free solo stage play script monologue

Shakespeare and Love

A short play for two actors by D. M. Larson from freedrama.net

A professor MULIGAN rushes around a theatre trying to get ready for his class.  He plays some instrumental music to try and calm himself.  He adjusts his podium, strikes a pose and then gets nervous and adjusts the podium again.  He bumps in to his easel which has Shakespeare visuals on it.  He fixes the visuals, looks at his watch and then rushes back to the podium.  He realizes his folder is empty and rushes to his briefcase.  He pulls out a folder thick with notes.  He stands and JULIE walks up behind him.

JULIE

Hello professor.

MULIGAN drops all his papers.  Julie tries to supress a laugh.  She smiles at him kindly as he stands there looking sadly at the pile.

MULIGAN

Hello Julie.

Julie starts gathering papers. 

JULIE

Here, let me help you.

Muligan slowly bends down to help her.

MULIGAN

I'd be upset about them being out of order but they weren't in order anyway.  I dropped them on the way here.

JULIE

Oh dear.

MULIGAN

I'm so nervous about this lecture.

JULIE

Then why are you giving it?

MULIGAN

Good question.

JULIE

You're always doing stuff like this but you don't seem to enjoy it that much. 

MULIGAN

And yet you come to every one.

JULIE

I enjoy it.

MULIGAN

You do?

JULIE

Yeah.

MULIGAN

Thank you.

JULIE

For what?

MULIGAN

It's nice to hear someone likes it.

JULIE

I'm sure lots of people do.

MULIGAN

But it's nice to hear someone say it.  And even better if they remember something from it.

JULIE

Like the true identity of William Shakespeare... Edward de Vere.

MULIGAN

Wow, you do really listen.  I mean I don't say that he's Edward conclusively, but...

Muligan is all excited but starts dropping his papers again.  Julie stops him by taking his hands in hers.  He stops at her touch and looks her in the eyes.

JULIE

I know... I've listened.

MULIGAN

You really have.  What's your favorite lecture?

JULIE

Romeo and Juliet of course.

MULIGAN

Two star crossed lovers.

JULIE

From totally different places... totally different lives... yet drawn together despite their differences. 

MULIGAN

Those stories have stood the test of time.  That's amazing literature... living literature that never dies.

JULIE

I love your passion.  That's why I come so often.  I can feel your excitement.

Muligan feels some different excitement looking at her and hearing the compliments.  He turns and takes his papers to the podium.

MULIGAN

Thank you.

Julie ducks under his arms between him and the podium.

JULIE

Want me to organize these for you?  I bet I could. 

Muligan sniffs her hair but then is shocked at himself and moves away.

MULIGAN

Um... sounds like a fun challenge.  Is is like Twelth's Night?  Trying to reunite the twins lost at sea.

JULIE

Or is it like the Tempest... lost in a storm and shipwrecked... on a podium?

Muligan holds up a piece of paper.

MULIGAN

Gentle breath of your my sails; Must fill, or else my project fails

Julie blows on his paper and his flies out of his hands.  They look at each other a moment and smile.  Julie picks up another paper and blows it away.

JULIE

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind; Thou are not so unkind as man's ingratitude."

MULIGAN

As You Like It.  Man's ingratitute... I get plenty of that here at the university. "Most friendship is feigning, most loving is folly."  Do you believe that?

JULIE

Not in the least.  Shakespeare says many things.  But we can't believe in Shakespeare.  Only each other.

MULIGAN

Not God?

JULIE

God wrote the play... we're the actors.

MULIGAN

"All the World's a Stage. And all the men and women merely players."

JULIE

Exactly.

MULIGAN

Or did Shakepeare believe men were gods?  "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god."

JULIE

Hamlet was crazy... "Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair."

MULIGAN

Is Henry the Sixth a more reliable source than Hamlet?

JULIE

Henry was a real person.

MULIGAN

True... wow, you really have learned a lot about Shakespeare.

JULIE

I think a lot of people know about the King Henries.

MULIGAN

The quotes... the insight... I'm impressed.

JULIE

I learned it all from you.

MULIGAN

But no one else seems to have learned that much... I seem to be speaking in to the wind.  It is a tale told by an idiot. "Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing."

JULIE

That's MacBeth. Not you.

MULIGAN

That's what it seems like though.  Nothing gets through.

JULIE

It does to me.  Is that enough?

MULIGAN

Maybe it is.

Muligan looks at Julie a long moment and she smiles back.

MULIGAN (CONT.)

"Speak low..."

JULIE

You got me there... don't recognize the quote.

MULIGAN

"Excellent wretch..."

JULIE

You're studdering in Shakespeare.

MULIGAN

When does my lecture begin?

JULIE

Not for an hour.

MULIGAN

I'm not ready.

JULIE

Then cancel it.

MULIGAN

I can't.

JULIE

Why not?

MULIGAN

The university...

JULIE

Who cares...

She takes his face in her hands.

JULIE (CONT.)

What do you want?

He looks at her longingly and there is a long pause.

MULIGAN

Happiness. 

Julie goes to the podium.

JULIE

Does this make you happy?

MULIGAN

It used to... but no so much anymore.

JULIE

Then find something that does.

MULIGAN

Oh happy dagger...

JULIE

I think Juliet was being ironic when she said that.

MULIGAN

Joy... that's what I need... some joy... "Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love..."

JULIE

Joy... and love.

MULIGAN

"A heart to love, and in that heart, Courage, to make’s love known."

JULIE

MacBeth.  Do you have the courage?

MULIGAN

I don't know if I do.

JULIE

"I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say "I love you."

MULIGAN

Henry the Fifth. "You have witchcraft in your lips."

JULIE

Okay... bad choice... how about "I humbly do beseech of your pardon, For too much loving you"

MULIGAN

Othello doesn't end well either.

JULIE

I need a quote from a comedy.

MULIGAN

Nobody quotes the comedies...

JULIE

But you did... "Speak low if you speak love."

MULIGAN

You pretended you didn't know.

JULIE

You've used that quote a few times... I finally remembered it.

MULIGAN

So much for being subtile.

JULIE

Why be subtile?

MULIGAN

Should we be doing this?

JULIE

Shouldn't you be happy?

MULIGAN

Can I be happy?

JULIE

You can.

MULIGAN

I don't know how.

JULIE

Then let me teach you.

MULIGAN

How?

She takes his hands and moves close to him and strokes his hand.

JULIE

With a kiss.

MULIGAN

"O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do."

Lights fade to black except for a light on the easel with the quote "If music be the food of love, play on".  Music plays louder.

FIN






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