File = LR2.html
Last update = September 11, 1996

The Livingroom II Script

Time = 0000

(Carmen enters to find GUILLERMINA in the room, looking at a painting. Guillermina hears her and turns from the painting.) CARMEN I'm sorry. I didn't know anyone was here. GUILLERMINA Do you like this? (Carmen joins her to look at the painting.) GUILLERMINA I find the tension between design and color to be mesmerizing. CARMEN Really? I feel no tension at all. GUILLERMINA I feel like the colors want to ooze into the design at the same time that the design wants to explode into color. It's very sexual, very passionate. You don't see it? CARMEN I don't see it because it isn't there. GUILLERMINA Then you don't like it? CARMEN I loathe it. GUILLERMINA Not even a little? CARMEN I've seen better art on the walls of the train station. GUILLERMINA Thank God. I thought I was the only one. CARMEN Pardon me? GUILLERMINA I don't like it either. It's much too stressful to look at. Having this on the wall would give me nightmares. It would be like displaying pornography. Juan enters. [0100] JUAN I see you two have met. CARMEN Not formally. JUAN My assistant, Guillermina. Mrs. Carmen Eyzaguirre. GUILLERMINA Nice to meet you. CARMEN Yes. (To Juan) May we conduct our business privately? GUILLERMINA Don't mind me - I was just leaving. (She starts off and meets Ana, who is entering the area. They nod and Guillermina continues through the rest of the livingroom, ignoring Eduardo and Francisco, leisurely into the hallway - and then into the diningroom, where she meets Alberto and Luisa.) (Ana joins Carmen and Juan. Ana goes straight to the painting that Carmen and Guillermina were looking at.) ANA Mother, don't you just love it? CARMEN THAT is the painting you were talking about? ANA It's extraordinary, isn't it? It is so restful. So tranquil. CARMEN I loathe it. JUAN Let it grow on you. CARMEN Ana, really, if you dragged me all the way here to show me this totally misconceived, chaotic and dismal display of the most egotistical artistic pretension . . . (Another painting nearby gets her eye.) CARMEN Now THIS is something I would look at more than once. (She studies the painting. Juan moves close to Ana, where they speak quietly.) JUAN What do we do now? ANA I can handle my mother. (Ana moves to the other painting, alongside her mother.) ANA Very nice as well. CARMEN "As well." What did you learn in that art school I paid for? ANA But this one's so safe - while the style of the other is on the vanguard. Like Juan says, you need to give it time. It will grow on you. CARMEN Spare me such a fate. (Juan joins them.) JUAN Excellent taste, madam. I believe this was my very favorite in our last show. CARMEN I don't like high pressure salesmen. If you leave me to my own devices, I very well may purchase it. JUAN No pressure intended, madam. I was merely complimenting you on your good taste. CARMEN Don't give me your line, Juan. I see right through you. ANA Mother, why don't you get them both? CARMEN Why would I buy trash? ANA For me. I happen to love it. CARMEN The tastes of youth are so depressing. ANA Times change, mother, and so do tastes. CARMEN The degeneration of culture is very real, I'll grant you that, but it does not mean that I have to pay for it. ANA You can give it to me for my birthday. CARMEN You really see something in it? (They drift back to the other painting, with Juan following. They are looking at the other painting when Francisco enters.) [0230] FRANCISCO Are we admiring merely - or thinking of buying? (Juan recognizes him, of course.) JUAN And what brings you here? After what you wrote about the show, I'm surprised you'd set foot in the place. Or are you feeling guilty - and came back for a second look? FRANCISCO A second look, yes. But feeling guilty - no. I wanted another look at the painting by Eduardo Meza. Did you move it? JUAN Eduardo already took it. FRANCISCO Too bad. Do you mind if I look around? JUAN Be my guest. (Francisco speaks to Carmen, who still stands with Ana in front of the painting that Carmen hates.) FRANCISCO You have excellent taste. It was the best thing in the show. Perhaps the only real work of art here. CARMEN Are you serious? JUAN May I introduce Francisco Larrain, the art critic of "Revista Paula". Carmen Eyzaguirre, one of the art world's most active patrons. CARMEN I read a collection of your essays. FRANCISCO Really? I hope you liked them. CARMEN Much better than I like this painting. FRANCISCO Perhaps you come to it with the wrong expectations. ANA I was trying to tell her so. I'm Ana. FRANCISCO My pleasure indeed. ANA I've been trying to convince mother to buy it. FRANCISCO It would be an excellent investment. One wants to be ahead of the curve in this sort of thing. CARMEN I preferred that one over there. (She points. Francisco grimaces.) FRANCISCO Pardon me. I see you are interested in decorative art, rather than work that speaks to the soul. CARMEN This painting speaks to your soul? FRANCISCO It moves me deeply. Eduardo enters, a large knife in his hand. [0330] EDUARDO Francisco! (All turn and see the knife.) EDUARDO It's time to turn the tables, time for the critic to get criticized! JUAN Lalo, are you crazy? Put that away. (He approaches Eduardo - but when Eduardo gestures with the knife, Juan stops.) JUAN All this over a bad review? EDUARDO Of course not. This is not about me. FRANCISCO Then what is it about? EDUARDO The damage you do! FRANCISCO If you don't like what I write, don't read it. EDUARDO Damage to the culture! Damage to artists, especially young artists-- . . . FRANCISCO Especially Eduardo. EDUARDO --who struggle to find their vision, who work without pay and without reward, who sweat blood over their craft, who-- . . . FRANCISCO Spare me, Eduardo. (He approaches Eduardo now.) FRANCISCO Put away the knife. EDUARDO No closer! JUAN I think he's serious. CARMEN Please do as he says! FRANCISCO I'm serious, too. EDUARDO Francisco! FRANCISCO You don't have the nerve. Give me the knife. EDUARDO No closer! (Francisco moves very close now, and Eduardo lunges with the knife. Francisco cries out - and falls, the front of his shirt stained with blood.) (Carmen screams. All approach the body on the floor.) JUAN Eduardo, are you crazy? (Eduardo steps back, then turns and runs into the kitchen.) [0430] CARMEN Where's your telephone? JUAN Disconnected. CARMEN I'll use my car telephone to get the police. JUAN No, wait! I'd rather not get the police involved unless it's absolutely necessary. I have the gallery's reputation to think of. (Juan is checking over Francisco, who groans. He is alive.) FRANCISCO Eduardo? JUAN Eduardo is gone. CARMEN He needs to get to a doctor. FRANCISCO No, please - I"m okay, it's just a scratch . . . ANA There's too much blood for a scratch. FRANCISCO I don't want a scandal . . . CARMEN We need to make him comfortable. Do you have any cushions, blankets? ANA Are there beds upstairs? JUAN I don't think so. ANA I'll check. [0500] (Ana leaves and goes upstairs to the hallway outside the master bedroom.) JUAN Rest easy . . . I wish there was a more comfortable place to put him. CARMEN Can we get him to a bedroom? JUAN I'm sure there aren't beds up there. They don't move in until tomorrow. FRANCISCO Perhaps a pillow . . . (Juan takes off his jacket and arranges it into a pillow for Francisco on the floor.) JUAN Here we go . . . FRANCISCO You hate me . . . why are you doing this? JUAN Good God, man, I'm not a crazed fool like Lalo! CARMEN He needs a doctor. FRANCISCO Madam, I am fine, really . . . don't worry about me . . . this is just a scratch . . . CARMEN It looks awful. FRANCISCO . . . if I have dying words, madam, it would be to buy the painting . . . CARMEN My God! FRANCISCO Merely a joke, madam . . . perhaps a poor one . . . could I have some water? CARMEN I'll get it. Where? JUAN The kitchen - it's at the end of the hallway. Carmen goes to the kitchen. [0600] (When she is gone, Francisco sits up, healthy.) FRANCISCO Lalo buy it? JUAN I don't think he has a clue. FRANCISCO Excellent. (Francisco gets up and stretches.) FRANCISCO Stand watch, would you? I think I twisted my knee when I fell. (Juan moves to a position so he can see Carmen when she returns with water.) JUAN Do they come any lower than you? (Francisco laughs.) FRANCISCO I'm not sure what you're referring to. JUAN Humiliating Lalo this way. FRANCISCO Oh, you are so innocent, you have nothing to do with this! JUAN It wasn't my idea. FRANCISCO You're not bright enough to have thought of it. JUAN I'm going along because seeing is believing. I can't believe you'd actually go through with it. When you came to me, I thought, no one is this cruel. I had to see for myself. FRANCISCO This isn't cruelty. This is an introduction to Life 101. It's time the boy grew up. JUAN Eduardo a mere boy? FRANCISCO He has the emotions of puberty. JUAN He knows nothing about women, I'll grant you that. Guillermina is not impressed by such gallantry. FRANCISCO I will hand him one thing. He had the passion to attack me. I didn't think he had that much energy. His paintings are so bland. JUAN You know the cliche - love is blind. He attacked you without thought to the consequences. FRANCISCO I think he actually planned to kill me. Fortunately, I convinced him this would impress her more. It's all in the timing. (He sees Guillermina coming.) JUAN Get down! (Francisco gets back down. Guillermina enters. [0700] (She rushes to Francisco, ignoring Juan completely.) GUILLERMINA What has happened? Oh my God ...! (She looks up to Juan.) GUILLERMINA Where's the ambulance? JUAN We didn't call an ambulance. GUILLERMINA He needs a doctor! FRANCISCO Guillermina, I'm fine, please - it's just a scratch. JUAN Where is Lalo? GUILLERMINA There's so much blood - I'm calling an ambulance. JUAN The phone is disconnected. FRANCISCO Please calm down . . . (He grabs her hand and pulls her to him.) FRANCISCO This is not real blood. GUILLERMINA What? FRANCISCO We need Eduardo, Juan. JUAN I think you're right. Assuming he's still around . . . GUILLERMINA He's in the kitchen. What's going on? JUAN Be right back. GUILLERMINA Wait a minute. He's more upset than ever. I told him Francisco and I were lovers. FRANCISCO What a good idea! GUILLERMINA He had this crazy notion that we would run off to Brazil together. What kind of charade is this? JUAN Eduardo is an incurable romantic. GUILLERMINA If this is a joke, it's a very cruel one. FRANCISCO All I know is, I have a dinner appointment