MAGDALENA: A short play by Luis Lopez-Maldonado

 

 

 

 

MAGDALENA

An American Play: Inspired By True Events

 By: Luis Lopez-Maldonado

 

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MAIN CHARACTERS (Actors)


MAGDALENA
– late 30s

 

LICHO – early 30s, Magdalena’s brother

 

JUAN-LUPE – mid 40s, Magdalena’s uncle

 

Supporting Characters (Mannequins)

 

MARÍA DE PILAR – mid 50s, Magdalena’s mother

DAVID – late 50s, Magdalena’s father

PORFIRIO – late 70s, Magdalena’s grandfather

ALICIA – late 60s, Magdalena’s grandmother

YANCIL – early 30s, Magdalena’s little sister

ROBERTO – late 30s, Magdalena’s older brother

XÓCHITL – mid 30s, Magdalena’s friend

OSVALDO – early 30s, Licho’s friend/fiancé

 

 

Minor Characters (Mannequins)

 

PABLO, HECTOR, SIMON, RODRIGO, TOMAS, JORGE, SANTIAGO, JAVIER, JULIAN, FERNANDO, JACOB, DANIEL, SARA, SILVIA, ISABEL, DANIELA, JANET, MIKAELA, PENELOPE, BEATRICE, ESTEPHANIA, LISA, EMMY, ANGELA

 

 

Recorded (Sound)

 

SOUND #1 (Children running and playing)

SOUND #2 (Magdalena’s monologue)

SPEAKER #1 (Man)

SPEAKER #2 (Woman)

SPEAKER #3 (Child)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SETTING

 

Christmas Party: December 24, 2015,

Location: Unknown|Irrelevant  

 

This type of gathering happens once a year. And tonight only Magdalena’s mothers’ family attends the party, including her twelve brothers and sisters, and their families; it’s a big ‘ole Mexican Noche Buena gathering!

 

 

 

NOTE: WHAT’S GOING ON?

 

There are police shootings happening across the country, protests on university campuses are uprising, and presidential candidates are campaigning across the country! Racism is alive!! Families are being destroyed and deported!!! Same sex marriage becomes a right in the United States of America!!!!! Athletes are training for the Olympics in 2016 to be held at Rio, Brazil!!!!!

 

 

   

This play takes place in the span of one evening, it unfolds on stage without any of the three actors ever leaving the stage itself; the upstage will be dimly lit, while all lighting cues happen centerstage and downstage. Mannequins will represent all supporting, and minor characters (in shades of brown), and should all be placed upstage; they must wear white t-shirts with their names in black lettering. The main characters must wear the same color (white), and undergarments for Magdalena must be red; shoes can be of the actors’ choice.  

 

Magdalena is the contemporary and tragic story of a Mexican-American family from California. Years of hidden history and forbidden secrets are unwrapped like gifts in the most important night of the year: Noche Buena. You will witness a family fall apart. In a beautiful hybridity of theatre, poetry, and dance, this full-length play will bring you joy, but most uncomfortably, it will uncover the multi-facets of violence, and the beauty of melodrama.”

– Luis Lopez-Maldonado

 

 

 

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Act I, scene i

 

(SPOTLIGHT RISES ON LICHO AS HE SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE STAGE. HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND LOOKS UP TO THE CEILING. HE TAKES OUT A CIGARETTE PACK AND A LIGHTER, LIGHTS A SINGLE CIGARETTE, AND TAKES A PUFF. HE DIRECTS THE AUDIENCE)

 

LICHO

(breathing out smoke) This play, is an honest play: porque truth will always prevail. (nodding) Siempre. (smoke and exhale) Buenas noches tengan todos ustedes. It is Christmas Eve and like usual, my whole family is gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at midnight. But to be honest, it’s more like, (take deep breath) “The night where we just gather to eat a lot of fucking food, gossip about other people, presumir la ropa nueva que compramos, and when we open all the gifts, and then eat again right after that.” (breathe out) And there you have it. (breathing heavily)  

 

(LICHO GETS UP AND TAKES ONE LAST PUFF FROM THE CIGARETTE AND THROWS IT TO THE FLOOR, PUTTING IT OUT WITH HIS SHOE. THE CIGARETTE BUTT STAYS THERE FOR THE ENTIREITY OF THE SHOW; LIGHTS RISE ON UPSTAGE MANNEGUINS)

 

LICHO

In front of you tonight you will experience something unknown, something raw, and holy, something from a telenovela. You will feel love. You will know hate. You will see hypocrites getting their way. You will uncover haunting secrets and witness the power of forgiveness. (pause) A family will fall apart tonight. And I can’t wait for a maldición to flood our homes, bruise our names, and puncture our hearts. Because my family deserves it: This family, (point upstage with thumb over right shoulder) like yours, is very real. My quieridos! Put your trust in me, and I will invite you into our Noche Buena, in the year 2015. (pause; and then raising voice, continue speaking) Lend me your ears! Give me your hearts!! I am your guy! I am your confidant! (soften voice) Tonight, I will be the driver: So buckle-up because Jesús is almost here; yes I just said that with a Spanish accent. (sarcastically) And no, Jesus is not white, nor black. But brown. And immigrant.

