John Singer Sargent and Madame X

by  Rosary Hartel O'Neill

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  5m, 4f

John Singer Sargent, an up-and-coming American artist, is eager to collaborate on a portrait that would catapult him and Madame X, the most beautiful woman in Paris, to the pinnacle of society. But he falls in love with her and she tries to destroy him. Which pathway will he go down?

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John Singer Sargent and Madame X

by  Rosary Hartel O'Neill

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Biography
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

John Singer Sargent And Madame X was heralded by invitation at the Actors Studio, NYC. John Singer Sargent, an up-and-coming American artist, is eager to collaborate on a portrait that would catapult him and Madame X, the most beautiful woman in Paris, to the pinnacle of society. But he falls in love with her and she tries to destroy him. Which pathway will he go down? Will he try to create the perfect painting or placate his lover? With its revelations about Madame X's identity and an eyebrow-raising cast of characters, including Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, and Dr. Samuel Pozzi (Madame X's notorious gynecologist/lover), this play exposes the tale of beauty, infatuation, obsession, and betrayal that lies behind Sargent's masterpiece painting, Madame X. It is based on a true-life story and set in the glamorous Belle Époque period of Paris and England.

Voluptuous characters and riveting changes of place can be created on a bare stage by shifts in lighting and/or costume pieces.

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Keywords

Love

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Victorian (British and American)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: Multiple interior and exterior sets. Belle Époque Paris and London, 1882.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Casting

5m, 4f
JOHN SINGER SARGENT — 28; handsome; a good athlete; formally dressed American; a bit naïve, he is courageous and daring and will defy everyone to protect his painting; no experience in love.
JUDITH GAUTHIER — late 30s; French art critic; beautiful. She champions artists and underdogs and admires Sargent.
CLAUDE MONET — middle aged; established landscape artist. A powerful art critic and teacher, he is working to improve his sensitivity to his students’ struggles.
AMELIE GAUTREAU — 24; “Madame X;” exquisite. The most beautiful woman in Paris, she is from New Orleans and yearns for love.
DR SAMUEL-JEAN POZZI (DR. DIEU) — 30s; nicknamed Dr Dieu (God) because of his promiscuity and the fame of his gynecology; dashing good looks. He collects artists and destroys their souls and is enamored of Amelie Gautreau.
SARAH BERNHARDT — 30s; the most famous actress in France; has a mother complex and a sexual history with Dr. Pozzi.
EMILY SARGENT — 24; a delicate girl with a childhood deformity. She is John Sargent’s sister who follows him about and lives off his fame.
HENRY JAMES — middle-aged; austere English novelist and critic; champions Sargent for his talent and is one of his greatest admirers.
OSCAR WILDE — 29; dapper London poet; dressed in dashing urban attire. He believes in Sargent and the beautiful of Paris and is always available for a clever remark.
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner are walk-ons with no lines. The following characters may be played by the same actor/actress if doubling is desired: Claude Monet and Henry James; Oscar Wilde and Sam Pozzi; Judith Gauthier and Sarah Bernhardt.

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Authors

Rosary Hartel O'Neill

Rosary Hartel O’Neill is the author of 25 plays, 18 published by Samuel French, Inc., and three books of nonfiction. The fourth edition of her text The Actor’s Checklist, is used in schools nationwide. Her book The Director As Artist will be published in a second edition in 2018. Her book New Orleans Carnival Krewes: ...

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John Singer Sargent and Madame X received it's first staged reading at the Herbert Berghoff Studios in New York City and a subsequent staging at Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre in New York City.

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