She Returned One Night (Volvió una Noche)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Argentina
translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas
CAST: 6 men, 3 women. 2 major female roles; 3 major male roles; 3 male and 1 female secondary roles; Of eighteen total scenes, three characters appear only in scenes 2 and 17 and the fourth, Sergeant Chirino, appears only in scenes 2, 5, 14, and 18.
SETTING: Manuel's house, a bar, the cemetery. Can be done on one simple set.
Manuel Stern visits his mother's grave as he usually does once a week to tell her of his life as a successful surgeon and classical musician. When he tells her he will be getting married next Thursday she literally turns over in her grave and begins to express her displeasure for having been left in the dark (so to speak) about his plans. This begins a comedic series of events in which the Jewish mother slowly finds out her son is a pedicurist, not a doctor, and a violinist in a tango band!
Fanny comes back with the intention of straightening out her son's life. She can be seen and heard only by Manuel which creates many awkward situations between Manuel and his fellow musicians, and his fiancée, Dolly. Fanny's friends from the tomb, Jeremiah, Saul and Pearl empathize with her situation. A gaucho bard, killer of Juan Moreira, also appears from the dead to aid Fanny in her quest to win back her son from the ``professional'' and very catholic, Dolly. Speaking in verse, à la the gaucho epic poem Martín Fierro, the gaucho wreaks havoc at inopportune moments and ends up in disfavor with all.
Funny exchanges, double entendres, slapstick, mistaken comments, Manuel's attempt to conceal Dolly's profession and religion, and his attempt to hide his mother's appearance from everyone, provide ample material for a very funny play. There are poignant moments as well such as when his mother comes to realize that Manuel is truly in love with Dolly and wants to marry her, adopt her son and have a child. The domineering mother becomes very reasonable and arranges to meet her son once a month to hear all the news of his new life with Dolly.
Eduardo Rovner has created a play which transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries. The universality of the theme can be appreciated and enjoyed by all audiences. After reading the complete script you will see why this play won the 1991 Casa de la Américas Award for best play.