that I don't plan to miss. So let's get on with it. GUILLERMINA This has upset your buyer very much. JUAN I don't think she appreciates her daughter's tastes. There's probably no sale here tonight anyway. GUILLERMINA That's not necessarily true. You know you can use all the sales you can get. JUAN What are you trying to say, Guillermina? GUILLERMINA That business should come before pleasure. Why don't I distract Eduardo while you close the sale? FRANCISCO What about me? GUILLERMINA You'd be free to go. This was a bad idea anyway. FRANCISCO I didn't go through all this to miss the best part. I want to see his face when he comprehends I double-crossed him. GUILLERMINA You're a cruel man. JUAN You think there's still the possibility of a sale? GUILLERMINA Look at all the adventure she's seen here tonight. When she buys a painting, or several, they will be emblems of the same adventure, icons for her memory. You might mention something like that to her. 0830 JUAN I didn't know you were so devious. GUILLERMINA Then you don't know me at all. JUAN Only because you won't let me know you. GUILLERMINA (to Francisco) He is always trying to seduce his assistants. FRANCISCO Shame on you, Juan. JUAN I didn't realize you had beat me to it. FRANCISCO She was kidding. Tell him you were kidding. GUILLERMINA Of course I was kidding. I mean, I said that for Eduardo's benefit - which was probably a mistake. Now he feels twice the fool. FRANCISCO Good. GUILLERMINA He may decide to hurt you in earnest. FRANCISCO He already tried that. I convinced him this way would make a better impression on you. JUAN He may have fled the coop. GUILLERMINA How were you going to humiliate him if he ran off? JUAN Tomorrow I was going to get him to help me get rid of the body. FRANCISCO He was going to dig my grave. JUAN Then, at the last moment, when Lalo was ready to roll the body into the hole in the ground . . . FRANCISCO Surprise! GUILLERMINA And you call me devious. FRANCISCO I was depending on his sense of humor. I think I've grown to like the man. If he showed half as much passion in his work as he shows in life, he might be worth seeing in a gallery. JUAN Back to your groaning, Francisco - I think I hear someone coming . . . GUILLERMINA Do you still plan to bury the body? JUAN Do we? FRANCISCO I'm willing if you are. JUAN That means you have to die tonight. FRANCISCO Here I go . . . (He is on the floor, his eyes closed, looking dead.) JUAN So who is your lover, really? There must be someone. GUILLERMINA My little secret, Juan. (Carmen, Eduardo and Ana enter.) [0930] CARMEN Everyone relax! Dear Eduardo feels very bad for what he did. How is the patient doing? JUAN Not too well. He's lost consciousness. CARMEN Well, I still think we should've phoned the police. JUAN I was just leaving to phone them. I would prefer we wrap up our business before they arrive. There's no need for you to get involved in this mess. I can give you a special price on both paintings. CARMEN I've decided to buy my paintings from Eduardo. ANA What? JUAN What? CARMEN I like passion in my artists. The dear boy showed us he has that. EDUARDO No one makes a fool of me. JUAN Lalo, listen to me - I understand a little of what you're going through, Francisco insulted me as much as he insulted you, after all. If you want to get out of here before the police arrive, that's fine. EDUARDO What will you tell the police? JUAN I could say it all happened while I was in another room. GUILLERMINA Yes, he and I were making final arrangements for the move tomorrow. You burst in off the street behind our backs. CARMEN Well, tell them what you will. It's not our concern. ANA Mother, I think you're making a big mistake passing this painting up. CARMEN My own daughter - and her tastes are in the gutter. That's what I get for sending her to the United States. You've been very kind, Juan, staying open so I could see these - I just wish you'd kept Eduardo's paintings on the wall, then you would have saved me a trip. ANA Mother, I've given you good advice in the past. You hated the mermaid sculpture and look how much that's worth today. CARMEN Only because the artist had such an extravagant suicide. He lept from a skyscraper during a parade. JUAN Nothing increases the value of art like the suicide of the artist. You might take note of that, Eduardo. EDUARDO I already know this. CARMEN Shall we go to your gallery? EDUARDO Whenever you're ready. CARMEN Bon voyage. Carmen and Eduardo exit. [1100] JUAN What did I tell you? GUILLERMINA She's made a commitment without even seeing the paintings. ANA She's doing this to spite me. GUILLERMINA You think so? ANA Yes. GUILLERMINA Listen, I have an idea - I need to catch them before they leave. She hurries after them. [1130] ANA What the hell is Eduardo doing here? He ruined everything. JUAN If you were on time, we could've completed the sale before any of this happened. ANA Mother is never on time. JUAN What are you going to do about the painting? (Ana looks at Francisco, uncomfortable with him there.) ANA Can we talk privately? JUAN Why not? (They go to the kitchen.) [1200] (When he is alone, Francisco stirs; he slowly gets up and stretches. He speaks to the audience.) FRANCISCO I was a great prankster in