by Ximena Carrera
Translation by Catherine Boyle.
Mariana, Carmen, and Nina are prisoners that have been turned into collaborators for a security agency. As informants, they have been given the privilege of leaving a detention center to live in a downtown apartment. The play’s conflict is triggered when Mariana - whose looks can kill - decides to end this life of privilege. She doesn’t want to give away the person who had been her romantic and political companion, after “casually” seeing him in the street. This decision wrecks Carmen and Nina’s attempts to create a life of “normality” based on betrayal.
This play is based on real events.
The following text is an excerpt from the play.
This play is fully protected under Chilean copyright laws.
Mariana: I knew it. I knew it ... If it hadn’t been for me, for these eyes that God gave me. He always said that what he liked most about me were my eyes. My eyes! And it was these eyes that killed him!
Carmen: Don’t torment yourself like that.
Mariana: He’s dead, Carmen! He’s dead because of me!
Carmen: You said that Huaso and Tito hadn’t seen him. Maybe he fell because of someone else.
Mariana: He didn’t see me, I did see him, but he didn’t see me. I was surprised to see and I couldn’t... I couldn’t stop myself shaking. And I tried. I swear I tried not to do it. I looked at Huaso and I saw that he was looking the other way, but then he did something strange. He drove round the block again with the excuse that he needed to go to the chemist’s. He stopped the car. He got out and went into the shop. He was about ten minutes, and when Tito asked him why he’d taken so long he said that he’d remembered that he had to call his mother to wish her a happy birthday. And Tito laughed and said, but you haven’t got a mother. And he laughed and laughed. And didn’t stop laughing until they took me back to the barracks.
Nina: You couldn’t know.
Carmen: It’s not your fault.
Mariana: So who’s to blame, then? (Nina doesn’t answer.) Who? Tell me! If I hadn’t seen him, he’d be alive. But I saw him!
Carmen: You don’t know, Mariana, you don’t know.
Nina: Anyway... it could have been by chance. Maybe they knew that Alejandro would be in the centre at that time.
Mariana: But he’s dead, Nina, he’s dead thanks to me. And the whole high command with him. Ay, I bet they’re having a party right now, those bastards! Schiller and the rest of them must be delighted! Did you see their faces? As if ... as if they’d won the lottery!
Mariana cries. Carmen and Nina go to her.
Mariana: Help me! Please, help me to get away from this.
Carmen: Count on us.
Nina: We’ll help you.
Mariana: So,let’s go. Let’s escape!
Nina: Stop going on about escaping, Mariana, that’s suicide.
Mariana: It’s now or never, girls. We don’t have a guard tomorrow. We’ve got the whole day free. What time do they always call?
Carmen: What does the time matter...?
Mariana: What time?
Carmen: At ten.
Mariana: After we’ve talked to them, we’ll leave.
Mariana: Yes. We’ll go to the Church. They can help us there. That priest, the one that takes in widows, families of the detained-disappeared, what’s his name?
Carmen: Padre Graciano.
Nina: I don’t trust priests.
Mariana: And you trust these pieces of shit? Right now, the Church is the only place that’s doing something. They’ve managed to rescue and save some people.
Nina: But that’s people who’ve been taken prisoner. All they want for us is to see us dead.
Mariana: We have information on Schiller and the others, we can negotiate, even, say they can send us far away, to France, I don’t know. They won’t touch us there. We won’t have to hand over one more life.
Carmen: We can’t.
Nina: It’s... it’s too risky, Mariana. We don’t even dare walk around the park by ourselves, and we’re thinking about escaping... No. It’s suicide. (Pause) If you want to do it, you’re on your own.
Nina: I’m sorry, Michita, but I’m not going to follow you in this. I’m going to get on with my life here.
Mariana: Did you like that guy so much?
Nina: It’s got nothing to do with that.
Mariana: So, what has it got to do with? Just so that you can get into bed with him you’re capable of...
Carmen: (To Nina.) What is she talking about?
Mariana: Nothing? (To Carmen.) Didn’t she tell you that we’ve got a visitor tomorrow? Well, we don’t. Just her.
Carmen looks at Nina waiting for an explanation.
Nina: He called this afternoon.
Nina: Ignacio. I met him yesterday in the...
Carmen: Yes, I know who your Ignacio is. And?
Nina: I invited him to come tomorrow. I thought it would be safer than going out...
Carmen: I told you that if he called you were to say wrong number.
Nina: Yes, yes, I know ... but I couldn’t. I’m sorry. I also have a right to...
Nina: I’m lonely. I’m not like you. I don’t have anyone to protect me.
Carmen: But, what sort of an idiot are you? How can you invite a stranger here? And if he’s armed?
Nina: He won’t be armed. Not everybody wants to kill us.
Carmen goes to the telephone. She dials a number.
Nina: What are you doing?
Carmen: I’m going to tell Schiller so that they arrest him when he gets here.
Nina: No, please, don’t.
