                                   DAVID HYDE PIERCE
            How is the audience supposed to even know
            If my playwright character can write a show?
            At no point do they ever see what I write
            How can they think that my work's poor or trite?
            Or whether the art that we're talking about
            Believes whether playwrights should simply sell out?


                                   JOANNA LUMLEY
            Is that what the plot is?  But then what's the point?


                                   OTHER ACTORS IN TROUPE
            To blabber on rhyming?  To just disappoint?
            To say something "artsy" without really saying?
            To speak in these couplets in a language decaying?
            To watch a whole play and not even care
            Cause the playwright's deluded that he's Moliere?
            To just watch the great Mark Rylance in an awed-way?


                                   MARK RYLANCE
            No.
            To realize there's reason this bombed last on Broadway.


                                        BLACKOUT.

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