No part of this may be sold for profit without written permission of the Author.
Copyright © 1998-1999 all rights reserved by GregRobin Smith.
4742 - 42nd Ave SW, Suite 379, Seattle, WA 98116-4571
Speeches for, and about, the Theatre.
Dedicated to the cast and crew of Madrona's Drama Guild and their production of
"The Scottish Play". Let me know, when you perform these, how it goes.
Many of these are sonnets (tho' writ as prose) some are speeches in (usually) iambic.
How like a mouth this wooden closure stands. The walls? Its cheeks. Its tongue? The actors play. But what for teeth? Why curtains cut the strands That 'tween each act does chew the scene away. At night it gapes, its dreamings fills the halls. At day, 'tis full of feuding argument. At evening, then the practiced word slow crawls Along the lines the playwright's pen has bent. The mind's potential does the Queue ignite Enunciating Havoc or Control. Those witnessing do burn a brighter light Than singly possible, alone and small. How like a mouth, this place, potential breeds.
Yea! Speech does grow our thoughts with words as seeds.
Liam, a loyalist spy, speaks to a Confidant of
betrayal without breath
"Quick, the door shuts, the gate lowers to close. There is not a flicker of time to pause. Give now the secret which you now hold. Chose You this time and place `tween guards; for what cause? You are silent. Think you the dripping on The dungeon walls ceases for you? Caught, Death Meets us quickly. Suspected, we must run. Only tell what news begs your tardy breath. I have no wish to linger twixt this fear And the most dire need to work for her To whom we are sworn. Speak, you. Damn your ears, What short word can move thee. What threat murmured...
[Confidant falls over, dead] Gods, how like life you looked. Now I see, Death.
Fate worked thee to speak betrayal, without breath."
An experienced Tudor courtier speaks to a newly arrived member of
the court of kings
The Court of Kings is a place of power And those who play must execute their moves Well, or be well executed themselves. Dodging the swaying vines and ill flowers Of deceit through this garden-politic Keeps one agile, (since the slow become dead). But though there are many who play this dread Game with spoiling hearts, there are delicate Numbers whose skill and doing are both clean And good. Here, the power of a pure heart And a conscientious mind may yet part This company and do good work and seem Like Medicine thriving in a snake pit.
Aid them well in this task. Think well on it.
(Cymbric, a bereaved new-widow, speaks:)
"Stay away, You vile and foul-stenched monster! Hie thee from this place for quite a while more! No cold and bloodless hand shall clasp, nor stir This form of peaceful beauty though my door! By spells, signs, amulets, dances and chants, I shall beat You back, bloody Your knuckles! Bring to force any mass I can incant From Heaven to most ambivalent Hell!
Spring thee? I shall put Thee down. Clamor Thee? I shall rouse even louder; Raving rant I shall banshee Thy ears and senses, free Of mortal bounds, till Thy power is spent! He'll not be taken from me! By my oath.
I'll fight Thee 'til my death... then take Ye both."
feaste of fooles:
O' What an odd cacophony of sound Did break upon these boards as ill spent wind. What dance did stumble stupor like around.
What words were mangled from the start to end. Who was this man whose clothing bore no thread? And threadless, who the Author of this plot?
No "Plot" did this 'grave' venture. Lay it Dead! 'twere better if this labored act had not. But since this act has 'wondered' by our minds And cut its meat from living sources hacked, Be pleased by blessings given by this Bind
That grants you mem'ry that you'ld've* else wise lacked. If better walls were built and less torn down Then you have taught, and learned. So be you proud.
*yes, "you'ld've" is a contraction of "you would have" into one slurred syllable, said as if you are having a hard time acknowledging the point you're making;-)
the future of the world
The future of the world we call A Stage is young with racing talent. So my fears are gone, replaced with wonder at the age they match their beats to, ages old as tears. They have so briefly seen The Coastline dance. So little known the Colours of the Soil. What Harvest of the World have they perchance withstood? Yet Truth rings true and they are loyal. They, holding up their mirrors, light our shrouds. We see within the caverns that do wait. Become they Waters-Still, and gift us clouds since we are all too busy at the gate. A giving time was had for all this Cause. And we repay with little noise,
what's a Norse girl like you doing in a place like this?