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(SPOTLIGHT FADES ON LICHO)

 

  

Act I, scene ii

 

(DIM LIGHTS RISE DOWNSTAGE. THE WHITE FABRIC/SCRIM UPSTAGE DISPLAYS A PHOTOGRAPH OF A CHRISTMAS TREE (PHOTOGRAPH PROVIDED BY PLAYWRIGHT). CHILDREN ARE HEARD PLAYING AND LAUGHING IN THE DISTANCE; SOUND #1)

 

(LICHO STANDS DOWNSTAGE-CENTER, TRACES THE VEINS ON HIS HANDS. MAGDALENA SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE STAGE, STRAIGHTENS UP AND SMILES. JUAN-LUPE ENTERS DOWNSTAGE-LEFT, CHECKS HIS BREATH WITH HIS HAND. BLUE SPOTLIGHT RISES OVER THE ACTOR WHEN SPEAKING)

 

LICHO

(Responding as if answering a question; talking to grandfather) Novia? Cual novia? (laughing) Yo no tengo novia, abuelito. Nadie me quiere! Soy muy malo y siempre estoy en la escuela. Aver, digamé quien quiere esperar todo el dia en la casa en lo que you hago mis cosas?

 

MAGDALENA

(Responding as if answering a question; talking to friend) Yes, it’s official. We signed papers last week; I feel weird. Thirteen years with someone is no little task, I mean, and the fact that we didn’t have children. I’m tired of hearing people talk about me. (pause) I don’t like people feeling sorry for me.

 

LICHO

Yo nunca me voy a casar abuelito. Aye que se casen todos estos cabrones. Tiene muchos nietos, usted!

 

JUAN-LUPE

(Responding as if answering a question; talking to God) I’m sorry, before I answer that, can you maybe tell me why I got a heart attack on my daughter’s quinceañera? And why I can’t get that promotion at work, if I’m the best they have? 

 

 

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LICHO

Aye abuelito, por eso tiene que poner se bien, para que me mire a mis hijos. Si no tengo yo, pues adopto.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Yes. I remember that. I was twelve. I lied to my mom that day and sneaked out when she was making dinner. (pause) He was my friend, and yes we did things kids do, never got caught, but I felt good around him. He always told me we

were playing a game; I always got a piece of gum, or if I was lucky, he would bring me those little Bimbo white-powdered donuts.

 

MAGDALENA

I’ve seen my doctor every month this year! We keep reviewing exams and tests and then she recommends I do another, and we just keep going. I really want to have faith that I can have kids, but right now, things aren’t looking to good for me.

 

JUAN-LUPE

It was normal I guess; I never thought about it that way. No one would have believed me, anyways. He was the town’s priest! Who is going to believe a little kid, over God? (sarcastically, direct the ceiling) You should know that; you’re GOD!

 

LICHO

Si todavia estoy en la escuela, pero ya mero salgo. Ya me canse, de puro estudiar y que nesesito una carerra, y que escuelas buenas, y que esto y lo otro; mucha chinga abuelito.

 

(BLUE SPOTLIGHTS RISE ON ALL ACTORS. BEGIN TO SPEAK FASTER AND SIMULTANEOUSLY)

 

LICHO

No no no; mire, ya es muy diferente ahorita. Las escuelas son muy dinereras, muy politicas, muy descaradas.

 

MAGDALENA

I have thought about adopting. I’ve thought about becoming a lesbian! I’m just tired, I keep asking God for guidance, for patience, for clarity, but it seems he has forgotten

 

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me; all my life. (pause) Or why would I have to go through everything I’ve been? Why me?

 

JUAN-LUPE

Yes, I remember that too. She did help me out, but she’s my sister, isn’t that what we are supposed to do for family? I’m smart. I got to go to college, and I deserved to go, so yes, I accepted their financial help, and didn’t think once, not once, what I did to her daughter. If you already know this, why are you asking me? Why can’t you just

forgive me? (sarcastically) I believe in you. Isn’t that all I need for forgiveness?

