Otis Furioso

Institute History

  • 1993 January Screenwriters Lab


It's a black day for the upper crust of toney Bruiseborough Township when their most desirable single woman, Adina, bolts from home to live in the woods with an outcast named Otis.

A curse is put on Otis for crossing the line that divides the higher classes from the low. He and Adina are forcibly separated, and Otis, his wits unhinged, is convinced that his lover has been transformed into a thundercloud.

He follows the cloud across a surreal landscape peopled with creatures like the Woman Who Would Not Weep and her disconsolate husband; a wisecracking turtle trapped on its back; a skeptical tree with a mysterious ailment; a trapper of moss; and the forlorn larangytical accapella group, the Singing Thimbles. These characters manage to rise above their misfortunes to assist the bedeviled Otis in his quest for an apparently unattainable love.

Drawn by the cloud further and further from town, Otis finally teeters on the kind of brink often met by lovers, artists, inventors and any other spellbound soul. He may be forever lost in the riddle of Bruiseborough's curse, deprived of his love and his home and his senses. Or he might find the key, if he'd only stop looking.

Otis Furioso plays fast and loose with the honorable conventions of Ariosto's epic of thwarted love, Orlando Furioso; also The Faerie Queen, Don Quixote; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Albanian folktales, Medieval superstitions, Chuck Jones and the Marx Brothers.


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