Othello: Abridged


                     THE PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN OTHELLO: ABRIDGED
                                         OR
                 THE... PHILIP... SEYMOUR... HOFFMAN... OTH...ELL...
                                        ...
                                        O...
                     From the "Broadway Abridged" Shorts Archives
                                                          By Gil Varod
                                      






            SCENE: AN 860 SEAT THEATER AT NYU THAT STILL INSISTS UPON
            BEING CALLED "OFF-BROADWAY".


                                   RODERIGO
            NEVER TELL ME...
            I TAKE IT MUCH...
                          (he pauses for a bit)
            UNKINDLY.
            THAT THOU...
                          (he stands up, walks over to
                           Iago, looks at him, looks at
                           the audience, then back to
                           Iago)
            IAGO...
                          (he nods to himself, stopping
                           between words to do so)
            WHO HAST MY PURSE...


                                   Fifteen minutes of pausing pass.


                                   RODERIGO
            AS IF THE STRINGS...
                          (he thinks for a short while)
            WERE THINE.


                                   Enter Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            Hey, anybody mind if I just keep on this green shirt I came
            in with today?


                                   Everybody pauses in unison at Philip
                                   Seymour Hoffman.  


                                   This must mean they are okay with this
                                   costuming choice.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            Great.
                          (speaking Shakespearean:)
            `SBLOOD, BUT YOU WILL NOT...
                          (he pauses, but for a much
                           shorter time than Roderigo)
            Hear me..
                          (as if walking and talking is
                           too difficult to perform at
                           the same time):
            If ever I did dream of such a matter...
                          (NOW SHOUTING out of nowhere)
            ABBBBBBHHOOOOOOOOR MEEEEEEE.


                                   RODERIGO
            Thou...
            told'st...
            me...
            thou...
            didst...hold...


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            What the hell are you doing?


                                   RODERIGO
            Pausing between words for blank emphasis. 


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            In God's name why?


                                   RODERIGO
            Because you're doing it.  Me and the rest of the cast just
            found out who Shakespeare is last night, and we figured we
            should do it like you do because you're Philip Seymour
            Hoffman.  
            And when you do it, it doesn't sound *so* bad.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            If I'm not the only one doing the pausing thing, then my
            pausing thing is going to lose all meani--
            Wait is *everybody* going to pause in this play?


                                   BLACK OTHELLO
            Let... him... do... hisss.... sss... sss.


                                   BLACK CASSIO
            The duke.... does... greet... you...
            ...
            ...
            ...
            ...
            gener...
            al...


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            Holy shit.  Thank god we're not doing the full uncut script.


                                   DIRECTOR PETER SELLARS
            Maybe we are, actually?  Hard to tell.  Mostly because I
            directed in 90 extra minutes of pausing.
            The idea of actors performing Shakespeare doing actions and
            acting *on* the line instead of *between* is something I
            guess I never heard of.
            NOW EVERYBODY REMEMBER, WHEN YOU'RE STANDING STILL, SHIFT
            YOUR WEIGHT BACK AND FORTH LIKE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN IN A PLAY
            BEFORE!


                                   BLACK OTHELLO
            Come, Desdemona, I have but an hour (of endless pausing and)
            Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
            To spend with thee.  So if it please the lady
            To join me at this bed composed entir'ly 
            Of 15" Dell Flat Panel Monitors
            Upon which we shall make noble love.


                                   DESDEMONA
            O, but I fear
            That by "make noble love",
            Mine lord means we shall lay upon the screensaver-laiden 
            Flat Panels
            And rub each other's wrists for many minutes
            Whilst a spotlight shines upon us at much too many lumens
            Being ridiculously bright, yea.


                                   BLACK CASSIO
            Woe is me, as ninety minutes have just passed us by
            And yet nothing has happened yet.  
            Perhaps we could'st pretend for a twinkly that there is't a
            sense of urgency?
            Any sense of urgency?
            Seriously guys.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            But Cassio, thou race and skin tone maketh it clear
            That Othello in this production ist not the lone Moor.
            By Saint Peter, that must mean we have at least cut the lines
            about Othello being the only moor, and how strange and
            wondrous it is that a black man gained higher office?


                                   DIRECTOR PETER SELLARS
            Nay, we're leaving in every line regardless of whether it
            fits with my weird-ass vision.  
            Speaking of which, who wants to speak Shakespearean dialogues
            and monologues on cellphones?


                                   75% OF THE CAST
            I do!  (As if I had a choice!)


                                   Suddenly, Cassio gets drunk, just like
                                   Shakespeare wrote!


                                   And then, Cassio tries to rape... a
                                   girl who is now saying Bianca and/or
                                   Montano's lines?


                                   Just like Shakespeare definitely did
                                   not write.


                                   BLACK OTHELLO
                          (to BLACK CASSIO)
            I am more disgusted with you than in the original that
            Shakespeare wrote, because instead of you drunkenly fighting,
            you drunkenly raped a character we made up.


                                   BLACK CASSIO
            Wow, what a great idea for a thematic modern change--


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            Cassio, 
            What was he that you followed with your sword?
            And by "he", I mean "she".
            And by "sword", I can only possibly mean "penis".


                                   BLACK CASSIO
            --nevermind then.


                                   Desdemona drops her handkerchief.


                                   EMILIA
            I am glad... I have found... this napkin...
            For pausing this much...
            Makes me drool a bit...


                                   AUDIENCE
            Ungh.... UNGH... can we have an intermission yet?


                                   We get to emulate "Lord Of The Rings:
                                   Return of the King" by having 5 false
                                   endings.


                                   Finally everybody gets offstage.


                                   AUDIENCE
            OH THANK GOD.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            We've been acting real hard for two and a half hours, do we have 
            to do the second half?


                                   A third of the audience leaves.
                                   In real life.


                                   PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
            Guess that answers that question.


                                        BLACKOUT.

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