 

LICHO

No tengo novia. No quiero novia. Pues, para que pues, verdad? (laughing) Ahorita ya no se usa eso. La gente se junta y ya. La soledad es bella. Y ni tengo tiempo para tener a nadie, con tanto trabajo y con todo lo que pasa en la vida. Si supo que ayer mataron a alguien por anca mi Tío Pablo? Que feo. Lo que hace la droga, verdad? Todos drogaditos allí, y se les suben hasta arriba, y allí andan con pistolas matandose.

 

MAGDALENA

Yeah, it’s been many years. The last psychologist I saw told me that I needed closure, that I needed peace, that my past might be affecting my present, with intimacy and with my pregnancy problem. So I don’t know… (pause) The fear never leaves you. The anger never leaves you. The disgust never leaves you.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I’ve done a lot of things I am sorry about; that’s what life is about: mistakes and lessons. And that was a very long time ago. She can’t do anything to me now, can she? I do think about it a lot. I think of why I did it? I think of why he did it? I was a fucking child, and I know she was too, but it’s different. Man and woman is natural; two men is not, it’s sick, it’s insane; (pause) That fucking pervert rapist. And he was your servant, your communicator, the person you told every family to praise and trust; and yes, that’s why there was no priest or no church or nothing like that at my daughter’s quinceañera. Just in case you ask that next. 

 

(SPOTLIGHTS FADE ON ALL ACTORS)

 

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Act I, scene iii

 

(IMAGE CHANGES ON WHITE FABRIC/SCRIM, DISPLAYED NOW ARE PHOTOGRAPHS OF PAST FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTIES; PROVIDED BY PLAYWRIGHT. THEY RUN AS A SLIDESHOW FOR ALL OF SCENE III.)

 

(LIGHTS RISE DOWNSTAGE. DRINKS ARE LOWERED FROM CEILING, ACTORS ENTER CENTERSTAGE-RIGHT TO GRAB FLOATING DRINKS AND WALK DOWNSTAGE; MARTINI GLASS FOR LICHO, WHISKEY GLASS FOR MAGDALENA, BEER BOTTLE FOR JUAN-LUPE. ACTORS SPLIT DOWNSTAGE EVENLY AND DIRECT THE AUDIENCE.)

 

 LICHO

(Sip the drink slowly and dramatically) I know what you’re thinking. Ah, look at those photographs, how nice is this family, comparing to mine! Oh, that’s nice. Oh, they still eat together, and celebrate la noche buena. Look at those old pictures! (pause) Boo, let me catch u up tonight: here is the 411…

 

MAGDALENA

(Stir the drink, smell it, and then take a sip) My dad came over here illegally with his dad when he was only thirteen! Off to the fields they went, picking strawberries, oranges, potatoes, anything they could find; they would then send the money to my grandmother back in Mexico, to feed a family of twelve and counting. I know, that is a lot of kids. My mother dropped out of kindergarten, kindergarten! To take care of her brothers and sisters and help my abuelita Alicia cook and clean. (pause) It’s a lot to take in. (sipping on drink) 

 

JUAN-LUPE

(Take your beer and drink, slowly lifting the bottle up into the air so audience can see beer/liquid. Finish the beer and burp loudly) Most of my brothers and sisters came to California in the 60’s and 70’s, swimming across bodies of water, running through the desert, walking through Tijuana, Mexico… and my favorite story, in the trunk of a white lady’s Mercedes. Because, who the hell would stop a

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white woman in a Mercedes right? But the price was right, and years later, all my aunts and uncles were here too. Every single cousin I have, was born in California; Sixty-two and counting. I know, I know, that’s a lot of family! (laughing) I can’t even remember names, sometimes. But I love that we are such a large family.

 

LICHO

And this is just from my mother’s side! (laughing) Anyways, fast-forward…

 

(STROBE LIGHTS GO FOR 3 SECONDS)

 

LICHO

…and here we are: the night before Christmas; both of my parents are sick, and my grandparents almost dead. (direct the audience, maybe one or two guests) Do you know how that feels?

 

(ALL LIGHTS FADE)

 

 

 

 

Act II, scene i

 

(SPOTLIGHT RISES ON LICHO; DIM LIGHTS RISE UPSTAGE ON MANNEQUINS FOR THE FIRST TIME)

 

LICHO

(direct audience) You know, I always had a feeling about him. Like how he looked at me, with his crooked smile, when I was growing up. And maybe that was the time when I should have known I was gay and was attracted to him; who knows. But looking back at his looks, (dramatically) now, I can say that it was a “I want to suck your dick” look, a “pull your pants down” look. I know those looks way too well. (look at male in audience and point at him, smiling) Am I right? (laughing) (direct audience) But that’s why when my older cousins told me about what he did in Mexico one year, I did not doubt it one bit. I had fantasies about it,

actually. They said he was at a gathering, people were drinking and such, and he grabbed a friend’s bulge underneath the table. And then he sucked him off in a dark

corner that night.