college. Hardly a week went by when I didn't pull one outrageous practical joke or another on a friend or a professor. I developed quite a reputation over it. The secret to pulling off a good practical joke is not the element of surprise, though of course this is an essential parameter in order to get the proper effect. But what separates the men from the boys in the arena of pranksterism, if I may coin a term, is this: the victim must create the circumstances of his own undoing. The victim's own actions humiliate him. This is the charm of what we have here: Eduardo walked right into it. He brazenly came to me with the idea of committing bodily harm, which naturally I did not plan to accept without resistance. He even suggested a duel. Imagine - a duel! Shows you where the boy's sentiments lie, back in the Age of Chivalry. So I suggested a theatrical that would accomplish what he wanted to accomplish, which was to impress Guillermina. I used his own energy, his own idea, against him. And therein lies the key to a brilliant prank. And to think all this was just dropped into my lap . . . (He smiles, quite enjoying being a part of this.) [1300] FRANCISCO I wish Eduardo's paintings were still here. I could make an important point with them. So many young artists confuse mere expression, the mere slabbing of paint against the canvas, with art. As Gertrude Stein said to Hemingway about literature: "Remarks, Ernest, are not literature." Remarks in oil, that's what Eduardo's paintings are. Mere remarks. Well, you can say that about so many so-called paintings today, can't you? There's a glut on the market of these trivial remarks on canvas. It's something of a plague, not just here but everywhere, an international plague of inconsequential art. You know what the problem is? Art has become public. Now every divorced housewife, every unemployed bricklayer, thinks an art course or two will turn them into an artist. Now everyone paints. Everyone writes. And everyone adds more inconsequential art to the plague. The Remarks of the Common Man - how boring they are! And you thought it was easy being an art critic, didn't you? (Guillermina rushes in.) [1330] GUILLERMINA Aren't you taking a risk, being up and about? FRANCISCO Guillermina, stress brings out your best features. You look very beautiful right now. GUILLERMINA This evening isn't going the way I expected it to. FRANCISCO No wonder, if you tell Eduardo we are lovers. GUILLERMINA When you want to cover up something, state it as the truth. I was afraid Juan was suspecting us - now I'm sure he thinks it's just a lie I told to Eduardo. FRANCISCO You're so clever. GUILLERMINA And upset. FRANCISCO If you would be more open with me, maybe I could help. GUILLERMINA You know I can't talk to you about my work. FRANCISCO But I share so much with you about my own. GUILLERMINA Your work is in the public spotlight. Mine isn't. FRANCISCO Guillermina, I think you love being a spy. GUILLERMINA If you don't get back down on the floor, we could get found out. FRANCISCO I get bored down there. GUILLERMINA But you make such a lovely corpse. FRANCISCO Are you suggesting something kinky? GUILLERMINA Wishful thinking, Francisco? Not on your life. (Francisco will get back on the floor in his former position.) FRANCISCO I'll be glad when this case you are on is over. You haven't been much fun lately. GUILLERMINA You won't be half as glad as me. I thought tonight was going to wrap it up, but now I'm not so sure. FRANCISCO My offer to help is still there. GUILLERMINA There's nothing you can do. If there was, I'd tell you. FRANCISCO I wonder if you would. GUILLERMINA If it wouldn't put you in danger. Where's Juan? [1430] FRANCISCO He and Ana went off to discuss business. GUILLERMINA They must be worried about how to . . . (She catches herself, she's almost said too much.) FRANCISCO I can keep a secret. GUILLERMINA Ignorance is safer, Francisco. Damn, I wish they'd gotten here on time. This should have gone like clockwork. FRANCISCO What do you do in the worst possible case? GUILLERMINA I said we are changing the subject. FRANCISCO Very well. What do you want to talk about? GUILLERMINA Nothing. I want you to pretend you're dying. (Francisco starts growning in an exaggerated fashion.) FRANCISCO Oooooo .... oooooo .... GUILLERMINA Stop that! Just stop . . . (She moves to the other area of the livingroom.) [1500] (Francisco watches her go.) FRANCISCO I know you think this is a sexist remark - but sometimes I think her line of work would be better handled by a man. Women get rattled too easily. She's a very talented amateur artist, if she devoted herself to it, I think she could have a different career. But she seems to enjoy the danger of police work. I don't understand it. (He is back on the floor, pretending to be unconscious.) Time = 1600 (Guillermina returns.) GUILLERMINA The coast is clear - everybody is upstairs. (Francisco slowly gets to his feet.) FRANCISCO Any progress? GUILLERMINA I have a plan: I think I can wrap this up and get out of here. FRANCISCO And the rest of us? GUILLERMINA Whatever you want to do with this prank of yours, Francisco, is up to you. FRANCISCO And if you wrap this up - then perhaps things can return to normal? Like I said, I've