- “Mooney’s Greatest Speech is very well executed in a delightful blend of humor and history… [In] eight iconic speeches… moving chronologically from Socrates to Martin Luther King, Jr., …he attempts to examine why these particular orations have transcended eras and how they may affect us now in the twenty-first century. Heady stuff, but Mooney achieves this with charisma, energetic pacing, and interesting anecdotes about each speech and speaker, keeping the audience riveted… Mooney doesn’t cheapen his interpretations of the speakers with exaggerated accents, although he does embody their characters fully and believably… FDR’s depression-era address is astonishingly timely to today’s political and economic climate in the United States, and it elicited spontaneous applause from the opening-night audience at key moments.” -Kristin Shafel Omiccioli, kcmetropolis.org
- “It was a powerful performance, and it proved impossible to top as the high point of my evening.” -Deborah Hirsch, Pitch
- “Mooney mines the words of great historical figures from Socrates to Winston Churchill. In other words, his source material is strong. In a shrewd move, Mooney mixes in surprise offerings with the speeches we’ve all heard before always brought back on track by the power of those great words.” -Matthew Palm, Orlando Sentinel
- “Amazing preformance by a great orator!… The entire audience responded with enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of every speech he delivered, as well as at the end of the performance… Some of the lesser-known speeches … still stun today.” Kansas City Fringe audience reaction posts, kcstage.com
About the Show
Tim Mooney, entered the words: GREATEST SPEECH OF ALL TIME into “the Google,” and this play is the result! Ten speeches, including Socrates, Frederick Douglass, Abe Lincoln and more! Searing, powerful dances of rhetoric and inspiration, leaping across the chasm of history! Mooney explains, “I love being able to bring moments of historical consequence, where great deeds hang in the balance, to immediate and tangible life.”
The Greatest Speech of All Time leads the audience through the words that shaped history, as they were being spoken. Mooney’s special proclivity for recognizing and interpreting the shades of irony and hyperbole which informed the oratory, and his ability to untangle the “spaghetti” of centuries-old syntax, recreates these events, enabling the audience to experience the moment when everything hangs in the balance!
“The show moved me to tears,” noted one audience member. Others called it “incredible,” “amazing,” “fantastic,” inspiring!” The Orlando Sentinel called it “strong… shrewd… smart” and “powerful.”
- We watch Socrates, having been condemned to death by an Athenian jury, giving his famous “Apology,” in anticipation of his death sentence. The thickness of Socrates’ irony is unmistakable as he predicts the dread consequences that will befall his accusers.
- Mark Antony delivers “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” addressing the mob at Caesar’s funeral, while deftly turning their anger against the “honorable men” who conspired to assassinate Caesar.
- Frederick Douglass presents a searing Fourth-of-July indictment of slavery, taking his audience through a “fiery stream” of rebuke for the “revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy” that characterized the American slave trade.
- Mooney portrays Abraham Lincoln with Shakespearean gravitas, recreating the Gettysburg Address that Lincoln (incorrectly) suggested that “the world will little note nor long remember,” even as he reinvigorates the Union, galvanizing them to the “great task remaining before us.”
- In a comic turn, Teddy Roosevelt, running for President as the leader of the Bull Moose Party, delivers a lengthy address, in spite of the fact that he has just been shot. Over his aides’ objections, Roosevelt insists that “the issues at stake in this campaign” are far more important than his own life.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural speech (“Fear Itself”), delivered in the midst of the great depression, sounds startlingly contemporary. His demand “There must be an end to speculation with other people’s money” drew spontaneous applause at the show’s Orlando Fringe Fest world premiere!
- Mooney performs three of Winston Churchill’s speeches, from the run-up to Germany’s invasion: “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat,” followed by “We shall Fight them on the Beaches” and “This Was their Finest Hour.”
- Finally, Mooney re-creates Martin Luther King’s “I have been to the mountaintop” speech. Speaking to the Memphis Sanitation Strikers the day before he is shot, Dr. King takes his audience on an imaginary journey over time, eerily anticipating his own early death, while predicting that “we as a people, will get to the promised land!