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(SPOTLIGHT RISES ON JUAN-LUPE)

 

LICHO

Ding! Ding! Ding! Yup, us gays will do that, typical, totally normal. (laughing) So I always believed it. And still he has always been the “good” son, my abuelita’s

baby. Oh don’t talk shit about him, because she will come after you and defend her son. My mother too. Another pendeja! She basically put him through college, made him what he is today: free tuition, free rent, and I’m almost certain, free fucking car too; how could he afford it? Lucky bastard. You know, now that I’m thirty, he isn’t that smart. I mean, I’ve already surpassed his degree. But I’m gay. I’m single. So, I guess it really doesn’t really count in this family. Since he was one of the lucky ones to finish school in Mexico, he came here with drive, married to get his citizenship, divorced, then pursued his career. Take a guess. C’mon… Yup, a fucking psychologist.

 

(SPOTLIGHT FADES ON JUAN-LUPE)

 

LICHO

Ha! O! The irony of it all…

 

(SPOTLIGHT FADES ON LICHO. RED SPOTLIGHT RISES ON MAGDALENA)

 

MAGDALENA

Yup, tha’s Licho for you, my baby brother. Licho is an Aries. And if you’re familiar with horoscopes, I could stop there, and you’d have a pretty good idea how he is. So, where to begin…

 

(SPOTLIGHT RISES ON LICHO)

 

MAGDALENA

Licho was born red. Literally. His birth was overdue and my mom freaked out when the doctor took him out. Sesaria. He was covered in blood. He had blood-stained cheeks. A blood tongue. Blood-shot red eyes. And they say he didn’t even cry; so the story goes. His doctor spanked him so hard he puked blood. O! And he was never breast-fed. (look over to Licho) Maybe that explains a lot (smiling). (direct the audience) Why he always ran like a girl. Why he was forced to play soccer. Forced to do karate. Forced to cut his hair

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short, and keep it that way. Or why in sixth grade he tried to kill his teacher. Yes, you heard that right. Licho always wanted to be popular, so he was always doing things

to get noticed, both good and bad. This was a bad one. He paired with another girl to spit in his teacher’s coffee, pour chalk dust and drop a couple of pushpins. The outcome: he found out early on in life that he had no friends, and

that his haterz club had officially been founded. They ratted Licho out that day, suspended him for the rest of the year, and he was not allowed to walk at graduation. They did not press charges though. Fast forward…  

 

(STROBE LIGHTS GO FOR 3 SECONDS)

 

MAGDALENA

…and he explodes at eighteen. He does not go away for college. But instead works random jobs, going out every weekend, drinking, smoking, having random sex with strangers. Lots of random sex. Sex five or six times a week. (pause) He always trusted me, told me stuff. And in my mind, he was getting back at everyone who bullied him as a kid. This was a way to cut loose and take control over his life, and do whatever he wanted to do; I supported him.

 

(LICHO JOINS MAGDALENA’S MONOLOGUE)

 

LICHO/MAGDALENA

He is a handsome man. A queer brown, educated man. His eyes are black moons. The strong jaw of his Aztec people. The hair of kings and queens. He speaks in languages unintelligible to the white man. His fingers drown with diamonds and emeralds and sapphires and rubies and turquoise. His smooth arms and legs are Mozart concertos. Listen! He sings of dead butterflies and crooked teeth, he cries condensed milk, he spits hot sauce. His shadow casts tenderness, multiplying into infinite feathers for eyelashes, ten thousand pink horses screaming an Ave Maria.

 

(SPOTLIGHTS FADE ON LICHO AND MAGDALENA. SPOTLIGHT RISES ON JUAN-LUPE)

 

JUAN-LUPE

I guess I’ll introduce myself: (clear throat) I’m Juan-Lupe and I’m 41. I have a master’s degree in Psychology. I’m married with two beautiful daughters; I enjoy soccer,

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running, and visiting the town I grew up in. I miss those times, when everything was simpler, more grounded, more adventurous. (cross arms in front of chest)

 

(SPOTLIGHT FADES ON JUAN-LUPE. SPOTLIGHT RISEES ON LICHO)

 

LICHO

And that’s Magdalena.

