Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don Draper's Carousel Monologue

Recently, I've become a Mad Men junkie. I'll admit, I only started watching the show because someone reminded me of former Philadelphia actress Maggie Siff. Now a minor player in the AMC drama, she had brought me some of the best moments I had seen on Philadelphia stages, from her performance as Thomasina in the Wilma's (new-home) opener--Tom Stoppard's Arcadia--to her appearance in Samuel Beckett's Endgame alongisde New York actor Pearce Bunting (which is still the best show I've ever seen during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival).

And in a Winter theatre season that relies heavily on monologues (the Arden's Asher Lev, Flashpoint's Jump/Cut, and the Lantern's Sizwe Banzi is Dead), the best monologue I've watched in the month of January appeared in the Season One finale of Mad Men.

Here, the series protagonist Don Draper delivered an advertising pitch for the Kodak Carousel. Selling a product, he found value in life.

For those interested, I've attached the full text of his monologue:

Don Draper: Well, technology is a glittering lure. But, uh, there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product.

My first job, I was in-house at a fur company, with this old-pro copywriter, a Greek named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is new. Creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion.

But he also talked about a deeper bond with the product. Nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. (lights switch off) (changes slide)

Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound”. (changes slide)

It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. (changes slide)

This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. (changes slide)

It goes backwards, forwards, (changes slide) takes us to a place where we ache to go again. (changes slide)

It’s not called the wheel. It’s called the carousel. (changes slide)

It lets us travel the way a child travels. (changes slide)

Round and around, and back home again. (changes slide)

To a place where we know we are loved. (changes slide) (changes slide) (changes slide)

1 comment:

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