missed you. GUILLERMINA Perhaps. I can use a vacation when this is over. FRANCISCO I was thinking of the opera in Rome. Interested? GUILLERMINA Possibly. I'd rather soak up the sun on a deserted beach. FRANCISCO We can do both. That's why they invented airplanes. GUILLERMINA First things first. I'm not out of the woods yet. [1630] FRANCISCO You wouldn't be happy without all this danger and stress, would you? GUILLERMINA I didn't mention danger. FRANCISCO I know you, Guillermina. You don't take on assignments unless they are dangerous. GUILLERMINA Well, not too dangerous. FRANCISCO It's frustrating to watch you do this and not be able to help. GUILLERMINA You can help by staying out of the way - and playing dead. $FRANCISCO It's time for Juan to drag me into a closet or something. The plan wasn't that I lie on the floor all night. I have someplace I have to be. You could accompany me if you like - if you wrap this up, I mean. GUILLERMINA Perhaps. First things first. FRANCISCO Of course. "First things first." "Business before pleasure." Excuse me - I think it's more relaxing to play dead. (He gets back down on the floor.) (Guillermina paces, turns to the audience.) GUILLERMINA There are two priorities here - to catch the criminal in the act, so I have evidence for a conviction; but also to stop the crime from being done - or at least from causing harm. It's a tricky balance to keep, letting the crime continue far enough to secure a conviction but not so far that it causes harm. In this case, the harm appears to matter more to others than to me. But all that's not my responsibility, of course. I just do what I'm told. (She paces.) FRANCISCO (from the floor) Calm down! GUILLERMINA Quiet! (She stops pacing but is still worried.) (Juan and Carmen enter.) [1800] JUAN Guillermina, get the papers for Mrs. Eyzaguirre to sign. She's buying the lot. GUILLERMINA Really? CARMEN He offered me a price I couldn't refuse. GUILLERMINA This way. (Guillermina and Carmen move into the kitchen). (When they are gone, Francisco gets up.) FRANCISCO How long do I have to play dead? JUAN Not long now. FRANCISCO This wasn't supposed to take half the night. JUAN I was supposed to be through with business before you got here. I'm sorry for the confusion. FRANCISCO Can't you drag me into a closet? Then I could sneak out the back way and go on with my evening. JUAN As soon as I sign the papers. FRANCISCO I can't believe she bought all this. She knows nothing about art. JUAN One never knows what will be valuable. FRANCISCO What one knows is what WON'T be valuable - and this house is filled with it. JUAN Fortunately, the marketplace does not depend on your opinions. FRANCISCO Only because women like her are so gullible to the ridiculous claims of people like you. JUAN I just offered her a bargain. She's willing to take the gamble. FRANCISCO If the price is low enough, there's one or two that have a chance. JUAN None of us can predict the future, Francisco. Not even you. FRANCISCO There's also a difference between the educated guess and blind luck. JUAN And blind luck wins as often. FRANCISCO That's ridiculous. JUAN You'd better go back to playing dead. They'll be back with the papers. FRANCISCO Just get me out of here. (He settles back down.) (Juan takes a deep breath. He speaks to the audience.) JUAN I think we're almost home free . . . the world will learn the truth about Violeta Parra . . . (Carmen and Guillermina return). [1900] GUILLERMINA Here are the papers . . . (She gives them to Juan, who signs.) JUAN You'll need to get the paintings first thing in the morning. I have to vacate by noon. CARMEN My daughter will make the arrangements. JUAN It's been a pleasure doing business with you. CARMEN You mean, it's a pleasure swindling me. That's what you think you're doing, isn't it? JUAN Of course not, madam. CARMEN But our art critic here thinks I bought one valuable piece at least - that piece of trash my daughter wanted me to buy. (She moves close to Francisco and looks down at him on the floor.) CARMEN I wish all his readers could see him now. All the misguided people who take his word as gospel, who don't go to an opening because he writes that there's nothing there worth seeing. It's appalling how much power art critics have. (She leans down close to him now.) CARMEN Well, my dear art critic, here's one event that you misread entirely. Eduardo knows what you're about. He knows that you and the lady are lovers, and he knows you double-crossed him, and the last laugh happens to be on you. (Francisco snaps up, sitting on the floor.) FRANCISCO And I've had quite enough of all this! (He gets to his feet, brushing himself off.) FRANCISCO Juan, you made a total mess of everything. JUAN What did I do? FRANCISCO This is your gallery - for another day, at least - and you're responsible for everything that happens here. None of this has gone as planned, not from the beginning. [2000] CARMEN We need Eduardo down here - he's missing all this. FRANCISCO Eduardo got what he wanted. Guillermina, weren't you impressed? GUILLERMINA Pardon me? FRANCISCO Weren't you impressed with the lengths Eduardo went to in order to demonstrate his devotion to you? GUILLERMINA (going along) Oh - well, yes, of course. FRANCISCO