Nina puts the telephone down.
Carmen: You have to understand, it’s very dangerous. You don’t know anything about him!
Nina: But I want to see him! Please! I know I don’t know him but he’s a decent guy...
Carmen: You think so? A married man who’s coming here to get into bed with another woman? Yes, you’re right, sounds like an angel to me.
Nina: Please, don’t ... don’t do anything. I don’t want them to get him.
Mariana: I didn’t want them to get Alejandro either.
Nina: (To Mariana) It’s not the same! It’s not the same! (On the verge of tears. To Carmen.) Please, I beg you, don’t tell them!
Carmen: That man’s not setting a foot in this house.
Carmen: (Threatening her.) Shall I call?
Nina: Okay, okay, He won’t set a foot in this house.
Carmen: Swear it.
Nina: I swear. I won’t open the door.
Carmen: It’s for your own good.
Nina: (Crying. To Mariana.) Are you happy now?
Mariana: I’ll be happy when I can get out of here.
Carmen: Mariana, that’s enough. I know that today’s been complicated, especially for you, but ... you have to understand. We can’t escape. Not now.
Mariana: I can. And if you don’t want to, that’s fine. But I’m going.
Nina: Of course, you go. And who’ll have to clear up after you? Us. That’s who.
Mariana: What do you mean?
Carmen: If you manage to get away, who will they take it out on? Us.
Mariana: Say that you didn’t know anything about it.
Nina: You know that doesn’t count. We know what’ll happen. We’ll be screwed.
Carmen: And anyway, that doesn’t matter to them. Even if they realise we haven’t the faintest idea about where you are, they’ll take it out on someone. If not you, it’ll be us.
Mariana: I don’t want to carry on handing over more people! Don’t you understand? Every person I look at could die.
Carmen: Mariana, I know this is difficult for you, but...
Mariana: Difficult? Difficult? It’s hell! They killed him! They killed the only person I’ve loved in my life and they killed him because of me. What ... what do I do now?
Mariana: What do I do?
Carmen: I’m sorry, Mariana, believe me, I’m sorry. But we can’t do anything.
Mariana: Yes, we can! We just have to want to do it! The three of us together!
Nina: They’ll find us, and even if we could run away, how would we live? As prostitutes? Beggars? Think, Mariana, this at least is a refuge.
Carmen: I’m not alone. I have my son.
Mariana: Your sister can look after him, just like she’s done up to now.
Carmen: I asked Schiller to let Mati live with me. Here.
Carmen: This morning. When I found out that some guy was talking to him in the square, I got frightened and called Schiller. I asked him to let him live with us.
Nina: And? What did he say?
Carmen: That I had to ask you first. Forgive me, I know I should have said to you first, but I was frightened.
Mariana: You want to bring a child to live in this apartment?
Carmen: Yes. What’s wrong with that? He’s my son, no?
Nina: And what about us? We’d be his aunts, is that it?
Carmen: I can’t ask you to understand what it is to be mother.
Nina: I’m supposed to understand you and put up with you bringing your child here and I have to live like a nun? Why don’t you just go to hell?
Carmen: It’s not the same. My son isn’t dangerous.
Nina: It’s not about that, Carmen. I don’t want to have a child around here. Full stop. End of discussion.
Carmen: Women are allowed to have their children with them even in prison.
Nina: But this isn’t a prison.
Nina: No. Whatever it is, it’s our home.
Carmen: Think about it. Having a child here could make it all a bit more ... more bearable.
Mariana: How can we make this life a bit more bearable, Carmen!? How? By handing people over during the day and reading ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ to your son at night?
Nina: You can’t do this to us, Carmen.
Carmen: I don’t them to kidnap him and kill him! Is that so difficult for you to understand?
Nina: I’m sorry. I don’t want children here.
Carmen: Nina, please...
Nina: Ah, see how easy it is for you to remember my name now! (Pointedly) No! If you were so keen on making a home with your son, you should have opened your mouth before you came to live here with us.
Carmen: I had no choice. None of us did. And they know it.
Mariana: There’s always a choice, Carmen. Always.
Carmen: So, what’s your alternative? Go back to the coop? Is that it? I’m sorry, but that’s not for me, no.
Mariana: At least we’d know who we are.
Carmen: I know who I am. I know what I’m doing here. It’s the only thing I can do to survive until they let me go.
Mariana: They’re never going to let you go, Carmen. Never. (She looks at Nina) Or you. Or me. Never. Get that into your head.
MARIANA Carmina Riego
CARMEN Nona Fernández
NINA Ximena Carrera
Director: Sebastián Vila
Technical Assistant: Carola Denegri
Production: Compañía La Trompeta.
MEDUSA premiered on April 11th, 2010, at Sala Lastarria 90 (Santiago ,Chile)
To contact the author, write to us.
The Interdram Interviews 2020 are funded by the Ministry of Arts and Culture (Fondart Nacional de Difusión convocatoria