written by Nigel Kneale & John Osborne
Archie Rice: You're like your mother. She always felt everything very deeply, much more deeply than I did. You're what they call a sentimentalist.
Jean (Joan Plowright): What are you about now?
Archie Rice: I know. You think I'm just a tatty, old, music hall actor, but you look now. When you're up here, when you're up here you think you love all those people around you out there, but you don't. You don't love them like...Oh, if you learn it properly, you can get yourself a technique and smile. Down you smile and look the jolliest, friendliest thing in the world, but you would be just as dead and used up, just like everybody else. You see this face? This face can split open with warmth and humanity. It can sing, tell the worst, unfunniest stories in the world to a great mob of dead, drab irks. And it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because look, look in my eyes. I'm dead behind these eyes. I'm dead, just like the whole, dumb, shoddy lot out there. Did I ever tell you the most moving thing I ever heard?
Jean Rice: Oh, Dad.
Archie Rice: Oh, no, no, no, this is not a gag, no. Honest. It was when I was in Canada. I used to slip over the border sometimes, and one night I heard some negress singing in a bar. If ever I saw any hope or strength in the human race, it was in the face of that old, fat negress getting up to sing about Jesus, or something like that. I never even liked that kind of music. But to see that old bag singing her heart out to the whole world, and you knew somehow in your heart that it didn't matter how much you kicked people, how much you despised them. If they can get up and make a pure, just natural noise like that, there's nothing wrong with them. If I'd done one thing as good as that in my whole life, I'd have been all right. I wish to god I was that old bag. I'd stand up, and shake my great bosom up and down, and lift up my head, and make the most beautiful fuss in the world. Dear god, I would. But I'll never do it. (smiling) Well, do you think you're going to do it? Well, do you?
Credit and many thanks to Kelly H. for this monologue, it is very much appreciated.
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