Interrogating Mandy Patinkin

Early in the morning, not too far in the future, a shadowy, hooded figure drifts onto the set of “Homeland.” As he or she approaches each cast member in turn, a slight whisper causes them to blanch and withdraw. Soon, an oblivious Mandy Patinkin wanders in from makeup. An assistant, visibly shaken, mutters something about workshopping a new polygraph scene and ushers Patinkin onto a nearly-vacant sound stage. Patinkin shrugs and takes a seat. A bare bulb dangles. His chair is uncomfortable. The assistant Scotch-tapes a handful of fake electrodes to his arm and beats a hasty retreat. The hooded figure sits across from him.

The Figure — Why is it you always get to sit in the shade, while I have to stand in the sun?

Mandy Patinkin — What?

The Figure — Who was at the zoo, George?

Mandy Patinkin — Wait, I’m sorry — who are you?

The Figure — The monkeys and who, George?

Mandy Patinkin — Is this a joke? Is “Punk’d” even still on the air?

The Figure — How do you work without the right, white light? Is this the right light?

Mandy Patinkin — Oh, my God. You’re not…

The Figure — Who is the woman willing to wait, to return you to the light?

Mandy Patinkin — Are you…are you doing “Sunday in the Park With George”? Are you just a Sondheim nut? Are you the one sending me the letters?

The Figure — Do you care about things, or people?

Mandy Patinkin — What’s wrong with you? Why are you doing this?

The Figure — Why must you finish the hat? Why must you always finish the hat?

Mandy Patinkin — It’s just a play. A good play! But…just a play.

The Figure — Have you left a little space in the way like a window?

Mandy Patinkin — I’m out of here.

As Patinkin pushes his chair back, the hooded figure leans forward and says two, quick words in his ear. Patinkin sits. He swallows. He awaits his next question.

The Figure — What do you feel?

Mandy Patinkin — What do I feel? You know exactly how I feel. Why do you insist you must hear the words, when you know I cannot give you words? Not the ones you need. There’s nothing to say. I cannot be what you want.

The Figure — Thank you.

As the hooded figure leaves, Patinkin exhales, dropping his head into his hands. The door closes, and immediately reopens to reveal a second hooded figure.

The Second Figure — Who killed your father?

Mandy Patinkin — …no.

The Second Figure — Are you left-handed?

Mandy Patinkin — (tiny tiny screams)