Cry of the Moon (Llanto de Luna)
COUNTRY: Puerto Rico
translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas
SYNOPSIS: CRY OF THE MOON
Llanto de Luna (Cry of the Moon) takes in the basement of an old theatre on an island in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico) just before the Spanish American War of 1898. At the age of 17, Sebastián Landrau receives two silver candelabras from Simon Bolivar. Years later, Sebastián Landrau is killed while being tortured for protecting his youngest son, Mario ``Pepe'' Landrau, who was an anti-Spanish journalist. Mario had held high hopes for the freedom of the island colonies, and had predicted the arrival of a person who would help them achieve their dream. The Guardia Civil hunts him down and, after nearly torturing him to death, they throw him into a kind of dungeon where he is found by his sister, Teresa. The play begins when Teresa takes Mario to the basement of the theatre where she's gotten a doctor to come to help him. In order to calm ``Pepe'' down the doctor gives him shot of morphine. The doctor helps him, but Pepe becomes addicted to the drug. Teresa reveals the courageous revolutionary acts carried out by Pepe's father, whom he had grown to hate so much.
Mario loses touch with reality because of the morphine, and Teresa is forced to use her body to pay the doctor for more drugs to keep her brother from his horrible pain. Teresa ends up becoming addicted to the drug also. The doctor takes advantage of the situation in order to demand he be given the prized candelabras from Simon Bolivar, Teresa's last hope. Neither the doctor nor Mario can satisfy their delusions, and as the cannons from the American ships begin bombarding the city, Teresa holds the hope that a new liberator will arrive, to whom she must deliver the treasured candelabras of freedom.
DOCTOR: The only thing I could do out of pity is to give him an injection of air in his veins! (A pause.) Who do you think I am? Do you know how I earn my living? What do you know? In this country, the first lesson for a doctor to learn is to kill so others live. (An intense pause.) Death is the best remedy. Do you want me to kill him? Just tell me. It won't even take me a minute.
TERESA: You don't know what you're saying.
DOCTOR: You could go to the middle of the Island, where nobody knows you. Your happiness could begin right now, all you have to do is decide. Don't worry about the money, death is the cheapest medicine...
TERESA: But how can you...?
DOCTOR: I can! Idiot child!... I can! Because I know the guilt and devotion that there is behind all this. I can make what you want out of life and death, I can give you complete happiness from his death. Just say yes. Or, if you prefer not to say anything, I'll understand. Come on. I'm waiting. (A pause.) It's the only thing I can do to help you. (A long silence.)
TERESA: There's a boat leaving for Maracaibo tomorrow.
DOCTOR: You don't have that kind of money.
TERESA: I'll get it.
TERESA (she doesn't know what to say. A long pause.) How much do I owe you?
DOCTOR: The usual. (He puts out his hand. TERESA takes out the handkerchief and takes some coins out. The DOCTOR takes them, grabbing her hand.) You chose life, stupid... it's the most expensive remedy. Can you pay for it? (He lets her go and leaves. TERESA is left with the handkerchief open in her hand. She throws it on the table and listens to the soft sound of the coins.)
PEPE (he turns toward her): Where did you get money?
TERESA: I sold the rugs to the businessman's wife.
PEPE: They're not worth much.
TERESA: They're valuable. Mom made them. (A pause. She walks a little.) Antonio said that each human being was responsible for his actions and that the only thing that didn't have an excuse was stupidity.
PEPE: Where is he now?
TERESA: He went back to Cadiz. As soon as he saw your articles he packed his bags and left. He said that... (She smiles.) He didn't want to risk his investments.
PEPE: Do you blame me for that, too?
TERESA: I blame you for... for not thinking about us. (She repents.) Forget it. Forget that I said that. Anyway, Antonio and I were much more than strange. It was a stupid marriage. (TERESA hums a sevillana, very softly, almost imperceptible to
PEPE. She does it while she picks up some things.) Cadiz is beautiful... Did I already tell you? (The MUSICIAN plucks out a soft tune.)PEPE (annoyed): Yes.
TERESA: Her old narrow cobblestone streets... and the ocean turning silver around six o'clock. And the air fills with salt and a warm captivating breeze... and a person wants to stay there, never return here.
PEPE: Didn't dad leave anything for me? (The MUSICIAN stops. TERESA returns.)
TERESA: Dad didn't have time to even die well. (A pause.) What did they ask you?
PEPE: About the articles.
TERESA: What about them?
PEPE: You never read them?
TERESA: Politics bores me, Pepe. (PEPE laughs.)
PEPE (illusioned): I answered that something really important would happen very soon. The time for freedom was near. I answered that a messenger was already among us and that at any moment he would speak without fear. And then from that marvelous advice... the Liberator would enter through the widest door. I had to announce the Liberator's message, it was my duty. Do you understand?
TERESA: Dad used to go out to the balcony after reading them. He would light up a cigarette which permeated the whole house with his presence. And he was like that for hours, with the newspaper clutched in his hand, trying to hold back his desire to cry.... and then nobody could talk to him until the next day.
PEPE: Father was a foolish man.
TERESA: Everything was a kids' fight, scandalous and useless.
PEPE: Why did he always lie to me? Why did he always humiliate me, making me believe I'd never amount to anything in life?
TERESA: You're not being fair with him.
PEPE: Why did he ban me and keep me away from all his things? Why did he hide the candelabras from me? (VIOLENT.) Why?
TERESA (breaking an old vow): He said that you weren't ready.