NARCISSUS: The Last Days of Lord Byron by Robert Joseph Ahola

Synopsis

George Gordon, Lord Byron - poet, satirist, raconteur, phenomenal athlete, duelist, political revolutionary, bisexual incestuous womanizer, loyal loving friend and generous philanthropist - also seems to have become, in his own time, the very invention of Celebrity. Vain, flamboyant, indiscreet and yet surprisingly self-aware, Byron is perhaps the first man to raise the question: Can a man live too much of a life at the expense of all else? Even though impelled to be this creature, he loathes and resists it, and longs for the respectability that is somehow determined to elude him.  NARCISSUS takes us to the last days of Byron where his innate understanding of his limited time on this earth brings him to become a factor in the Civil War in Greece. It also places him in a transcendental conversation with the ghost of his dear departed friend, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. In that cross-dimensional interaction, Shelley becomes Byron's Virgil, as he is guided at last to meet his fate - and the shortfall of his ideals.  Approximate Run Time: 115 minutes.

Cast of Characters

  • SHELLEY'S GHOST/SHELLEY: The specter of his recently departed friend Percy Bysshe Shelley visits Byron to give him sober reflection, as well as glimpses into the other side of the veil. At various times, in retrospect, he is Shelley, the living man, and can, and should, be differentiated by different attire.

  • EDWARD JOHN TRELAWNY/'MAD JACK' BYRON: Byron's (and Shelley's)steadfast friend, Trelawny is, in equal parts, hero-braggart-scoundrel-liar. 'Mad Jack' Byron is in equal parts, gambler, adventurer and drunken ne�er-do-well.

  • DR. JOHN WILLIAMS POLIDORI/LORD CASTLEREIGH: Dual role covers Byron's dashing, scandalous 'private' physician, as well as his Nemesis in Parliament.

  • FLETCHER (BYRON'S ADJUTANT)/ ENTOURAGE/A SECOND: One Actor assumes many roles including others in the ensemble. They include soldiers, a helmsman and men in the tavern, and Byron�s Nemesis in Parliament.

  • HELMSMAN/MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT/THE CONTE DI CARVALO/SURGEON: (1-3). One actor assumes many roles. All actors in the male ensemble may assume spot roles in Parliament and his entourage. These are generally voices and seldom require costume.

  • LOUKAS KHALANDRITSANOS/BYRON THE BOY: Byron's young consort in Greece, and Byron the boy, may never be on the stage at the same time.

THE WOMEN

  • AUGUSTA LEIGH/MAY GRAY: Augusta Leigh is Byron's half-sister and lover and mother of his illegitimate child. May Gray was the boy Byron's abusive nanny.

  • CLAIRE CLAIRMONT/CATHERINE GORDON/THE EARLE OF CLAIRE: Claire Clairmont is Mary Shelley�s stepsister, mother of his illegitimate child. The �Woman� is one of his many conquests. The Earle of Claire, a teenager, is an androgynous non-speaking role.

  • MARY SHELLEY/LADY CAROLINE LAMB: The first was his friend, his best friend's wife, and his intellectual Nemesis. The second: a scandalous affair and a vindictive ruinous relationship, she was one of the reasons he left England for good. The ultimate woman scorned, she did what she could to ruin him.

  • ANNABELLA MILLBANKE/A GREEK WOMAN/WOMAN IN GOSSIP CIRCLE: Byron's wife and mother of his only (legitimate) daughter, remains the paradox.

Also available from this Playwright

 


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