Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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April 24th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore



London, Elizabethan England, 1601

For some, forsooth, I am merely a vagabond – a worthless novelty.  I have been accused of wasting my time and the time of others – attempting to elicit laughter, a few giggles perhaps? or at the very least some smiles from the populace as I ploy my developing talents on the filthy streets of London for a paltry pittance as Elizabeth pampers herself in the palace.

Usually ignored and splashed with mud and dung I dream of securing a part and performing on stage at the Curtain or better still the almighty Globe.  In a role, any role.  In a play, any play – either comic or tragic (with an emphasis on the former) by our most prolific and popular William Shakespeare.

For this I have been preparing myself for months.  In training.  Hoping to secure a spot alongside my best friend and fellow thespian Tomas Kinkaid who is already one of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  And ever since the announcement of a forthcoming production of TWELFTH NIGHT (which Tomas was able to sneak me an advanced copy) I am in expectant ecstasy.

A few coins here and there on a good day help me to survive and give me the courage to persevere.

I love to create laughter.  To help others to temporarily forget the drudgeries of a most difficult life that we commoners must bear.  Am I not allowed to share a bit of laughter with my fellow man, even though I might be arrested for loitering?

After all I am a jester, a clown if you prefer:  Jasper Finkelsteen.  Has a certain ring to it, does it not?

Finkelsteen.  That’s with a double “e” – not an “ie” nor an “ei”, which is much too confusing to remember and not as eye-catching on a theatrical program.  And so I remain His Right Honorable Jasper Finkelsteen while I anxiously await, not so patiently, to be cast in the aforementioned TWELFTH NIGHT for which I am preparing most diligently to display my talents.

Advance rumor has it that I would make a fine Feste with my large expressive hands, light-footedness and more than ordinary profile.  To be honest, a rumor perpetrated by yours truly.

And so in the privacy of my squalid quarters I attempt to improve my movements.  Pretending to fence.  Pretending to gracefully dance.  And developing my voice so as to be able to be distinctly heard in the stalls – speaking the speech “trippingly on the tongue” so to speak.  And to restrain myself from being too flamboyant.  Easier said than done I might add!

All the while, forsooth, remaining an unhappy soul putting forth a fake façade, with what many say is my winsome smile, hiding the sad inner depth of my person that houses my predilection for the companionship of what is considered forbidden – the companionship and love of another male.

It is not that I find the female form offensive.  With all due respect to our sovereign Elizabeth the Queen.  Whose sartorial splendor travels well beyond what is needed or tolerable.

Indeed, it is simply that I prefer men.  A feeling that I have no control over.  A mystical sensation deeply felt within this hirsute and limber body of mine.  And if the truth be known, which is why I am confessing these truths, then I should not be annoyed when being made fun of when I would rather be making fun for others!

Worse yet, I surely would be tortured or hanged or dismembered if discovered.  Sodomy, a most detestable description of an act of love is punishable by death.  Not a pretty picture to imagine to be sure.

Recently I have heard a rumor (one that I did not start) that one can change.  If one so desires.  Something about medieval hocus-pocus – alchemy by name.  A philosopher’s rock or stone or something like that.  Perhaps a bag of good fortune pebbles?  Methinks I shall call it rubbish!

The point is that I could change if I truly desired.  That I am my own controlling force.  That I am in control.  Could this be true?  And if it is so, would I truly want not to be who I am?  Japer Finkelsteen with a double “e”?

But then I espy a charismatic Romeo.  Or a troubled, handsome Hamlet.  Even a Juliet who is portrayed by a most alluring young boy.  All extremely mattress-able (a sweet term I picked up in the backstage area while visiting Tomas) and I am right back to square one.

Men.  And my so called mystical sensation.  Ergo, that is my dilemma.  I want so not to change.  I want to be me. To enjoy my feelings.  To be accepted for who and what I am on my own terms.  So, what is the solution pray tell?   To change or not to change?  That is my dilemma.  Alas, I am at a complete loss.

A full moon had me feeling out of sorts as I repaired my threadbare outfit (which is not as easy as it sounds considering I am partially blind with an unsightly hump to boot) for my most important audition at the CURTAIN when an exhausted albeit beautiful Tomas came a calling after hours of rehearsing with an offer to introduce me to a gypsy friend that dealt with or rather fiddled around with the magic of this so-called alchemy.

She will help you.


Why do you suddenly look so pale Jasper? As he caressed my hump knowing his touch always arouses me.

You know…

No, I do not know!  Surely you fear not females to the extent that you cannot feel free to allow one to help you.  One who only pretends to be female.  She is one of us.


Really Jasper!

And how long have you been seeing this masquerader?

You are far too jealous for your own good Jasper!

Casandra is only attempting to use his knowledge and intuition to help you.  I wouldst hope that you wouldst appreciate my attention to your career.

