Life's Fickle Dance by Amelia Peto

Monologue/Duologue Competition: Life’s Fickle Dance

(An old man in a hospital is sitting by the fire and muttering whilst watching children playing in the snow)

OLD MAN: Fools… they have known nothing of life. I have truly lived, I have danced with life! I have followed her every turn, I have been elevated to the peak of fashion and popularity. I have caught every gift life has thrown at me: a beautiful wife, a magnificent house, beauty, too many friends too count, Oh and so much more! Yet... none of them are here with me now; my wife and friends left me, my house crumbled, my beauty faded.

(His haughty expression falters)

I had not truly lived then perhaps there would be someone sitting across from me by the fire, instead of an empty chair. If I had not truly lived then perhaps I would be filled with pride and joy watching my grandchildren playing in the snow instead of being filled with bitterness and regret watching strangers. Perhaps I wouldn’t be lonely...

(His eyes fill with tears briefly, then they clear abruptly)

But I have known every nook and cranny of life, I have evaded all others to become life’s chosen one. The luckiest one of all. I have gone into deep dark holes and emerged unscathed. I have flown to unbelievable heights and fallen, but I have lived! I have truly lived!

(He makes to get out of his chair but is held back by nurses)

I once inspired envy and attraction in the eyes of woman and men like you!

(He gestures towards the nurses)

Now I simply inspire pity. I hate pity! None of these people would like to be here, pity or money is their only motivator. What I wouldn’t give to have someone who looked after me not out of pity or monetary gain, but out of love.

(He looks desperately at the nurses)

I once danced with beautiful life but when my eyes grew tired and my legs began to shake life whirled away from my grasp, leaving me in the care of strangers. Now I watch others walk the steps I once trod, now I watch others love and be loved. Now all I live is the life of a shadow when I used to be a king. Life is truly fickle, is it not?

(His head droops and his eyes close)