Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Salomé by Oscar Wilde

Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of Monologue Monday. Today we take on another Oscar Wilde monologue. We’ve covered An Ideal Husband here.

I’m stealing the plot of 1891’s Salome from the RSC website:

“Salomé is the princess of Judaea, daughter of Queen Herodias, step-daughter to King Herod. Judaea was a province of Ancient Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar. 

On the night in question, King Herod and Queen Herodias are hosting a wild, drunken banquet. Salomé sneaks away from this banquet out to the terrace to escape the leery eyes of Herod and his entourage.

On the terrace, Salomé meets a captured young Syrian prince who is totally and completely hypnotised by her beauty. But Salomé doesn’t pay attention to him. She’s more interested in the mysterious booming voice coming from a prison cell, the voice of Iokanaan, AKA John the Baptist.

Salomé demands to meet this Iokanaan and, though it’s against the rules, her wish is granted. She falls in love with him, but Iokanaan rejects her. Even so, Salomé assures him that she will kiss his mouth. No matter what, she WILL kiss his mouth. 

At just that moment, Herod and his guests burst onto the terrace looking for Salomé. He becomes increasingly fixated on her. Seeing this, Queen Herodias warns him, with more and more urgency, to stop looking at her. Despite these warnings, and a series of ominous events – Herod starts hearing the distant beating of wings and the moon turns red – he demands that Salomé dance for him.

At first she resists his demands. But, after being promised anything she wishes in return, she agrees. Salomé will dance, the Dance of the Seven Veils. But at what price? “

SPOILER ALERT: she dances in exchange for Iokanaan’s head.

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Sadly, the emojipedia lacks a Salomé emoticon.

The story of Salomé mostly comes to us from Josephus and the Bible.

Though classified as a tragedy, I founds bits of it to be funny.

Salomé isn’t the most sympathetic character out there, but it looks like a fun role. Here’s the monologue we usually see:

SALOMÉ: [Holding the severed head of Iokanaan.] Ah! thou wouldst not suffer me to kiss thy mouth, Iokanaan. Well! I will kiss it now. I will bite it with my teeth as one bites a ripe fruit. Yes, I will kiss thy mouth, Iokanaan. I said it; did I not say it? I said it. Ah! I will kiss it now. But wherefore dost thou not look at me, Iokanaan? Thine eyes that were so terrible, so full of rage and scorn, are shut now. Wherefore are they shut? Open thine eyes! Lift up thine eyelids, Iokanaan! Wherefore dost thou not look at me? Art thou afraid of me, Iokanaan, that thou wilt not look at me? And thy tongue, that was like a red snake darting poison, it moves no more, it speaks no words, Iokanaan, that scarlet viper that spat its venom upon me. It is strange, is it not? How is it that the red viper stirs no longer? Thou wouldst have none of me, Iokanaan. Thou rejectedest me. Thou didst speak evil words against me. Thou didst bear thyself toward me as to a harlot, as to a woman that is a wanton, to me, Salome, daughter of Herodias, Princess of Judaea! Well, I still live, but thou art dead, and thy head belongs to me. I can do with it what I will. I can throw it to the dogs and to the birds of the air. That which the dogs leave, the birds of the air shall devour. Ah, Iokanaan, Iokanaan, thou wert the man that I loved alone among men! All other men were hateful to me. But thou wert beautiful! Thy body was a column of ivory set upon feet of silver. It was a garden full of doves and lilies of silver. It was a tower of silver decked with shields of ivory. There was nothing in the world so white as thy body. There was nothing in the world so black as thy hair. In the whole world there was nothing so red as thy mouth. Thy voice was a censer that scattered strange perfumes, and when I looked on thee I heard strange music. Ah! wherefore didst thou not look at me, Iokanaan? With the cloak of thine hands, and with the cloak of thy blasphemies thou didst hide thy face. Thou didst put upon thine eyes the covering of him who would see God. Well, thou hast seen thy God, Iokanaan, but me, me, thou didst never see me. If thou hadst seen me thou hadst loved me. I saw thee, and I loved thee. Oh, how I loved thee! I love thee yet, Iokanaan. I love only thee. I am athirst for thy beauty; I am hungry for thy body; and neither wine nor apples can appease my desire. What shall I do now, Iokanaan? Neither the floods nor the great waters can quench my passion. I was a princess, and thou didst scorn me. I was a virgin, and thou didst take my virginity from me. I was chaste, and thou didst fill my veins with fire. Ah! ah! wherefore didst thou not look at me? [She kisses the head.] Ah! I have kissed thy mouth, Iokanaan, I have kissed thy mouth. There was a bitter taste on thy lips. Was it the taste of blood? Nay; but perchance it was the taste of love. They say that love hath a bitter taste. But what matter? what matter? I have kissed thy mouth.