And with those words he placed one of his most delicious kisses upon my lips, softly whispering – I kiss thee with a most constant heart Jasper Finkelsteen with a double “e”!

Tomas, I am as usual swept away by your charm and logic.  Nay do not interrupt.  Please hear my soul speak.  The very instant I saw you, my heart did fly to your service and has made me a slave to it.

Another kiss with his precious words – I wouldst not wish any companion in the world but you my sweet Jasper.  You know how I adore you.  But we must be discreet.  There is danger in our affection for one another.  There are eyes and ears lurking everywhere that we know not of.  I doth believe Casandra can help.

I doth hesitate Tomas.

You must trust me. And decide what it is you want.

I know not what I want.

Of course you do, my love.  You want to act.  To amuse.  To appear on one of our great stages.  To be famous.  To bed me.

Soon after I came face to face with my audition at THE CURTAIN.   Without scenery or costumes or special effects the theatre was dank, cold and dreary.  Casandra had sold me some golden trinkets that I could ill afford but which Tomas swore by promising that when carried on my person I would succeed beyond all measure in whatever it was I desired.  At that moment all I wanted was not to smell all the foul odors that had been attacking my nose.

Someone shouted at me from across the stage.  You.  Over here!  So’s I can get me a better look.  It was then that I met the source of all those foul smelling odors.  The esteemed director.  Sir Andrew Tobias.  Unshaven, obese and crude.  He circled me.  Viewing me from every available angle.  Prodding and poking to his heart’s desire.  You appear to be a bit nervous Jasper Finkelsteen.  Finkelsteen!  You might think of changin’ that.  That is if you get cast.  Depends on how agreeable you is to me.  No need to be anxious my boy.  A fine specimen you is.  I’s sure you’ll do me fine.

As I listened to him I could only think of all the stories I had heard about such men.  Surely he wanted to bed me but I would have none of it.  Even to satisfy my desire to be in his play.

You appear to fill your tights quite adequately Jasper.  Loosen up, me boy!  Are you adept at performing acrobatics?  Would you mind shaving that hairy chest of yours?  Did not the manager explain about the nudity?  No?  Pity!  Do you play any instruments? Your voice and appearance?  Quite agreeable.  On and on.  Over two hours of interrogation.  I’ve had my eyes on you Jasper for some time.  Do not deny me.  I am aware that I am not as charming as Tomas – but I am much more important.  Yes, do not be shocked.  I know all about you two!  And then finally, how desperately do you want this part?

Not enough to exchange a bit of myself to get ahead, Sir.  Taken somewhat aback he replied, No need to be hasty.  Think hard my dearest.  I believe you are just what I need.

Balderdash!  I do not care!  You are a letch!  I refuse to give into your endeavors to do me harm.  Even if you were somewhat decent in appearance I would have to hesitate and then refuse.

But I could not and should not and dare not say any of those words as it would certainly end my career even before it has begun.  And so I fumed silently deciding to seek advice from Tomas.

Is this what one needs to do to get ahead?  Or did you use Casandra’s trinkets as well.  Well, did you?!  The reply from Tomas startled me.  ‘Tis not so bad, my love.  ‘Tis meaningless.  Just part of the game.  Part of the discipline.  Come, let me ease your stress.

Nay! I wouldst have none of you at the moment.

Sadly, seven excruciatingly long and anxious days later, I learned from Tomas that I had not been selected, in fact rudely eliminated for the role I had so desperately desired.  ‘Twas my greatest disappointment of unfulfilled expectations, as you can well imagine.

A new face.  A comely fellow comedian was cast in the role I coveted.

He shall remain nameless lest I cause any trouble.  How I despise him!

After all I had done – following the advice of that witch Casandra that my lover had foisted on me.  Alchemy!  Trinkets!  All lies!  Promising false hope to those who are foolish enough to believe in such dreck.

It would be nine years hence that I wouldst once again encounter Sir Andrew Tobias.  But I had risen in the theatrical world, was highly respected and was not about to be intimidated by this letch who was no longer powerful.

Meekly he arrived backstage at The Alchemist with a bouquet of wilting lily of the valley (which did little to mask his still awful stink) to praise my starring performance – which by the by has received unanimous glowing reviews – in this absurd ribald farce (right up my alley) by that new Bard on the block – Ben Johnson.

‘Tis wondrous strange, is it not?

And thus I leave you with these parting words:

If talent were all

Many actors wouldst fall

By denying to play ball with one’s selector

Forsooth be fired

Before being hired

Refusing to exchange a bit of themselves

To get ahead

If only they couldst say Nay! Rejecting the bed

Many a dilemma wouldst thus be avoided!

With all serious and good intentions I remain, very truly yours,

Jasper Finkelsteen with a double “e”

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