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“The Life and Times of Sebastian Melmoth”

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Bowman, Ruth (American playwright, writer, 1954-____), “The Life and Times of Sebastian Melmoth,”

a 23-minute play in English, set in a theater/lecture hall,

1m

; © 2001 by Ruth Bowman; • in Ruth Bowman’s The Life and Times of Sebastian Melmoth (Marshall, Michigan, U.S.A.: The Author, 2001); • script/rights available from Ruth Bowman, 213 North Liberty Street, Marshall, Michigan 49068-1225, U.S.A., telephone (home) 269-789-9656, fax 269-789-9657, e-mail marla@mei.net. • Cited by Ruth Bowman via ftp July 18, 2003; Bowman says,

§ Dramatis Persona Sebastian Melmoth (m), 46, lecturer.

§ Synopsis “‘The Life and Times of Sebastian Melmoth’ presents a mythical revisitation of the now-infamous American lecture series delivered to a contemporary audience. The spotlight rises to reveal the simplicity of a bare stage, save for a man standing behind a podium. As he begins to speak, the simplicity of the set gives way to the complexity of the character’s personality. This solo character addresses issues of: the importance inherent in selecting a name, faithful and faithless friends, writer’s block, his deathbed flirtation with Roman Catholicism, poverty, and misconceptions, delivered by a slightly older, somewhat weary yet often witty style that has come to be identified with Oscar Wilde—now using the alias Sebastian Melmoth in an attempt to distance himself from his crimes of gross indecencies, his trials and his incarceration. The piece concludes with a brief, but otherwise Wildean, self-indulgent restating of an aphorism.

§ Comment “Supported by six brief ‘voices off,’ the monologue, replete with gestures and mannerisms proven to please, runs approximately 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the pace of the actor. Separations in tone are achieved with a ‘fade to black, then rise of the spotlight’ . . . scenettes, as it were. Only a few, readily attainable props are needed: example, the script can serve as prop lecture notes, which succeeds in making the work self-prompting. • The monologue has not been produced or published as of July 18, 2003. I would welcome the chance to work with others to bring this portrait of Oscar Wilde after his fame had turned to notoriety to the public.”

§ Themes desertion by friends, homosexuality, law, religion (Church of England/Roman Catholicism), scandal, Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, Irish writer, aka Sebastian Melmoth, the name adopted after his imprisonment, 1854-1900), wit, writer’s block.

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Page mounted July 18, 2003, by the Webmaster.

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