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The Precious Young Maidens

in a new verse adaptation
by Timothy Mooney

Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy


   I wrote it for her, right there, on the spot.
   Improvisations are the breath of thought.

   Then listen while I work through this convention.

   Believe me, sir, we both are rapt attention.

   MASCARILLE (Reciting.)
   Oh! Oh! I contemplated here completely off my guard
   With nothing else about or near, it quickly hit me hard
   Your eye, so sly, I did espy; with speed beyond belief
   You stole my heart and now I cry: 'Stop thief! Stop, thief! Stop thief!'

   Ah, me! Oh, my! Your thing is so gallant!

   It's cavalier. It doesn't seem to want
   For chivalry. I dodge the dull pedantic.

   A thousand, thousand leagues, much more romantic.

   Did you see how I started it? Oh! Oh!
   Like something frightful, startling, you know?
   Oh! Oh! It's almost like a man who found
   Some something that made him release a sound.
   Oh! Oh! He says. Discovery. Surprise.

   Oh, yes. Oh! Oh! gives it a gallant guise.

   It's nothing.

                What? How can you say such things!
   That Oh! Oh's priceless. Good God, how it sings!

   Indeed it does! I'd rather those Oh! Ohs!
   Than any epic poem I'd compose.

   By God, Miss, you've a plethora of taste!

   I flatter myself it's not gone to waste.

   But how about I contemplated here?
   I contemplated here, as free from fear.
   I contemplated here, no pain, no doubt,
   Completely off my guard: no cause to shout,
   Completely off my guard, just like a sheep
   It quickly hit me hard. It is to weep.
   It quickly hit me hard. As if to say
   That there was pain in my delight that day.
   Your eye, so sly, I did espy... How's that?
   Does that not keep the verse from reading flat?
   What do you think?

                      Oh, it's quite excellent!

   Espy, to look; to sneak a peek. I meant
   To summon up a mouse who sees a cat,

   The very image! Yes, I noticed that!

   With speed beyond belief, just to convey
   The quickness with which all this came in play.
   You stole my heart: to take, to snatch, to plunder.
   And tell me now: did you catch this, I wonder?
   I finished off, Stop thief! Stop thief! Stop thief!
   Would you not hear this with the firm belief
   That this was shouted by a man now in the chase
   To catch a thief who runs a faster pace?
   As though the man had stolen of his chief
   Possession, thus: Stop thief! Stop thief! Stop thief!

   I must say that it's brilliantly disposed.

   I'll sing it to the air that I've composed.

   Did you learn music, too?

                             Me? Not a bit.

   How did you manage then?

                            One must acquit
   Oneself with quality's true ring,
   By knowing all, but not to learn a thing.

   You must have known that. Obviously, yes?

   Do listen. Tell if it suits you more or less.
   Ahem! Ahem! La, la, la, la, la, la
   You must forgive my furtive caw.
   The harsh brutality of this wet season
   Quite violates my voice beyond all reason.
   No matter. 'Tis a lilting folksy air
   And here, 'twixt friends, such discord we might dare.
   Oh! Oh! I contemplated here completely off my guard
   With nothing else about or near, it quickly hit me hard
   Your eye, so sly, I did espy; with speed beyond belief
   You stole my heart and now I cry: 'Stop thief! Stop, thief! Stop thief!'

   How passionate a tune, oh, still my heart!

   There are chromatic levels to the art.

   And is this thought not elegantly tuned?
   Stop thief! And then as one who feels a wound:
   Stop thief! And then, now running out of breath:
   Stop thief! A small collapse. A little death.

   It's as to know the height of all great heights;
   The highest height; a height which may ignite
   A high-ness over other elevations.
   It's marvelous. I am in palpitations.

   It leaves me breathless, buoyant and yet burning.

   It's inborn. With no study and/or learning.

   Fair nature brought you up as her own child;
   Such art here in the raw, untrammeled, wild.

   And how do you pass time here in this place?

   On nothing whatsoever.

                          Such disgrace!
   We're starved of any prospect or proposal.

   Good ladies, I am at your fond disposal
   To take you to a play, if you desire.
   There is a playwright who I most admire,
   Whose work is in rehearsal. I was hopin'
   That you might come with me to see it open.

   I can't imagine that we might refuse

   I must however beg that you'll excuse
   If I clap with conviction and with vigor.
   I told the writer I would be a figure
   Pronounced in acclamation of his craft.
   Just as at other shows I cheered and laughed.
   It's often that these playwrights come recite
   Their works to me in light of how I might
   Affect opinions of the larger masses
   Ensuring that their inspiration passes
   For genius and a sterling reputation.
   The pit won't contradict my proclamation
   For I make sure the work will well acquit
   By shouting Bravo! ere the lights are lit.

Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

About Timothy Mooney

Tim Mooney has worked in, with and around the theatre for almost thirty years, as an actor, director and playwright, and everything in-between.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He went on to internships with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Rep, where he was assistant director to John Dillon and Daniel Sullivan, respectively.

Tim taught acting and stage movement for two years with Northern Illinois University, before creating “The Script Review,” a newsletter that reviewed some 700 plays in manuscript form over the course of seven years, distributed to Literary Managers and Directors all over the United States. As a director, Tim’s production of “Secret Obscenities” was one of five winners at the Bailiwick Directors’ Festival in Chicago.

From there, Tim stepped in as Artistic Director of the Stage Two Theatre Company, where he produced nearly fifty plays in five years, most of them original works.

When Stage Two turned to the classics, Tim adapted his own sparkling rhymed, iambic-pentameter versions of the plays of Moliere creating fifteen new Moliere plays in seven years. Stage Two produced “Tartuffe,” “The Miser,” “The Schemings of Scapin,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Doctor in Spite of Himself” and “Sganarelle,” and companies around the world picked up on these plays too, with productions all across the United States, as well as Canada and even India. U.S. venues included the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival, M.I.T., Wayne State University and Universities of Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and many more.

Tim’s writing work brought him full circle, back in front of the footlights as a performer, playing the lead role in many of the works he had written. (In fact, all of the roles in which he now found himself cast were the parts that Moliere himself had originated!) This was to give Tim the impetus for a one-man show, “Moliere Than Thou” (Best Adapted Work, San Francisco Fringe Fest). The play serves as a quick introduction to some of Moliere’s greatest works and speeches, and has been seen all over the U.S. and Canada. It has given tens of thousands of students their first exposure to Moliere, and along the way Tim has taught thousands of students in his workshops, introducing the concepts further developed in his upcoming text, “Acting at the Speed of Life,” as well as his collection of Moliere Monologues.

Most recently, Tim has further refined the art of the one-person show, creating a one-man Sci-Fi Thriller, “Criteria,” (Artistic Picks Finalist, Seattle Fringe Fest), as well as “Karaoke Knights” a “One Man Rock Opera.”

Tim continues to write new versions of the plays of Moliere, novels, short stories, songs, children’s stories and screenplays.

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