Vargas Llosa, Mario. 2004. The Methuen book of contemporary Latin American plays, trans. Gwynne Edwards. London, Methuen
Scene Two: Meche
While JOSEFINO is making the toast and the Champions are drinking MECHE enters, with the slow movement and rhythm of someone who belongs to the world of memory. She is young, with a firm and shapely figure. She wears a thin, tight-fitting dress and high-heeled shoes. As she walks, she flaunts herself. LA CHUNGA watches her approach and her eyes become much more alive. But the Champions are not aware of her presence. LA CHUNGA, in contrast, is totally absorbed by this image. It is as if, for her, the present moment has dissolved. The voices of the men become fainter.
I’ll never forget your face the first time Meche came here, my lovely little Chunga. You were turned to stone.
You’re the only one in the world who knows where she is, Chunga. Come on, tell us! It doesn’t matter. Put an end to our curiosity.
Tell us what happened that night between you and her, Chunguita. Fuck me, it’s costing me my sleep.
I’ll tell you what happened.
He sings and pulls his usual funny faces.
Chunga with Meche
Meche with Chunga
Cheche with Menga
Menga with Cheche
Chu Chu Chu!
And long live Fumanchu!
Hurry up and empty your glasses. It’s closing-time.
JOSEFINO gets up unnoticed and, with a leap from the present into the past, from reality to dream, goes over to MECHE and takes her by the arm, like someone owns her.
Evening, Chunguita. This is Meche.
Pleased to meet you, señora.
The men acknowledge JOSEFINO and MECHE with a wave, but are wholly absorbed in the game of dice. LA CHUNGA’s eyes devour MECHE. She continues to hold her hand. Her voice is full of the emotion that the impact of MECHE has had on her.
So you are the famous Meche? Welcome. I thought this one would never bring you here. I really wanted to meet you.
Me too, señora. Josefino talks about you a lot. (Pointing to the table.) Them too – all the time. About you and this place. I was dying to come. (Pointing to JOSEFINO) But he wouldn’t bring me.
LA CHUNGA reluctantly releases MECHE’s hand. She makes an effort to control her feelings and seem natural.
I can’t think why. I haven’t eaten anyone yet. (To JOSEFINO.) Why wouldn’t you bring her?
I was scared you might take her from me, Chunguita. (He holds MECHE by the waist and shows her off, proud of himself.) She’s worth her weight in gold, don’t you think?
Yes. I congratulate you this time, you hen-house Don Juan. She’s worth all your other women put together.
Thank you señora.
Just call me Chunga. No need to be so formal with me.
The above sample taken from the translation La chunga by Gwynne Edwards is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 19 September 2011.