 

(RED SPOTLIGHT RISES ON MAGDALENA)

 

LICHO

My older sister, and good friend. I mean, takes care of me when I get fucked-up, throwing up in the car on the way home from the bars, kinda friend. (laughing) It’s not funny, I shouldn’t laugh. (smiling, look over to Magdalena) She is fabulous though. (direct the audience) If I were a woman, which I don’t think I want to be, I would want to be her. I know, I know what you’re thinking: But why not your mother! Right? Well, because I would never want to be that blind and sad. You see, my sister is the opposite. She is a fucking lion. More lives than a cat. Mas huevos que su pinche ex-marido. Oh yes, that is true. That fucker didn’t know how to treat a woman, or should we say, he didn’t know how to please her. In ten years! Thank God I’M gay! (laughing) I would have killed him. (pause) She was a funny girl growing up. I remember she used to always smile, always eat, oh my gosh! Fuck, she can eat. At the dinner table, she used to look over at my other sister’s plate, smile, and just go right in, stealing her food before she was done. (laughing) And of course, my sister just sat there. (laughing) Pendeja! O! She also used to “dress down” in high school, but what my mother and father never figured out, is that Magda was taking extra clothes in her backpack, and changing at school! She was a “bad-ass chola.” (laughing) She tried doing the dark lip liner, the Aqua Net hairspray, the gold necklaces, the scrunchies. You name it, she was doing it! Even beating boys up! (laughing) No one messed with her friends or family; Don’t try messing with her. (open arms to audience) Seriously though, I’m being honest (smiling). That’s why no one ever did. Fast forward…

 

(STROBE LIGHTS GO FOR 3 SECONDS)

 

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LICHO

Even now, we are best of friends and you can say, I have been the one to give her life when she was already dead. Because something died when she was young…

 

(BLACKOUT)

 

 

 

 

Act II, scene ii

 

(DIM LIGHTS RISE UPSTAGE ON MANNEGUINS. LICHO, MAGDALENA, AND JUAN-LUPE GO INTO A SLOW DANCE IMPROVISATION, STAYING IN THEIR DESIGNATED AREAS, DOWNSTAGE LEFT, CENTER, AND RIGHT. SOUND COMES IN)

 

SPEAKER #1

Yeah, it’s like whatever. Girls always want it, they wear their short dresses, and their tits are always out there! We were all having a few drinks, we’re just all having fun; she’s my girlfriend; that’s not rape. It’s not rape if you want it, if you like it, if we have already done it before. I mean, come-on! Girls always bring this shit up like way after; why not say something the next day or the next week or something? It’s because they are always lying. There’s a lot of dumb bitches out there: hoes, is what they are.

 

(LIGHTS RISE DOWNSTAGE. LICHO, MAGDALENA, AND JUAN-LUPE CONTINUE THEIR IMPROVISATION PHRASES; ACTORS MAY REACT TO WHAT THEY HEAR FROM SOUND)

 

SPEAKER #2

I remember his buddy holding me down. I said no. I tried to kick him off. I didn’t want to have sex; I needed comfort. I needed my boyfriend. (pause) No means no. Unconsciousness means no. Why would we lie about something like this? Just because you think we might want it, or might have asked for it, does not give you the right to act on it; you are a rapist. Rape is sexual assault or penetration against a person without their consent. Do you need me to spell consent?

 

(LIGHTS RISE ON THE AUDIENCE)

 

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SPEAKER #3

Rape is bad. I know we are not supposed to touch someone else without first asking; I always ask for hugs. But my teacher said rape can happen to anyone. One in four women have experienced sexual violence or rape. One in nine men

have experienced it too. Seven in ten rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. As you walk out of this theatre performance, one hundred and eighty people will have been sexually assaulted or raped. Do you see how rape is bad?

 

(LIGHTS FADE ON AUDIENCE)

 

 

 

 

Act III, scene i

 

(DOWNSTAGE LIGHTS SLOWLY FADE. LICHO, MAGDALENA, AND JUAN-LUPE BEGIN ENDING THEIR IMPROVISATION PHRASES; THEY END SITTING ON STOOLS CENTERSTAGE, MAGDALENA IS CENTER. SPOTLIGHTS RISE ON LICHO, MAGDALENA, AND JUAN-LUPE)

 

MAGDALENA

Everything is just crap right now. I thought that the divorce would help. But I don’t feel any better about myself. And now with a new job, it’s like it was a bad thing that I’m trying to get myself back up from falling. I just don’t get it.

 

(LIGHTS RISE ON WHITE FABRIC/SCRIM. AN IMAGE OF A PILE OF CHRISTMAS GIFTS IS DISPLAYED)

 

LICHO

It’s almost Christmas, and as you can see (spreading arms), our family had a good year. Look at all these gifts! Ridiculous, right? (pause) But we are blessed.

