When I asked my business of acting teacher Ted Hewlett what classic monologue I should memorize, he told me:
"Terry, you're not going to be young forever. You should take a look at Romeo."
Romeo! The lover to end all lovers! Hot damn, how about that? I was pretty flattered.
So I grabbed Speak the Speech from the library and looked up Romeo's monologues.
Two were listed. One was from the balcony scene - "What light through yonder window breaks" and all that.
I can't use these monologues. I simply do not have the confidence to stand in front of people who have seen countless performances by better Shakespearean actors than me and say, seriously, "What light through yonder window breaks?"
So I went back to the text and looked up another one. It's not as lovey dovey. It's more like a love-fueled, smoldering rage. That's more up my alley, I think.
Heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her,
But Romeo may not. More validity,
More honorable state, more courtship lives
In carrion flies than Romeo. They may seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.
But Romeo may not. He is banishèd.
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly.
They are free men, but I am banishèd.
And sayst thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mixed, no sharp-ground knife,
No sudden mean of death, though ne'er so mean,
But “banishèd” to kill me?—“Banishèd”!
O Friar, the damnèd use that word in hell.
Howling attends it. How hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin-absolver, and my friend professed,
To mangle me with that word “banishèd”?