The Libertine

I wanted to write something about the writing of The Libertine. A collective of my favourite lines and monologues, because the writing is truly beautiful. The Libertine is based on the true life of John Wilmot, the earl of Rochester, and his relations with the actress Lizzie Barry. 

Mrs Barry: I want the passionate love of my audience. I want, when I make a sweep of my arm, to carry their hearts away, and when I die that they should sigh for never seeing me again. 

Mrs Barry is asked what she wants from the theatre, and she retorts very passionately, almost in a daze with this line. 

Rochester: I cannot feel in life, I must have others do it for me here

Mrs Barry: You are spoken of as a man with a stomach for life

These lines I feel, don’t need a caption. They are melancholic. 

Rochester: But in the playhouse, every action good or bad has its consequences; drop a handkerchief and it will return to smother you. Outside the playhouse there are for me no crimes and no consequences. 

I liked this bit, because I felt it showed the true tragedy of a man who has lost his love of life, who can do whatever he wishes. It showed the truth of the theatre. Everything has meaning, everything has consequence. 

Rochester: Here in this Theatre we can pretend that our lives have meaning…. The theatre is my soothing drug, and my cynic’s illness is so far advanced that my physic must be of the highest quality. 

This just has so much truth to it. To anyone, theatre people or not. 

Mrs. Barry: You gave a divine talent. And yet you choose to see only what is base and mean. You are one-eyes. You look at humanity and you see the monkey, but you close your eye to the angel. When I am on stage, I give wing to the angel, I let her soar over the rowdy Pit creatures until I have silenced them with the flapping of her wings. That is why they have begun to listen to me. Because they leave the theatre with a larger idea of themselves and they become more noble in their daily lives. You show them to be a scrawny monkey in a shabby coat who shits and mounts its mate and they go on their way meaner. 

This monologue is beautiful, revealing of what truly happens when the audience leaves a theatre. Of the effect Theatre has. 

Rochester: I love theatres. They remind me of ships, great rocking galleons floating into battle. 

Because society and life is a battle. And the theatre is your weapon

Etherege: Love gilds us over and makes us show fine things to each other for a time, but soon the gold wears off and then again the native brass appears. 

Love is nothing but an illusion, designed to lure the human spirit out of it’s hard exterior.

Rochester: I am nature and you are art, let us see how we compare

Art imitates life, and life imitates Art.  

Rochester: When I poured away the last bottle of wine I saw the blood of christ streaming onto the floor and it took all my effort not to throw myself on my face and guzzle. But I desisted and my mind cleared and I made an inventory of my life and found much wanting: injuries to divers people: want of attention to my affairs: a lifetime spitting in the face of God, and I knew I was to be cast down. I had long ago discarded the layer of formal politeness with which we negotiated the world, but now I had to wade through the slough of my licentiousness until I found level ground underfoot, a ground of true sensibility and love of Christ. Now I gaze upon a pinhead and see angels dancing. 

A man faced with losing his vice, and facing the darkest part of his life, begins to see God in his life. A gorgeous monologue, and a perfect ending- not really a spoiler.  Continue reading “The Libertine”


Romeo & Juliet

‘Tis torture and not mercy. Heaven is here,

Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog

And little mouse, every unworthy thing,

Live here in heaven and may look on her,

But Romeo may not. More validity,

More honorable state, more courtship lives

In carrion flies than Romeo. They may seize

On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand

And steal immortal blessing from her lips,

Who even in pure and vestal modesty,

Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.

But Romeo may not. He is banishèd

Flies may do this, but I from this must fly.

They are free men, but I am banishèd.

And sayst thou yet that exile is not death?

Hadst thou no poison mixed, no sharp-ground knife,

No sudden mean of death, though ne’er so mean,

But “banishèd” to kill me?—“Banishèd”!

O Friar, the damnèd use that word in hell.

Howling attends it. How hast thou the heart,

Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,

A sin-absolver, and my friend professed,

To mangle me with that word “banishèd”?

Because of the chat about Shakespeare, I thought I’d share one of my favourite monologues from his work with you. I resisted from posting ‘To be or not to be’, because I mean, we all already know that. I’m not the biggest fan of Romeo & Juliet, but I do love this monologue from Romeo, just after he’s been banished from Verona. I saw it performed at my audition for CSSD, and the guy who did it, did it brilliantly, and got a deserving recall. Despite Romeo being basically a whiney teenager, this monologue has a lot of raw emotion and shows his deep love for Juliet. It is very emotional, and also a good monologue to perform for an audition I think. I hope to use it in the future.