 

MAGDALENA

All my life all I wanted was to feel accepted, want to be accepted. You see, I tried to kill myself many times before, but God kept me here, alive, suffering, screaming, he kept me taking more, and more, and more. At thirty-six I barely feel like I am starting to live, starting to breathe normally, starting to get to know the way a tender hand

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feels on my cheek, the way a warm hug puts me to sleep, you see: I was raped when I was six. And seven. Eight. It didn’t stop until I was ten years old. Think about that. I became a woman, doll in hand, when I couldn’t even spell molestation, aggravation, fornication. 

 

(MAGDALENA BEGINS TO UNDRESS HERSELF, FIRST HER BLOUSE, THEN HER SKIRT, HER SHOES, HER ACCESSORIES; THIS IS DONE SLOWLY. SHE CONTINUES SPEAKING)

 

MAGDALENA

He would “babysit” us when mom and dad weren’t home. He would enter my room, and I knew, what had to happen. Me amenazaba! Would tell me I had to stay quiet, or he would tell my mom and dad. He told me many times he would hurt my little brother and sister, that if I told on him, he would kill me. I was six. I was scared. So I did as he instructed me to do. (pause) He would make me touch it with my fingers first, and then he would force me to kiss it, lick the tip of his head and he showed me how to pull his extra skin down. I still see his smile in my nightmares. His horny grin. His heartless stare.

 

LICHO

Merry Christmas! 12:00am: Jesus has been born. Year after year we celebrate it on a night like tonight, (pause) but not really. At our gatherings it’s always been about family, homemade food, and about who spent more money on gifts. Who got the new iPhone. Who got that new Gameboy for little Isaiah. (pause) Hypocrites. All of us.

 

(A GIFT SUSPENDS FROM CEILING ABOVE JUAN-LUPE. HE REACHES FOR IT, UNWRAPS IT, PULLS OUT A LITTLE GIRLS’ UNDERWEAR STAINED WITH BLOOD. GIFT-BOX RISES BACK UP TO CEILING. JUAN-LUPE HOLDS UNDERWEAR ON LAP)

 

MAGDALENA

That motherfucker, niece-raping, fake ass puto college graduate punk. That’s my uncle. My mother’s baby-fucking-brother. (pause) I hope he dies. (look at Juan-Lupe) I hope his death is a terrible one, slow as fuck, pain pain, pain. (direct the audience) I’m a nice person, don’t get the wrong idea… but when someone does what he did to me… you would be thinking and wishing the same thing. He took my

 

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childhood away! I’ll never get it back. (pause) Do you know why my marriage failed? Huh, do you?

 

(MAGDALENA’S VOICE COMES OVER THE SPEAKERS IN A PRE-RECORDED MONOLOGUE. SHE GETS UP AND WALKS OVER TO JUAN-LUPE. SHE SLAPS HIM ACROSS THE FACE. THEN SHE SITS BACK

DOWN; SHE REPEATS THIS FOR THE ENTIRE PRE-RECORDING, SLAPPING JUAN-LUPE HARDER EVERY TIME)

 

SOUND #2

A flower is no longer a flower when it has been de-pedaled, when it has been left to dry, when it has been told it is not pretty enough to continue blooming. (pause) A woman does not become a woman when a man says so… when a man penetrates her temple and inserts his dirty self inside. A man is no man at all, if he does this. Brown skin. Tight and afraid. A little girl… (pause) Rape is a bicycle with two flat tires. Rape is a decapitated honey-bee. Rape is Hurricane Katrina. Rape is slavery. Rape is a half-eaten bag of chips. It is going to bed hungry. It is getting a failing grade in your research paper. It is getting your wallet stolen at Disneyland. It is getting stale chocolates for Christmas. It is finding a hair in your burger. It is staying in traffic for two hours in ninety degree weather. Rape is more than cock in pussy. Rape is more than a slap on the face and a threat. Rape is more than purple bruises on your arms and ribs and legs. (pause) When he went inside of me, every time he went inside of me… I prayed for two things: that no one would see us, and for it to be over before I counted to one hundred. (pause) It never was…

 

(WHITE SPOTLIGHT ON MAGDALENA FADES TO A RED SPOTLIGHT)

 

LICHO

But tonight belongs to more than just Jesus. It belongs to justice. It belongs to unwrapping family trauma. It belongs to the victims everywhere, as they get up for the last time, and say goodbye to the act of falling. And my family doesn’t fully understand, doesn’t fully believe, doesn’t know what to do or say; it’s Christmas.  

 

JUAN-LUPE

I was always thinking about sex. Even when I was just a little boy, man did I love to spy on my friends when they changed after swimming in the lake, or when I pretended not

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to see al Padre Ruben when he changed into his robe, the mornings before church; You know, now that I think about it… I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew I was watching him, and that’s why he purposely kept readjusting his crotch and underwear. (pause) But I also liked girls. I really liked girls.

