Your Humble Blogger will be auditioning for a play tomorrow, for the first time in a year or so. I will need a monologue, again, but a one-minute this time, and for a comedy. I can’t just use Coriolanus again. I had some trouble fixing on a choice, actually; my various reference resources gave me only a narrow set of choices for a one-minute comedy monologue for a man. I settled on Sebastian near the end of Twelfth Night:
This is the air. That is the glorious sun. The pearl she gave me, I do hear’t and see’t. And though ’tis wonder that enwraps me thus, yet ’tis not madness. Where’s Antonio, then? His counsel now might do me golden service. For though my soul disputes well with my sense that this may be error but no madness, yet doth this accident and flood of fortune so far exceed all instance—all discourse—that I am ready to distrust mine eyes and wrangle with my reason that persuades me to any other trust but that I am mad!
Or else the lady’s mad.
Yet if ’twere so, she could not sway her house, command her followers, take and give back affairs and their dispatch, with such a smooth, discreet and stable manner, which I perceive she does. There’s something in’t that is deceivable. But here the lady comes.
It’s verse, of course, rewritten as prose. It’s really, really verse, isn’t it? I mean, the rumty-tumty kind. Which is part of why I chose it, as I would like to exhibit my facility therewith. And to avoid getting cast as the prose clown, who is particularly dire in this one. In my opinion.
Well. It’s not a terribly funny bit. There are two laugh points, I think: the description of the whole mess as deceivable, and the sudden wide-eyed or else the lady’s mad. Although the last could be or else… the… … …LADY’s mad!. That would be funnier in the actual production though, where we know that the situation he hopes to explicate is so utterly crazy that he will never figure it out. I think in a monologue it’s better as a quick-change Aha! kind of thing.
The real problem is the beginning. When I last prepared a monologue I said that if the actor hasn’t impressed the director in the first five seconds, it’s all over. This group isn’t professional, and I frankly doubt that there will be twenty men who will impress the director in the first five seconds of a monologue, but still, the first impression is the most important.
In an actual production—I wouldn’t play Sebastian, for one thing. It’s a part for a young man, the son rather than the father, but as I said up there, I had some difficulty finding a monologue I liked and couldn’t find anything I liked in the father bracket. However, leaving that aside, if I were playing Sebastian in an actual production, I would, I think, sniff the air. This—huge sniff—IS the air. Or maybe This is… the air?—little sniff, little sniff, HUGE FRICKEN SNIFF, little sniff again. Or possibly a face, there. It’s a potential laugh line, anyway, if you do something with it. In a monologue, though, I’m not sure. For one thing, if the director doesn’t immediately recognize where it’s from, it doesn’t make any sense. For another, I’m assuming there won’t be enough people in the room to actually laugh. Anyway, I’m still looking for a way to say it.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,