The Memory of Water

Catherine:      Fuck it! (Silence. She bursts into racking sobs) I went to this counsellor – did I tell you this?- or a therapist or something and she said that I had this problem and the problem was, I give to much, I just do too much for other people, I’m just a very giving person, and I never get any credit for any of it. I haven’t even got any friends. I mean, I have but I don’t like most of them, especially the women, and I try really hard, it’s just that I’m very sensitive and I get taken for a ride, nothing ever goes right, every time, I mean, every time it’s the same – like with men. What is it with men? I mean, I don’t have a problem with men or anything. I love men. I’ve been to bed with seventy-eight of them, I counted, so obviously there’s not a problem or anything, it’s just he didn’t even apologise or anything and how can he say on the phone he doesn’t want to see me any more? I mean, why now? Why couldn’t he have waited? I don’t know what to do, why does it always go wrong? I don’t want to be on my own, I’m sick of people saying I’ll be better off on my own, I’m not that sort of person, I can’t do it. I did everything for him, I was patient and all the things you’re supposed to be and people kept saying don’t accept this from him, don’t accept that, like, you know, when he stayed out all night, not every often, I mean once or twice, and everyone said tell him to fuck off, but how could I because what if he did? Because they all do, everyone I’ve ever met does, they all disappear and I don’t know if it’s me or what. I don’t want to be on my own, I can’t stand it, I know it’s supposed to be great but I don’t  think it is. I can’t help it, it’s no good pretending, it’s fucking lonely and I can’t bear it.

This monologue is from The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson. It’s from Catherine – The youngest sister of three – who have just lost their mother. She is thirty-three and come home for the funeral. She is extremely childish and self-absorbed. I really like this monologue because it explores issues of family and also mental health issues. It is her opening up to her family about her, now, ex-boyfriend. It is also quite enjoyable to do, because you can have fun with it and make it quite melodramatic and put on the façade that everything is so terrible for her. I’m using this for some of my auditions for Uni, and hopefully will be quite good for it.

Oscar Wilde

LADY BRACKNELL: Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd. Nor do I in any way approve of the modern sympathy with invalids. I consider it morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others. Health is the primary duty of life. I am always telling that to your poor uncle, but he never seems to take much notice . . . as far as any improvement in his ailment goes. Well, Algernon, of course if you are obliged to be beside the bedside of Mr. Bunbury, I have nothing more to say. But I would be much obliged if you would ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me. It is my last reception, and one wants something that will encourage conversation, particularly at the end of the season when every one has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much.

I love Oscar Wilde, and I think this is a brilliant little monologue. Lady Bracknell is such a strong character – embodying the victorian ethics. If she says no, the answer is no- There is no way around that, even if it’s a matter of life and death, according to this monologue.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Rosencrantz: Do you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with the lid on it? Nor do I really. Silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like being alive in a box. One keeps forgetting to take into account that one is dead. Which should make all the difference. Shouldn’t it? I mean, you’d never know you were in a box would you? It would be just like you were asleep in a box. Not that I’d like to sleep in a box, mind you. Not without any air. You’d wake up dead for a start and then where would you be? In a box. That’s the bit I don’t like, frankly. That’s why I don’t think of it. Because you’d be helpless wouldn’t you? Stuffed in a box like that. I mean, you’d be in there forever. Even taking into account the fact that you’re dead. It isn’t a pleasant thought. Especially if you’re dead, really. Ask yourself: if I asked you straight off I’m going to stuff you in this box now – would you rather to be alive or dead?
Naturally you’d prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all. I expect. You’d have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking, well, at least I’m not dead. In a minute, somebody’s going to bang on the lid and tell me to come out. (knocks) “Hey you! What’s your name? Come out of there!”

This is one of my favourite monologues from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead- I think this could be done genderless and In lieu of Hamlet I thought I’d share this with you. The play is based off two of the characters from Hamlet – Rosencrantz and  GuildensternClose friends and physicians of Hamlet who are killed in the uprising in Denmark