 

(JUAN-LUPE TAKES THE UNDERWEAR IN HIS HAND, LOOKS AROUND, AND PUTS IT AGAINST HIS FACE. HE TAKES A DEEP SNIFF. HE THEN BEGINS TO DIRECT THE AUDIENCE, SLOWLY TAKING THE UNDERWEAR AND PUTTING IT ON)

 

JUAN-LUPE

This was a long time ago. I was young. I was horny. And you know, boys will be boys. I wore condoms. And I know she was my niece, but you know, I was careful. (pause) I was angry and scared and lonely and desperate and going through some shit. And I guess this was the way to bring myself back up… I’m sorry! (worried) Rape is something taken more seriously now, and I would never do something like that now. I’m married. I have two daughters. (pause) Look, time passed and we all moved on. Magdalena knows that too. Why did she wait until tonight to bring this up. Maybe she made it up and this is just all a misunderstanding. I mean, I can go with that. And I can’t deal with this shit right now. I have a career, I have a good job, I have a reputation to uphold with my colleagues and with this family.

 

MAGDALENA

(scared) I would silently scream! But God never heard me. (pause) No! Stop! Stop it!! (pause) He hurt me. Over and

over and over and over, again. But I never told anyone. I didn’t want to get in trouble. I didn’t want him to touch my little brother and sister. I shut my mouth and listened

to him say I was ugly, say that I was supposed to make him happy and listen to him, say that I like his thing and I had to let him stick it in me. (pause) I was a child. I didn’t know what to do… but rape is rape, and no means no, and now is my time to shed light in times of darkness, now I will learn how to fly once more, and though I will never get my childhood innocence back, I will take my dignity and my womanness back from that monster. (look up) God as my witness… I will have my justice…

 

 

15

 

LICHO

(directing Magdalena) We are not a family anymore. Because family does not hurt family.

 

MAGDALENA

(directing Licho) I had never seen blood come out of my vagina, like strawberry syrup, like a wounded kitty…

 

LICHO

(directing Magdalena) Family loves family. Family lifts family.

 

MAGDALENA

(directing Licho) It dripped down my young shivering legs, down to my white socks.

 

LICHO

(directing Magdalena) Everyone will go their separate ways and we will move forward.

 

MAGDALENA

(directing Licho) I had to keep throwing them away. And God, he never really listened.

 

LICHO

(directing Magdalena) This was the worst Christmas we have ever experienced: and I wish it would have happened ten-thousand years ago.

 

MAGDALENA

(directing Licho) I remember my mother yelling at me for that; my socks were disappearing and I kept telling her I had left them at Mireya’s house or something like that. But I was being punished too. By my parents. For something I didn’t do, for something that, (point at Juan-Lupe) he did.

 

(LIGHTS RISE DOWNSTAGE. MAGDALENA GETS UP FROM STOOL AND WALKS DOWNSTAGE CENTER)

 

MAGDALENA

No one knew. I never told anyone because I was scared, because he kept threatening me… he made me feel I was doing the right thing… he made me feel inferior… he made me feel nasty… he made me feel that it was my fault, that I enjoyed

 

16

 

sucking his cock, tickling his balls, opening my legs and closing my eyes…

 

JUAN-LUPE

I wish I hadn’t done what I did. That was not the man I am today, and would ever be, again. I mean, I’m in love with David, but we are grown men and we can make decisions and take the consequences from those choices… But I am not that man anymore… I would never touch a woman, or little girl, the way I did when I was younger…

 

MAGDALENA

When I got married, my husband’s cock reminded me of my uncle. The same dark, curly pubes. The uncut piece of meat, enlarging before my eyes. (pause) I never enjoyed laying in

bed with my husband, such a good man, but he never satisfied me. He was below average. He never made me feel like a woman. He never made me cum. (pause) The first time I came during sex was with a one-night stand last year…

 

JUAN-LUPE

I remember when I was just a kid… (pause) I too was raped. My father’s friend came over drunk one night looking for him. Everyone had gone to church and I stayed to finish baking bread and make sure no one stole the chickens and corn husks… (pause) he slapped me across the face, told me to shut up and he pinned me up against the wall in the kitchen. (pause) I felt him go in from behind. I didn’t cry. He came inside me, I remember his huffing and puffing, the way he grabbed my hair and bruised my waist.

