Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy

MUSE – A New Monologue

On Sunday I was walking on Greene Street in SoHo and I spied some gorgeous paintings in the window of Arcadia Fine Arts. They immediately reminded me of John Singer Sargeant, and I entered the gallery to discover several large, beautiful figurative works by Malcolm T. Liepke, an American painter. I was so enchanted with his work that I called the gallery the next day to learn more about him. Today I was inspired to write this monologue.


For Malcolm T. Liepke

By Anne Hamilton

© April 23, 2013

CHARACTER: A PAINTER, in his late fifties.

SETTING: His studio


A male painter stands center stage at his easel. It is a very large canvas. His model is offstage, or hidden behind a curtain or screen. He is speaking to his model as he paints.


When I was a kid I went to London. My parents took me there on vacation. I saw amazing things. At the National Gallery I saw Turners. Clouds in endless iterations. Grass plains. Sky.

Pre-Raphaelites. Their hair. Blossoming with volume. Copper-rust strands. Silk and lace so real I could feel them against my skin.

And John Singer Sargeant. My first. Carnation Lily Lily Rose.

An explosion of blooms. They grew from the trees, it seemed.  Children holding lamps glowing like fireflies. The flowers, abundant. And hopeful. And lush.

A big canvas. A big, endless world.

A garden of delights.

I stood there staring until my mother threatened to leave me behind.

(To the model) Can you turn your head a little bit to the right? I want to see how the light falls on your cheek.

I saw Madame X in a book. Arresting. That silhouette. The turned head away. Mystery.

I learned from him –- brushstrokes. Composition. Color. Texture. Light falling against bare skin. The paint making something from nothing. A lightweight pile of color meeting a bare white canvas. And magic. Appears. From nowhere. Just desire. The desire makes magic appear. Becomes flesh.

Imagination. Desire. The light of the world. My muse.

(He paints for a while. He stops, stretches. Puts his paint brush down. He walks over to the area where the model is. He pulls back the curtain. There is no model. He goes back to his canvas and looks at it with satisfaction. He picks up a used brush or two and walks off stage.)


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