The Compleat Repertory: “The Greatest Speech of All Time”

The Compleat Repertory: “The Greatest Speech of All Time”

The Compleat Repertory: “The Greatest Speech of All Time”
Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival – Pink Venue

We’ve lost the skill of oration in this short attention span, click through counting world but up until fifty years ago the political speech was the main way of swaying the populace. Today speechifying is for generating sound bites and pig piling on minor errors from the opposition, but back then partisans could often come out of a speech saying: “I never thought of it this way!” Long time Fringe veteran and maniacal traveler Tim Mooney returns with five separate shows. This is the new one; the others have appeared in the past and are all worth seeing if you missed them before. I caught a private preview of “The Greatest Speech of All Time” and it’s every bit as good as his earlier work.

Reading speeches is like reading poetry, you have to hear the rhythm. Without it all you see are long, convoluted sentences that glaze over into gray wash of words. Mooney fixes that, he’s applied his Shakespearean skills to the problem and makes these speeches pop. In Socrates’ final speech, he mocks those who would put him to death: already old he sees death as a transition to the afterlife were he can converse with the greats and warns that more eager and stronger men will follow him, so beware. Or the stoics blandly put it” You do what you think is right, and I will do what I think is right.” This sort of thing infuriates tin pot dictators.

Another mocking speech is that of Frederick Douglas, an escaped and uneducated slave who became one of the spearheads of the abolitionist movement. His address to the Rochester Ladies sewing Circle and Anti-slavery Society points out the hypocrisy of the Fourth of July – we brag about liberty and equality, but do not apply it equally to our residents. Powerful stuff, and well declaimed.

This show is part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Tickets and other information may be found at http:\\www.OrlandoFringe.org

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