Monologues are usually best delivered to severed heads, right?

Something happened with YouTube. I can’t seem to be able to link to a specific part of the video. Sorry about that.

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…and in German!!! (it starts about 50 seconds in)

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Thanks again and see you on Monday!!!

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From their site: “In this modern interpretation, we explore the results of the objectification of one extraordinary woman. How does Salome evolve under the constant scrutiny of the male gaze? What happens when she harnesses her sexuality for empowerment? A physical, feminist adaptation.” Apparently this production even went to Korea. 
Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Thomas More in Sir Thomas More (Anthony Munday, Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker & Shakespeare)

Things get interesting on this Monologue Monday. I was originally going to profile A Man for All Seasons about Thomas More (Catholic saint and proto-Communist). Sadly, not many monologues are available online from this wonderful play. But there is another play entitled Sir Thomas More and one monologue from this play has picked up steam in recent years.

The play is unusual in that it’s divided into thirds and depicts three distinct portions of More’s life with little overlap. 1. Thomas More stops a riot in 1517 when he was under-sherif of London. 2. His private family life showing how kind and funny he was. 3. His time as Privy Councilor and Lord Chamberlain and opposition to king Henry VIII, resulting in More’s execution.

The play is also unusual because a whole lot of dudes [sorry ladies] wrote it. Apparently, Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle produced the first draft. Then several years later, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker and old Bill Shakespeare hammered out another draft. Naturally the monologue is attributed to Shakespeare (this may be some PR at work). If you’re interested, we’ve profiled other Shakespeare monologues before. Check Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Rumor in Henry V, part 2, The Jailer’s Daughter in Two Noble KInsmen and Imogen/Innogen in Cymbeline.

Back to our monologue. Ill May Day (aka Evil May Day) was a real thing. Normally, May Day = Party Day. But not in 1517. In recent years, wealthy merchants and bankers had been immigrating to London but also laborers had immigrated as well. Most of the immigrants were French-speaking Protestants fleeing persecution or Flemish immigrants. They only made up about 2% of London’s population, but for some people that was two percent too much. 

A fortnight before May Day, people started making anti-immigrant speeches and rumors started that “on May Day next the city would rebel and slay all aliens.” And true to the rumors, gangs of folks tried to do just that. To Henry VIII’s credit, he was not a fan and tried to stop the riot, ordering his right hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to end it. Thomas More, as under-sheriff of London, made an appeal to the rioters. Apparently, it stalled them but didn’t stop the riots, though some foreigners thought it helped in some way. The irony behind these riots is that the only perople killed were twelve rioters who executed afterwards (hehe). One final irony is that hundreds of people were arrested for treason and could have been executed, but Henry’s wife Queen Catherine of Aragon (a foreigner herself) convinced her husband to pardon and release them.

As you probably know, More eventually wrote Utopia, became Lord Chamberlain and got his head whacked off. There’s a play about all that (and a movie….and another movie).

The monologue that’s speading these days is from Sir Thomas More, Act II, Scene 2 when More confronts the rioters. In the play, he talks them down.

SIR THOMAS MORE

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise

Hath chid down all the majesty of England;

Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,

Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,

Plodding tooth ports and costs for transportation,

And that you sit as kings in your desires,

Authority quite silent by your brawl,

And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;

What had you got? I’ll tell you. You had taught

How insolence and strong hand should prevail,

How order should be quelled; and by this pattern

Not one of you should live an aged man,

For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,

With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,

Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes

Would feed on one another.

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Happy to know I’m not the only playwright who failed penmanship class.
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From here.

I know what you’re thinking: thank God we don’t live in 1517 where everyone’s a racist xenophobic prick. Just kidding. Xenophobia, fascism and racism is still totally a thing and I’m not talking about if a dumpster fire cosnisting of fecal matter and racism were human President Trump  but other countries as well, including, but not limited to, Indonesia, South Africa, Singapore, Poland, South Korea, Germany (but no surprise there), the Netherlands (let me introduce you to South Africa and Indo- oh, never mind), Brazil and speaking of Brazil, here’s Portugal.

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I’d never want to forget the UK and their whole Brexit boner. Perhaps Antarctica is free of xenophobia.
When written, the play was never performed (it was banned), but the Royal Shakespeare Company did a performance in 2006.
Anyways, here’s the monologue being performed, even by Ian McKellen.

 

 

 

For more information about “Evil May Day” please check these links:

Site 1

Site 2

Site 3

For more about the play Sir Thomas More, please check these links:

Site 1

Site 2 (the whole dang play)

Site 3 (a video of [maybe] the whole play)

For more about xenophobia, just look out your window.

