With Dorian Lockett, Jayme Catalano & Laura Peterson
OTHELLO DESDEMONA JESSICA SHYLOCK, ATTORNEY AT LAW
A press conference. Jessica is at center between Othello & Des.
JESSICA: Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you for coming tonight. My name is Jessica Shylock, spelled SHYLOCK. I'm the junior partner at Shylock, Portia, and Finch, the ACLU representative for the Center for IslamicAmerican Relations, and the counsel for my two clients: Desdemona BinMohammed and Captain Othello BinMohammed.
Oth: US Navy, Retired.
Jss: On May 13th, the IbnMohammeds cleared preflight security and boarded VeniceAir Flight 1622 departing Logan International for Lacarna International. Can you tell us why were you both traveling to Cyprus?
Des: Most gracious lords, To my unfolding lend your prosperous ears / And let me find a surety to my voice / To assist my simpleness.
Des: That I did love the Moor to Oth: (interrupting) We’re newlyweds.
Jss: They’re newlyweds. This was to be the start of their honeymoon. Instead, it was the start of the violation of my client's civil rights. My client placed a call to his AirBnB host in the Turkish portion of Cyprus, requiring the use of the Turkish language in which my client is fluent. The passenger adjacent to him, mistaking turkish for arabic, approached the VeniceAir flight crew and notified them of his discomfort. The flight crew then asked my client to exit the aircraft and conduct a security interview. My client asked if the flight would be held while he answered their questions. No guarantee was forthcoming, so my client declined the interview. At that point, my client was informed his refusal to leave the aircraft would be grounds for his removal from the flight.
Oth: It was like something out of a Kafka novel.
Jss: “Remove yourself, or be removed for refusing to remove yourself.” Shortly, Mrs. IbnMohammed became visibly upset at her husband’s treatment and questioned VeniceAir’s decision. This was used as pretext to call terminal police to escort both my clients off the flight, which leads us to today: Ejecting my clients based on a fellow passenger’s ignorance and hearsay is incompetence at best and a violation of his civil rights at worst. My father, the senior partner at Shylock, Portia, and Finch, has helped Mr. IbnMohammed prepare a statement on his treatment. Sir?
Oth: (reading at first, off book at some point) Ladies and gentlemen, my birth, my service, and my choices all declare that I am an American. I say again. I am a American. Hath not an American rights? Hath he not hopes, dreams, feelings, dignity, and the protections of the fourth amendment? If you stop us, do we not halt? If you search us, do we not yield? If you ‘prison us, do we not suffer?
And if you violate our constitutional rights Shall we not sue?
Jss: Sir, I think we shall.
Oth: (s otto voce) Did he really write that?
Jss: (s otte voce) Oh yeah, totally original.
Des: But is that all?
Jss: Uh.. yah. (shuffles papers) Now, there has been a rise in profiling cases such as Des: What of the cocktail napkin?
Oth: Napkin? What napkin?
Des: Thou knowest full well.
Oth: (shakes his head to signal confusion) Jessica, let’s move on.
Jss: My clients seek
Des: Thy client seeks the wherefore of how Othello’s cocktail rag Blazoned with whereabouts of our Cypriot lodgement,Was lodged itself in the breast pocket of our wellformed flight attendant. Have I jogged thy memory loose, thou similarly loose man?
Jss: Who is she talking about?
Oth: Um. I think she means... Cassio?
Des: O the pernicious caitiff! The precious villain! Feigns’t thou ignorance of his name to flaunt me, sirrah?Let me declare it as you were wont to declare your affections to him: Cassio!
Jess: Casio? What is he, a wristwatch?
Des: A wristwatch? Nay, a dutch clock, from whose cunning flap shoots forth the cuckoo’s brazen shaft each hour, or far oftener as the eager hand will wind it. Such a clockwork pedlar is Cassio, (g rabbing Othello) and such is the hand which hoped to make him crow “ha ha! For the mile high club.”
Jss: Is this remotely true?
Oth: I wrote our room number and hotel name on the napkin.
Oth: But I never gave it out.
Des: (brandishing the napkin) Then how comes it hither?
Oth: Because you took it.
Des: Aye, from Cassio’s pocket, in which, Thou libertine naughty man, you hoped t’would soak thy stain.
Oth: Ok. this is really upsetting.
Des: Soft, my oncedear heart. Think not that I hate thy soul, For if as Jove to Ganymede must so your lusts incline, Then shove to'it, sir, shove to. I am no homophobic. But marry not me, and thereby prove me perjurefalse For I was honest once, in times before I loved. But joining thy dishonesty, dishonest am I proved.
Oth: I swear I have been true.
Des: Wert thou a Navy man?
Des: I rest my case.
Othello bursts out in tears. Jessica comforts him.
Jss: Ok, enough with the circumstantial evidence and the queer shaming.
Oth: (bawling) It’s like a Kafka novel!
Jss: There there. (to Des) I don’t know how long you two have been together, but this blowup doesn’t come from nowhere. If you went to the wedding altar with these kind of doubts about your man, then maybe you should be as mad at yourself as you are at him.
Des: Perhap ... Perhap I spoke in hangry haste.
Jss: ‘Deed, perhap thou didst. Now will you please eat a power bar or something and chill for a sec?
Othello produces an airplane snack packet of chex mix. Des snubs it.
Jss: Look, whenever my dad ran into a muddle like this, he’d fall back on a latin phrase:
Oth: Cui bono?
Des: (taking the chex mix) “Who dost profit thereof”
Oth: (adoring) You’re so smart.
Des: Fie on thee. (beat) Verily?
Jss: Ahem. In ejecting you from the flight, let us ask Cui bono?
Oth: The airline?
Jss: Not really. Even if the suit doesn’t pay out, the press coverage, to say the least, is
as mixed as this snack packet. (she takes a chex mix and eats)
Des: Then... Cassio!
Jss: Watchman didn’t know you from Adam. The simple facts are: (drags three chairs front and center, then recreates the scene with their help) Des, you had the window seat. Your husband was in the center. I’ll be the other passenger. That napkin started with your husband. It wound up with Cassio. Now think on all scenarios. we establish that another party had the means and the motive to move it?
Des: Mayhap the gentleman in the aisle seat?
Jss: The one who mistook your turkish for arabic?
Oth: That fool?
Des: But he had an honest face.
Jss: All seeming aside, did he get to Cassio first!
Des: Why, that he must have done...
Jss: For how else did Cassio know to throw you out? There’s the means. So now we go to motive.
Des: Mark you this: just as my husband and I were ushered out, I’ll recreate our neighbor’s part. (Desdemona sits in the aisle, looks around, stretching out, and getting real comfortable and manspready on the chairs.)
Jss: Wait. Are you saying he played the islamophobia card, misinformed a trained flight crew, sent you off to be interrogated under guard, and triggered a civil rights lawsuit... Just so he could spread his lazy ass out in your empty seats? ... God! Who does that?!
Oth: Well, he did say his name was Iago. (Jessica facepalms) What, do you know him?