NARCISSUS: The Last Days of Lord Byron
by Robert Joseph Ahola
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.
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
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.
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
THE BOY: Byron's young consort in Greece, and Byron the boy, may never
be on the stage at the same time.
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.
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
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.
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