We’ll be back on Monday with more monologues!!! Hooray!!!

 

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Callie & Sara in Stop Kiss by Diana Son

Hello everyone!!! This week we bring you a rather interesting play entitled Stop Kiss by American playwright Diana Son. I’ve lifted the plot from the WIkipedia page:

“Sara and Callie are walking through New York City’s West Village very late at night, when they share their first kiss. This leads to a vicious attack by an angry bystander, in which Sara is horribly injured. She falls into a coma, which becomes one of the major subjects of the play. George, Callie’s good friend, tries to help with the situation, but there is little he can do. Peter, Sara’s ex-boyfriend from St. Louis, comes to help nurse her back to health. Throughout Stop Kiss, relationships are explored, formed, and even ended. Diana Son elaborates on the depths of human emotion and compassion in this play.

The story is told out of chronological order: alternating scenes take place respectively before and after the assault, which is not shown onstage.”

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There’s a lot of posters for this play. This one from Alaska is rather literal.

Despite having premiered more than two decades ago, the play’s themes resonate even today. For example, a lesbian couple were attacked in London last month, the bizarre irony being they were attacked after being taunted to kiss, whereas in Son’s play the couple are attacked after their first kiss.

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Not so literal from Minnesota. Funnily enough, another playwright we profiled spent time on this campus.

For trivia’s sake, the original cast featured Jessica Hecht (who has appeared in all sorts of TV shows and plays, from Friends to Breaking Bad to Julius Caesar) and Sandra Oh (who was in Grey’s Anatomy forever and is now on Killing Eve). Both Hecht and Oh appeared in the film Sideways.

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Via here.
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When literal met figurative in Tübingen

Son’s career has done very well, especially in television where she’s written for and/or produced episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Blue Bloods and 13  Reasons Why.

They’ve finished building that building….

Stop Kiss has a few monologues. Let’s see what we can find…the first one is Callie updating Sara on everything after the attack. You can find the monologue here.

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I have to go to this thing…

Here’s a monologue cut from lines from the play. Callie sounds…controlling a bit???

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From here.

 

It was humiliating…

I couldn’t find this monologue in the play, but basically it’s Callie whining about her job.

 

Because we were kissing…

Callie details what happened during the attack. The monologue is available here.

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I do, I know. I sometimes…swerve

Here, Callie reminisces about her parents making her take tennis lessons. This is very relatable for me because my parents did the same damn thing. Hated every minute of hitting that stupid ball back and forth. Seriously, tennis has no purpose.

Here’s the monologue:

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Courtesy here.

You know, Sara and I used to stand at the door…

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From here.

So, listen. Every day…

Sara finally gets a monologue!!! This monologue has been cut from the following bit of dialogue:

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Available here.

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Let’s uh…let’s go somewhere…

This is unusual because the actor has chosen to simply film herself only whilst in the midst of a dialogue. Here is the sample she uses:

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LOVE the handwritten notes on this. From here

 

And here is an interview with our glorious playwright, Diana Son:

 

Finally, here’s a jazz-ish band from Tübingen, Germany that played music during the play’s run there and this is a song they did!!!

 

Join us next Monday for yet another adventure in monologues!!!

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Would You Love Me If…(Joseph Arnone)

Hello everyone!!! I have to interrupt writing the Great American Horror Novel to write this blog post I’m super mega happy to write this blog post.

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Did you know there’s an emojipedia?

We’re back with some more Joseph Arnone, that super mega prolific monologue author.

We’ve covered previous Arnone monologues (Rather Be a Man) (Coffee Table).

This monologue tackles the same question that Wayne’s World tackled back in 1992. It’s basically the ability to love + hypothetical situations. In the movie, it’s “Will you still love me when…” as seen below:

That exchange stays within the realm of the film and character.

Arnone’s monologue takes us to extremes as well, but those extremes define the world of the monologue, which you can read here: https://monologueblogger.com/would-you-love-me-if-serio-comedy-1-minute/

Let’s check out these monologues!!!

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Would you still love any of these people? I certainly hope so. I love the bravery of actors who perform in a foreign language. That’s an even tougehr hurdle to jump. (<<<sports metaphor) 열심히 하세요!!! 화이팅!!!

A couple more random-yet-kinda-related videos. Here’s a song on a similar topic (but plays OH SO SERIOUS!):

 

And now, a cover of the Shirelles’ Will You Love Me Tomorrow? by Mexican duo Las Hermanas Jiménez

Would you still love me if I was a giant emoticon with a cowboy hat?

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Join us next Monday for another Monologue Monday!!!

PS Happy Canada Day!!! (hence the Wayne’s World clip)