Out of the Wings

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Amaos los unos sobre los otros (c.1967), Jorge Díaz

Love Yourselves Above All Others (1973), translated by Julio Matas, Francesca Colecchia



Díaz, Jorge. 1973. Love Yourselves Above All Others. In Selected Latin American One-Act Plays, eds. and trans. Francesca Colecchia and Julio Matas, pp. 177–204. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press

The Lady has appeared onstage and is entreating the 'workers' to perform a 'protest'.
Sample text

THE LADY:  (Entreatingly, always, from her seat in the audience.)  Please, protest! … Please, protest! … Protest! …

GENTLEMAN:  (Flattered.)  And now, at the request of the fervent public that is listening to me, I’m going to interrupt the definition without an ideological position – it was a question of correcting something but I don’t remember what – in order to interpret the modern and witty protest song they have applauded me for at other times.  (To the audience.)   When I say, ‘Boo-ooo,’ all protest with me.  (The gentleman sings.)

How little words mean,
if when the wind blows
it carries them off after it
and only memories remain,
promises that flew away
and cannot return.
Always live with illusion
for each day has a different colour.
Everything comes to its end.
After a sad day
another happy one is born.
Searching in the trunk of memories,
any past time
seems better to us.
To glance backwards is good sometimes,
To look ahead
is to live without fear.

(The LADY applauds enthusiastically.)

THE LADY:  He terrifies!  He really terrifies!  What courage!  He doesn’t mince words!

GENTLEMAN:  My lifelong motto has been To Call a Spade a Spade. … (To the valet.)  Plácido, give me a whiskey!

(The valet gives him a whiskey.)

THE LADY:  How he speaks!  How well he speaks!  Since I can’t remember when, no one has asked for a whiskey that way … Really, it’s a wonder how he manages, isn’t it? (This last remark is addressed to some person in the audience.)

GENTLEMAN:  (Taking a little red book out of his pocket.)  It’s very simple.  On assuming office one consults this little book, and that’s all!

THE LADY:  (In a low voice.)  Is it the red book of Mao?

GENTLEMAN: No, it’s the Manual of the Terminology of Development.  (He opens it anywhere.)  If one as head of government finds that the country is on its last legs, he should say, ‘a realistic focus is imposed on the economic structures … ‘  If one hasn’t even the least idea of what can be done, he should say, ‘The means will be brought together for the gradual introduction of more suitable measures … ‘ If one believes that it’s desperately necessary to get dollars, he should say, ‘We cannot obsess ourselves with an isolationist position nor maintain ourselves aloof from the world economic reality … ‘

THE LADY:  Don’t continue, don’t continue! … It’s terrible to keep on using tear gas when terminology has advanced so! … (THE LADY stands up.) I think that I’ll go now to reflect on all this at the Benefit Bridge Party in Favor of and Against the Disadvantaged.

GENTLEMAN:  (Gallantly and points to his mount.) If you want me to take you on Plácido …

(THE LADY goes to where the GENTLEMAN is and possibly goes up onto the stage.)

THE LADY:  Thank you, but I left mine parked in the corridor.

(THE LADY snaps her fingers.  Immediately EPIFANIO, who is another poor wretch, appears on all fours.)

GENTLEMAN:  Each day it’s more difficult to park them.  Of course, the fact is that there are so many!

THE LADY:  Too many.  (THE LADY sits on EPIFANIO.)  In fact, these people aren’t perfect.  They don’t have a back that supports you.

PLÁCIDO:  Upon my word!

GENTLEMAN:  This is what happens to me for being good and taking off his muzzle.

THE LADY:  Ah!  Yours talks.

GENTLEMAN:  I taught him.

THE LADY:  Admirable.

GENTLEMAN:  And I taught him to protest also, but politely.  That’s why he’s so proper.

LADY:  (A little coquettishly.)  Could you tell him to protest for me?

GENTLEMAN:  I’ll try.  I generally kick him on the flanks.  (He kicks him.) Plácido, protest for the lady … Come now, for she’s listening to you.

PLÁCIDO:  Heavens! … Holy mackerel!  Damn it!  Shit!  … Hell!

GENTLEMAN:  (Severely.)  Plácido!

PLÁCIDO:  Pardon.

GENTLEMAN:  (To THE LADY.)  Now you see, there’s no problem.  Communication between the classes is harmonious and coincident with their aspirations.


Love Yourselves Above All Others by Francesca Collechia, Julio Matas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 9 August 2011.

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