Your fathers and your brothers have stolen Many things (and from my
folk more than most) But this son of the Emerald Isle, in Meeting you, daughter
of the Northern hosts, Had only lost crops and cattle before... Now what was I
to do with one less heart? I had never seen such a gaze as yours. And your
eyes... well, I'm no bard. but apart From my home, nothing has ever looked so...
good! At the faire, I was lulled by partial peace And forgot my anger towards
those who took From us and gave my heart to you with ease. So, Northern Lass,
this 'robbed' man stands to tell: I love you - not too wisely, but.
a wedding lament:
His was a shrill and ill tuned instrument For his god. That horn did brassily prick With thin and needling notes what was meant To be a faultless parchment and too quick Did turn an exercise of love into An exorcism for his own devil. Love's sermon was tortured there and those two Bridal bound voyagers had no revel. The blessing that needed to be spoken Should have come from a kinder man than this. Now, what was poorly fired has been broken. Shards, instead of vessels, line the abyss Between this once happily joined couple.
What good came from this minister's trouble?
overactingus melodramatica (et lingua in kake est.)
What is this wretched treachery that holds My soul and body prisoner like this? What Demon tongs do grip me, iron cold And hard `gainst my skin, pinching in its kiss? How much longer will such cruel mistreatment Of this poor abused lonely man persist? How much more withstood before life's cement Falls from its cracking to make life desist? Life's ropes are near breaking, and their fetid Strands snap as old gnarled and useless sticks Do when used as cross beams to the rotted Doors of this body's fragile keep.
`tis no fault of man, but that thing called "Age".
(an iambic poetic monologue)
one copper coin:
So I, chagrined, a Royal man with lands and herds, must come to stand amongst the plain. No walled seat, no special place, no Herald to announce my name, I join the commoner. I join the craftsman and the artist and the scholar and, no doubt, good men of cloth and cross, in audience to lend our voices to your praise. Each voice made humble by its charge, my offering's just one more noise, one missive more, much like one poor thin copper tossed within the richened vaults belonging to our Sovereign's Treasury. One copper coin of tax to pay against a debt of crushing weight: "Your beauty's praise". Such price, unto my will obliged to speak, is bankruptcy complete, to pay it all, for I have not the currency to bid release, and so in debt, remain. This one poor copper tossed towards your well...
May it at least my thanks for beauty tell.
if Puck loved Titania:
Within these walls, such as they are, we're lost!
No time have we to spend. So, send our hearts To other when's and where's
and, once apart, They'll wind together and well-cheat the cost Of love. For
those walls be tall and shadowed, And ill lit. Old are those walls that hold
deep Secrets whispered, and cold are keeps that keep Dark truths told. There,
our two bound hearts, though owed To other's ears, may there make bold and speak
Aloud the treasures therein and relieve The pain felt herein. Holding close the
sheaves Of heaven, and before the morn's star peeks Out, we'll be gone, like
lazy mists at dawn...
Remember'ed as having kissed... then gone.
Lear, the King. from rhyme to rupture
based upon Shakespeare's "King Lear" from the point of view of his officer, an angry (yet loyal) Kent.
When all the past is broken by a vow, What stands but memory's precarious Resolve? Fair Nature will allow no rest Until the Foole is balanced with the Law. Quite fragile is the glory of this King As Vanity does shatter panes of time... Sends lacerating shards to rake up rhyme Itself to rupture in cacophony. Go Howl!, Complain! and Crack! at blizzard's blast! ('twere better done if in another's name.) For in the act of self you loose your fame And wild, it's sent unto oblivion's cast. Forgotten will the mem'ry be of grace
When present anger mars Lear's recent face.
unto the Bard:
Now, here a man of many letters lies. Well spoken of, though years have known his death. What plays, what thoughts, expressions all alive Still guide as beacons to the new born breath. How brief but true his sounds yet ring us. Hear! They give direction to us, wand'ring still. How pure he knew us, getlings countless years His junior, changed so little in our soul.
His bones be dusty, nothing binded found But bound and bound again his tombs to read. And players, shallow fellows (like a pond) Reflective on his arguments, proceed. There lies he not, in truth he stands here now.
Still giving wit to answer what we'd know.
the savage feaste:
The Savage Feaste, whose single hunger is to rend its prey... Gives
sustenance to none Gives nourishment to none Gives not a one continuance But
takes and drains and feeds upon the savagers themselves. This Savage Feaste
Whose cry is noise for noise And all that can be heard cries wasted, all cries
empty. All. Yes, All that Nature wove as one, And all that time and life has
brought together here, O' All that love and light has given out in birth Is let
onto the earth as blood into the sand. Is brittle as the marrowless bones That
yield no place for maggot's homes. The spirit and the use forever gone and never
knowing good again.
These Savage Feastes feed none and gnaws us all.
What sword... of Truth? of Law?... can cleanse this hall?
