)Encounter in the Dangerous Park (Encuentro en el parque peligroso)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Venezuela
translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas
CAST: 1 male, 1 female
SCENIC REQUIREMENTS: A park with what at one time was a merry-go-round.
GENRE: One act drama (1 hour 25 minutes)
Ana has entered the park to read and is approached by Peter, a man with peculiar speech patterns, who initiates a discussion about the dangers of being in the park alone at night. Ana insists she has the right to read and be left alone. Peter implies that all kinds of things can happen to her and enumerates them to her displeasure. As the discussion continues we learn that apparently both Ana and Peter used to come to the park and play on the merry-go-round. Peter had been on the road to a successful career, but became a hopeless alcoholic who could not function in society. ``Doc Ximandro'' made him overcome his fear by placing him in the same room with a Bengal tiger and taking him around to hospitals. For Peter the experience shattered his innocence by showing him the truth about the medical profession and caused his great loathing of doctors because ``ideals, piety, love and solidarity between human beings has been transformed into goods for the Pleasure Industry.'' Peter continues to recount some bizarre experiences which his particular medical condition has caused. Ana and Peter both express their inability to function in society and their extreme concern about the sad state of the ecology of the planet. Ana confesses she is an ``euthanistic agent'' which Peter misunderstands. He threatens to rape her but Ana tricks him into laying down his gun. She turns the tables on him and reveals how impotent he really is without control of the weapon. After Peter reveals that he didn't feed the Bengal tiger for several days while Doc Ximandro was on vacation which achieved the desired results upon the Doc's return, Ana confesses that she is practices euthanasia as a profession. She began by helping out her cousin who was suffering from Alzheimer's. After a while she was being sought after by professionals from the hospital and family members to aid others in their deaths. Ana reveals she has helped 130 people die. She even helped a couple in their fifties who were in love and chose to die ``when Happiness surrounded them.'' Ana has decided that her work is done and that her work should be passed on to a new ``agent.'' Peter helps her fulfill her wish.
The theme of the play is as much ecology as it is euthanasia. The park is not so much dangerous as it is endangered. Pedro represents the danger in human terms, and Ana, the endangered aspect. Both oppose society which ruins the ideals and dreams remembered from childhood. Ana succumbs. Peter takes up the hypodermic weapon against the deadening effects of civilization. When the squirrels and pine trees are lost to ``development'' and the wooden horses of the merry-go-round have rotted away, people are the ultimate victims of progress. People perish or lose their sanity; Peter is at least cured of his madness by his discovery of a mission to end other missions; it is a dead end victory, but all that is left of his youthful dreams of having a useful function in society.