Play # 58: THE BALZAC

The play takes place in the studio of Auguste Rodin in Meudon, close to Paris.  It is already 1896 and Rodin is working frantically to finish his gigantic Monument to Balzac, first commissioned in 1891.  The work—though still far from ready for an unveiling—is nevertheless being hotly debated everywhere.   On this particular day, Rodin has a visitor in his studio--Oscar Wilde

WILDE (in admiration):  It is superb, Auguste!

RODIN (continuing to work):  Um.

WILDE (ever more ecstatic):  It has the leonine head of a fallen angel!

RODIN (grunting with effort):  Why fallen?

WILDE (laughing):  Because so far, your Balzac is an angel in a dressing gown!

RODIN (sarcastically):  You are nothing if not
perceptive, Oscar!

WILDE : Are you going to leave him in a dressing gown?

RODIN: Well that’s the way he worked.  He was always too busy to get dressed.

WILDE:  But the dressing gown is just an unshaped cone of white plaster.


WILDE: Well, people will howl with rage over it!

RODIN:  Let them.