O', When your gaze is mine to see, I feel near unto a candle its light onto my darkness its warmth into my heart. I wish to hold your form and let it light my cell. I wish its warmth, but I turn... for it's not mine to send away my shadows nor is it mine to send away my cold. For mine are shadows, mine the cell. Mine, and that is all that I can know.
the arm of darkness:
The arm of darkness nestles some and others it blinds and yet others it stills the breath. The arm of darkness makes simple some choices and confuses others and hides the dangers just beyond our step.
The arm of darkness is born with and in us. We find and gather more on our way and yet more clings to us unbidden as we walk. The arm of darkness has one constant face: When it falls upon us for the final time, our voice is never again new from our throat. What shall your echo be? A melody picked up in chorus by those who continue or a cry unanswered because you cannot/will not hear us sing?
When love helps build - as architect - our home And we, within its frame-work, lay its floors. We walk our higher hopes towards the dome That holds our given duty, mine and yours. If Care is used, as well as Plans and Stone, Then siege and torrents blow to no avail.
'tis better to build slow and if well done Then Time will bless the patient with its Grail. As fibers plied together grow in strength Communities find increase just as well. Two hands, together, 'scribe the breadth and length Of what we're here to do, recall and tell. The future looms.
We know not what we weave. But that we do affect all life, believe.
In towered sky do fists of Jove hard pound. They strike together heaven's flint and steel. Their sparks ignite the tinder on the ground And brings to be the fi're 'fore we kneel. With quiet rumble rolls these storm stretched clouds And darkly look as they do block the sun. We wait inside our shelter full of doubts As safety and familiar peace takes run. In using flaming torments of the sky You bring a light into the shadowed soul. You carve a window so the light may find A path to where our fear and dread hast stole.
From darkness, there your spark warms out the fright And guides our shadowed children to the light.
A Knight gives greeting to a new made member of the Order in
We all are of a cloth, we're woven here. For life does beat its rhythm
on this loom of days. The weft are the realities of life. The warp? The
interactions and the accidents of each our lives. It is a strong weave, usually.
It is a complex weave, always. And there are those who, by their very nature,
add a strength unto it all. Those who regard each opportunity as time to help
the whole, who pick up things of beauty and of possibility, improve them and
then give away their work. Who charm and warm these "chances" with their
goodness and then give away those gifts so they may then help others grow. There
are those who learn simply so they then may teach, who grow strong simply so
they may lend strength, who sing so they might give a better praise and who
observe so they may see what needs the doing, and then see it done. There are
yet those who build so others may build even more. Such is this person, such is
this good friend to Land and People, we need give our recognition now.
So, welcome them, as we do, too, into our Circle here.
Now, welcome this true servant of the Realm, this noble Peer.
the Argument A One scene play with 2 characters and one speaking part.
Here, a man alone on stage, finishes a conversation with the woman who has just left. He said nothing to her (of course) and all we know of her is from her slamming the door as she leaves. Remember, "Argument" is either a disagreement OR a presentation of a case. It is the latter this character does.
FitzMorris: "I look not on you". You said this to me. You said that I look never on thee, at thee and rarely speak to thee. You wanted to know why I dislike you so. Gods, why could I not give answer? Why was I so mute? "Not see thee?" Heaven's cathedrals have windows of such sunset inspired glass that where ever you look in them, the color and scenes presented there are shown on walls and floor. My mem'ry and imagination have you so etched in them that where ever I look, there you are, cast into my heart's surface like brilliant shadows on its floors and walls. "Never look on thee?" I know your paths and habits like my own. I walk your chores, your idle moments, your garden forays like a labyrinth for the penitential and devout.
[Gwenyth, his love, re-enters the scene from behind him and listens]
I have, in my possession, thirty seven strands of your hair that have caught on the vine and thorn of the flowers you pass, I have threads that have fallen from your garments, I have apothecary of elixir, a jar of wine and waters that you have drunk and left a reminding drop within the chalice, poured into my vaults and kept for they have touched your lips. I am insane, tho' not so insane as to tell you that I love you. Not so sensible either. I fear I would drown you in the flood of emotion and that you think me uncontrolled and too passionate. This is why I so rarely speak with you, for too many words out from my heart's lake would run its dam into embankment and you, awash, would be swept out. "I love thee". This I can tell these flowers and this stone, but I will never...can never... tell you. I will die in love with you. When I confess all and have my sins read and judgment known, mayhaps then, overhearing, you will know.
[Gwenyth slowly reaches up to FitzMorris' shoulder to touch him... stops... turns and quietly leaves]
Until then... I can only be silent.
[FitzMorris turns and finds Gwenyth's handkerchief on the ground behind him, picks it up and smells it. Realizes it is hers. Sits and cries into the soft gossamer cloth.]
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