Oliver is not blind to his faults - not that he admits to any of them. What amazes him is that he didn't see the danger before it was too late. He works in the theatre which has more than its share of handsome young men and talented young men (occasionally, but all too rarely, the same young men) and he accepts some of the offers he gets but never allows them to influence him. He is the director - and he really does know best.
But then there is Geoffrey. He knows he can make Geoffrey great. No - the spark of greatness is already burning enough to light up the stage. He has the looks and the ability and the understanding of the text. More, he has the ability of making his audience understand the text. Oliver can make Geoffrey magnificent. Can make him definitive!
Geoffrey will be his greatest achievement.
And isn't that a depressing thought. Because Geoffrey - brilliant, stubborn, intuitive Geoffrey - can't see any further than Ellen. Oh Ellen is all right, talented-enough, amazing when she plays against Geoffrey, but she needs the attention and the applause almost as much as she cares about the text. Geoffrey probably comes in a close third.
The most tragic thing - and Oliver doesn't think tragic is too strong a word - is that he knows that Geoffrey loves him. But it is a love of the mind only. That's their roles in this little drama; Oliver for his mind and Ellen for his body. And Oliver isn't quite sure when he went from being God to the Holy Ghost. So he pushes Geoffrey harder, draws out every nuance of performance and plays every game that he can think of, manipulates and badgers. When Geoffrey complains, wild eyed and at the end of his tether, he lies and tell him it is all in the name of good theatre. Good theatre! And Geoffrey just accepts it as if that explains everything.
As if any of it can be explained because no matter how far he drives Geoffrey, Geoffrey drives him further. He's slept with a woman, with Ellen, for God's sake. Although it was really more of a threesome - the thought of Geoffrey between them like a bolster and about as effective. He's broken every one of his rules, forgotten everything he ever learnt.
He watches Geoffrey play a mad man who maybe isn't so mad, and wonders at his own sanity. He knows how this story ends and it isn't well. Tonight he'll go home alone and think of Denmark and princes and, as Shakespeare so quaintly puts it, country matters until his soul is spent. And Ellen will tell Geoffrey everything, or at least her version of everything because rejection and Ellen never go together well. And Geoffrey will forgive her because she is the Juliet to his Romeo, the Beatrice to his Benedict, the Ophelia to his Hamlet... It's all just so tedious really. It's why he drinks. One of the reasons, anyway.
He's haunted. But he isn't sure that that isn't better than being alone. And it does make for bloody good theatre.