So Eduardo got what he bargained for. The rest, madam, is some figment of your imagination. CARMEN Will you tell that to Eduardo's face? FRANCISCO Tell what? CARMEN That there was no double-cross. FRANCISCO It's the truth. There wasn't any. CARMEN Then wait right here. (She goes upstairs.) [2030] FRANCISCO (after her) I don't see the point of this? (Carmen is gone.) What is she trying to prove? GUILLERMINA She's taken a liking to Eduardo, I suppose. She thinks she's helping him save face. FRANCISCO Well, we deny everything. There's nothing we can salvage now. JUAN This wasn't my fault. Business was supposed to be finished before you got here. I certainly wouldn't have agreed to this otherwise. Ana neglected to tell me her mother is habitually late. GUILLERMINA What difference does it make now? You sold everyting! Congratulations. FRANCISCO Indeed. One of the most skilled examples of pulling the wool over a buyer's eyes that I've ever witnessed. JUAN She knows she's taking a gamble. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That's the nature of the beast. [2100] GUILLERMINA Are you sure you want to wait for Eduardo? FRANCISCO You think he's still dangerous? GUILLERMINA I think he's more dangerous than ever. FRANCISCO Really? Then we read human nature differently. It would seem to me that he'd realize he made his point with you and be happy for that. GUILLERMINA But he thinks we are lovers. JUAN You put that notion into his head. GUILLERMINA It seemed like a good idea at the time. But he may feel that when I learn this has all been a charade, then he comes off looking like a fool. FRANCISCO Well, he does look like a fool. GUILLERMINA I don't think he'll put his tail between his legs and go home. I think he may attack you in earnest. JUAN I see what she's getting at. Maybe it is a good idea if you get out of here. FRANCISCO Well, now I'm definitely staying. I'm not afraid of Eduardo. (A silence, as they wait: and then:) (Eduardo enters, with Carmen right behind him.) [2130] EDUARDO Guillermina, I am sorry you have to learn of our charade. GUILLERMINA You shouldn't be. I admire you for it. EDUARDO You do? GUILLERMINA It shows so much imagination. It's something a true artist would think of. Any bully can draw a knife - but to think of something so clever! You touched my heart, Eduardo. EDUARDO But you and Francisco . . .? GUILLERMINA That was just something I made up. I wanted to discourage you. EDUARDO Francisco? FRANCISCO Yes - it's just as she explained. EDUARDO Are you and Guillermina lovers? FRANCISCO Is that what you think? Not a chance. She's not my type. GUILLERMINA And why would I go out with someone so much older? CARMEN I think they're lying, Eduardo. JUAN Madam, perhaps you should be getting your paintings ready. If you need help finding a mover-- . . . CARMEN Ana will take care of everything. (Alberto has wandered in.) [2200] ALBERTO I'm sorry - am I interrupting something? JUAN As a matter of fact-- . . . CARMEN The more, the merrier. Francisco was just denying that Guillermina is his lover. I was calling him a liar. ALBERTO Perhaps I should go. CARMEN I think a fresh point of view would be useful here. JUAN I don't see why you concern yourself with this. CARMEN What I'm concerned about is Eduardo. I've taken a liking to him. JUAN You're still buying his paintings as well? EDUARDO No, she has no interest in my paintings. CARMEN That's not necessarily true. EDUARDO You wouldn't come to my gallery. CARMEN Perhaps later. FRANCISCO Madam, you appear to have an agenda here. Perhaps you could share it with the rest of us. CARMEN I'd be happy to. FRANCISCO You have the floor. [2230] CARMEN I wish Ana were here. This is something she should hear. Eduardo, would you bring her down here? EDUARDO I am tired of words. Francisco, I am asking you again - we will duel to the death, and you can pick the weapons. ALBERTO A duel! In this day and age? CARMEN He's right, Eduardo, you're being a trifle old-fashioned. Just give me a few minutes, and I think I can settle this in a way that will satisfy you. GUILLERMINA What is it you think you're settling? CARMEN Beauty is so blind. Don't you see it? GUILLERMINA See what? CARMEN Every man in the room desires you. (Alberto clears his throat.) CARMEN Including you. ALBERTO I'm happily married. CARMEN That doesn't contradict what I said. Eduardo, please bring Ana in here. Trust me on this. EDUARDO I don't know why I should trust you. You changed your mind about seeing my paintings. CARMEN You've trusted me this far - don't quit when we're so close now. EDUARDO Very well. But I am tired of so much talk. GUILLERMINA Please believe me, Eduardo - there is nothing between Francisco and me. EDUARDO And Juan? GUILLERMINA And nothing between Juan and me. There's no one in my life right now. (Eduardo studies her - and makes up his mind.) EDUARDO I'll be right back. (Eduardo looks for Ana, finds her in the dining room). [2330] FRANCISCO I didn't think you would have such a flair for melodrama. CARMEN Is that what it is? FRANCISCO You hope to squeeze as much suspense out of this moment as you can. But, alas, madam, I am already bored. CARMEN And you're a drama critic, too? FRANCISCO Criticism is a disciplined habit of the mind. The subject matter counts less than the habit. CARMEN And how long have you been a critic? FRANCISCO Ever since I finished graduate school. CARMEN Have you been writing for Revista Paula long? FRANCISCO Over a decade. CARMEN I know. FRANCISCO You said you read my essays. CARMEN I have. FRANCISCO Why? Again, madam, you don't impress me as someone who would read art criticism for leisure. CARMEN It wasn't leisure. It was evaluating my investment. FRANCISCO Pardon me? CARMEN Evaluating my investment. I wanted to see what it was I was getting for my money. FRANCISCO You're being very oblique. I don't think I understand. CARMEN Then let me be direct. "Revista Paula" was just sold, wasn't it? FRANCISCO To a woman in Madrid, I believe. CARMEN Yes. FRANCISCO You know her? CARMEN Yes. FRANCISCO We've heard so many good things about her. CARMEN Liar. You loathe the idea of someone out of the country buying the magazine, and especially a woman. FRANCISCO People do get nervous when new management moves in. CARMEN And why is that? [2430] FRANCISCO Fear of change. CARMEN Fear of losing their jobs. FRANCISCO A little of that, too. (There's a pause. Carmen smiles at Francisco.) JUAN Will this take long? I mean, you do have your paintings to get ready for shipment. CARMEN It won't take long at all. As soon as Ana comes in, we can begin. GUILLERMINA Maybe I should see what's delaying them. CARMEN I want you to stay. I wouldn't feel safe alone with three men. FRANCISCO You flatter yourself. ALBERTO I think I'll look for my wife. CARMEN Stay. I want everyone here. This won't take a moment. (They wait. Then Ana, Luisa and Eduardo enter). [2500] CARMEN Here you are, Ana. ANA Mother, since I know how much you loathe this painting, I've given it to Luisa. If you don't mind, we'll take it now. She's also helping me make arrangements with a mover. CARMEN How thoughtful of you, dear. LUISA It's nothing. ANA This way, Luisa. (She points out the painting. Passing Juan, she makes an aside:) ANA Eduardo knows everything. JUAN Don't worry, he's harmless. (Ana and Luisa have gone to the painting.) LUISA (negatively) This is it? CARMEN I don't think she wants the painting, Ana. ANA Of course she does. It's extraordinary, isn't it? (Ana glares at Luisa to give the right answer.) LUISA Well, yes, it is - interesting. FRANCISCO It's an excellent investment. CARMEN Do you know the poem by Nicanor Parra? "THE MONA LISA / like every famous painting / is improved 100% / if we hang it upside down / just turn it 180 degrees / you don't really have to paint on a moustache" Let's try turning it upside down, dear. [LA MONA LISA / como todo cuadro famoso / gana 100% / si lo colgamos patas attriba / basta girarlo en 180o / no hay para que pintarle bigotes] ANA Why don't we all meet at Pinch of Pancho in an hour? Alberto, you can stay with mother. ALBERTSON Whatever you wish. (Ana starts to remove the painting.) CARMEN Before you go, I want you to hear this. ANA Mother, we are in a hurry here. CARMEN I bought "Revista Paula." FRANCISCO You? CARMEN Yes, I'm the lady from Madrid. Ana, did you hear what I said? ANA (it hasn't registered) Mother? CARMEN I bought "Revista Paula." That's my business here. (She looks at Francisco) To clean house, you might say. FRANCISCO Madam, for the last five years-- . . . CARMEN I know all about your awards, Francisco. You're still fired. FRANCISCO Madam? CARMEN You're fired. Ana, how would you like to be the new art critic for "Revista Paula"? ANA Are you serious? CARMEN I wouldn't ask if you I wasn't. ANA After what you've just said about my tastes? CARMEN I assume you'll mature with the responsibility. I think the position would be good for you. ANA You mean it might settle me down. CARMEN That, too, yes. ANA Was that your primary motivation, mother? Buying the magazine to offer me a job - in order to settle me down? CARMEN It's a good investment for many reasons. ANA I'll have to think about it. (To Luisa) Help me with this. FRANCISCO You are going to destroy the magazine, which has established itself as a leader in its field. CARMEN Well, it's mine to do with as I please, isn't it? (Ana and Luisa start carrying the painting out.) GUILLERMINA Let me help. ANA Perhaps Juan would help. JUAN I have business to finish up here. (Ana glares at him but Guillermina gets there first to help. The three women start out.) CARMEN You haven't heard the salary. ANA Salary isn't the issue. We'll talk about it later, mother. In an hour, Alberto. ALBERTO We'll be there. (Ana and Luisa exit, followed by Guillermina.) [2700] CARMEN She's such a disappointment to me . . . Francisco, that's all I have to say to you. FRANCISCO Then if you will excuse me . . . EDUARDO I believe we have unfinished business. FRANCISCO You still want to duel? EDUARDO The choice of weapons is yours. FRANCISCO The weapon I choose is Wit, Eduardo. You're dead. (Eduardo makes a move to Francisco but is stopped by Alberto.) ALBERTO We'd had enough adventure here for one night. It's time for everybody to go home. EDUARDO I will not forget this, Francisco. FRANCISCO But the question is, will you learn anything from it? Goodnight, everyone. (Instead of exiting, Francisco freezes.) ALBERTO (to Carmen) Can I buy you a drink before dinner? CARMEN That would be lovely. JUAN I'll shut her down. I assume Ana is taking care of getting everything out of here. (To Alberto) Good luck with everything. ALBERTO Thank you. (Alberto and Carmen freeze.) EDUARDO Juan, I need to speak to you. JUAN I'm out of here, Eduardo. EDUARDO This is important. JUAN It will have to wait til tomorrow. Let's go home, everybody. (Juan freezes.) [Coda] EDUARDO If he had listend to me, the rest might not have happened. I had a feeling he was up to something - and that the police knew about his visits to Jorge Torres, which on an occasion when he'd had too much to drink, he'd shared with me. He bragged about it when he got reckless. He felt like he and Ana were on an important mission, telling the world the truth about the death of Violeta Parra. I had, of course, been following Guillermina everywhere - stalking is the term that's used by those who don't understand devotion. And so I followed her to the police station more than once. She worked for the police, which I thought Juan should know about, but he wouldn't hear me out. Fortunately, he was lucky. The police couldn't prove anything, and he was released and able to leave the country. After some false starts, I began a new series of paintings called "Visions of Longing: Guillermina in the Garden". It was my most successful work to date. (Francisco moves forward to speak to the audience.) FRANCISCO In the recent work of Eduardo Meza, gritty texture and wild colors flare out of the canvas like the grief-stricken soul of a lover betrayed by his beloved. These are paintings driven by frustrated desire and unrequited passion. They are the volcanic icons of emotional pain. They move us deeply. (Carmen moves forward to speak to the audience.) CARMEN I should have known that Ana would never change. After she was arrested for trying to smuggle a bootlegged tape of the last songs of Violeta Parra out of the country, I paid her bail, got her the best lawyer in Santiago, and returned to Madrid, feeling like this was all I could do for her now. I kept the same editor at "Revista Paula" and told her that all staffing decisions were hers. FRANCISCO I was offered my job back. I demanded a raise - and I got it. CARMEN I felt like I'd said my final goodbye to Ana. (Juan moves forward to speak to the audience.) JUAN The police took the tape, Ana said. They thought she had a bootlegged tape of the last songs of Violeta Parra, but this was just an excuse to arrest her. I thought the police really knew everything - that we had Jorge Torres' confession on tape. They found out soon enough - and destroyed the tape. Ana thought Eduardo had informed the police, but I didn't. She was furious that I'd told him about Jorge Torres, but I denied it. Ana didn't understand that Eduardo was really harmless - even an allie, in his way. I was shocked, of course, that Guillermina turned out to be police. I had hired her. In the end the cover-up remained in place, we had gained nothing. We took a vacation to Brazil, Ana and I, to think of our next move. We were still determined to let the world know the truth about the death of Violeta Parra. But how could we prove she was killed by the CIA with Jorge Torres dead and the tape destroyed? (Alberto moves forward to speak to the audience.) ALBERTO The house was never the same, somehow. Luisa kept seeing ghosts of the past everywhere. We stayed less than a year, rented it out again and moved across town, into the [name of district]. Another art gallery opened here, but we never came to visit. EDUARDO Suddenly I was rich. In a way, it seemed ridiculous. I was still the same painter that I was when I was poor and struggling. I liked the freedom money gave me - but what did it have to do with me? Collectors were not interested in my art as art, only in my art as an investment. Why was I suddenly a profitable commodity? Wealth made me think of something Nicantor Parra had written: "May God save us from businessmen they look only for personal profit" [Que Dios nos libre de los comerciantes solo buscan el lucro personal] FRANCISCO "may he save us from Romeo and Juliet they look only for personal pleasure" [que nos libre de Romeo y Julieta solo buscan la dicha personal] CARMEN "God save us from poets and prose writers they look only for personal freedom" [librenos de poetas y prosistas que solo buscan fama personal] JUAN "save us from the Heroes of Iquique and from the Fathers of our Country we're not looking for personal monuments" [librenos de los Heroes de Iquique librenos de los Padres de la Patria no queremos estatuas personales] ALBERTO "if the Lord still has power may he save us from all these demons and may he also save us from ourselves" [si todavia tiene poder el Senor que nos libre de todos esos demonios y que tembien nos libre de nosotros mismos] (Ana, Luisa and Guillermina enter.) [2900] ANA May God save us from businessmen GUILLERMINA from Romeo and Juliet ANA from the Heroes of Iquique and the Fathers of our country LUISA from poets and prose writers GUILLERMINA from all these demons and from ourselves ALL from all these demons and from ourselves (The cast bows.) JUAN Goodnight, everyone. I'll lock the door behind you. (The play is over: curtain call.)