 

MAGDALENA

So that’s why I am attracted to Black guys now. They treat me differently. They respect their mothers. They like thick girls like me. They are real men… not like the ones we have here in this family; these men are outdated and machos. And like I said, my husband never satisfied me, and I married a “virgin,” if you can say that. But ten years into my marriage, and I finally gave up. I really tried, but he was not a good husband, he couldn’t make me feel like a woman. I was always depressed and confused. (pause) Now… look at me, single and ready to take anything on. I am strong. I am a smart woman. I am no longer scared of my past…

 

(LIGHTS FADE DOWNSTAGE)

17

 

JUAN-LUPE

I was going to a good college and everyone looked-up at me. I was the good guy. I was respected and taken care of. I was the baby. My mother loved me more than anyone, and all my brothers and sisters knew… they always knew… so, why would anyone ever think I was doing what I was doing, right? (pause) I admit, it was a sick thing to do, but somehow I managed to do it for six years… and I enjoyed the heated sex, her tight vagina, her tender legs, the frozen look in her eyes. I’m not a sick man… but I might have been growing up… I never talked about my own rape, and I think I took it out on the first person I could… my vulnerable niece…

 

(WHITE FABRIC/SCRIM FADES. LIGHTS FADE UPSTAGE. SPOTLIGHTS FADE ON CENTERSTAGE)

 

 

 

 

Act III, scene ii

 

(RED SPOTLIGHT RISES ON MAGDALENA. LICHO AND JUAN-LUPE JOIN MAGDALENA DOWNSTAGE; WHITE SPOTLIGHTS RISE ON LICHO AND JUAN-LUPE; THREE ACTORS SPLIT DOWNSTAGE EVENLY)

 

JUAN-LUPE

I was always horny.

 

LICHO

Fine… I guess it’s time.

 

MAGDALENA

I heard a knock at the door.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I was under stress and because I was living in the country illegally, I was constantly hiding and trying to be on good behavior.

 

LICHO

I was always passive.

 

 

 

18

 

MAGDALENA

I thought it was Licho or my little sister. But I was wrong.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I was twenty-three. But sex is sex, and I needed it.

 

LICHO

Always liked to be with someone. I hated being alone. I was afraid of the dark.

 

MAGDALENA

I tried to close the door and told him I had to change and would come out as soon as I was ready.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Masturbating was not enough.

LICHO

So, fast-forward to last year when I went on vacation to Costa Rica. Paradise.

 

MAGDALENA

But he entered. He entered my room. (pause) He entered me.

 

JUAN-LUPE

So because I couldn’t go to a bar and meet strangers, like everyone else my age, I was always at home and at family gatherings. I just couldn’t take it.

 

LICHO

I feasted on every Costa Rican man I could find. I could fuck.

 

MAGDALENA

When he closed the door, I knew it was not okay, I knew something was up.

 

JUAN-LUPE

And she was always there and they would ask me to look after them. So I went for it.

 

LICHO

My legs voluntarily spread like butter.

 

19

 

MAGDALENA

I tried to scream, but he covered my mouth and pinned me up against the wall.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I can still remember the bite she gave me the first time, I mean, what did you expect, what little girl knows how to suck a dick, right? (nervously laughing)

 

LICHO

Sometimes I was drunk, but most of the times, we drank after the fuck.

 

MAGDALENA

My towel dropped. My heart stopped.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I didn’t use a condom the first time.

 

LICHO

Sometimes orgies.

 

MAGDALENA

My wet hair dripping down my shoulders and already showing breasts.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I wanted to feel her bleed on me, and I came inside of her.

 

LICHO

I had a blast.

 

MAGDALENA

He scared me. He threatened me. He entered my mind on repeat.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Told her I would kill her.

 

LICHO

And I was also even given a parting gift: HIV.

 

MAGDALENA

I became his prisoner.

 

20

 

JUAN-LUPE

Told her I would tell her mom and dad.

 

LICHO

I don’t remember faces.

 

MAGDALENA

His refrigerator, his freezer.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I threatened her little sister and little brother too.

 

LICHO

I didn’t really care or think about it; I was in heat. I was free.

 

MAGDALENA

He would make me wear pink underwear and strip for him, would force me to smile. Like this: (smile and begin to tear up)

JUAN-LUPE

She did everything I asked.

 

LICHO

Condoms always got in the way.

 

MAGDALENA

Force me to put his dick in my mouth and wiggle my tongue.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Every time.

 

LICHO

And I must admit, the week I came back I did something stupid.

 

MAGDALENA

He would leave purple bruises on my nipples and on my inner thighs.

 

JUAN-LUPE

For many years.

 

LICHO

I somehow ended up hanging out with my uncle. Juan-Lupe.

21

 

MAGDALENA

I hid them all.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Tight like a baby, every time.

 

LICHO

And we drank.

 

MAGDALENA

No one ever noticed, no one ever knew. And it stopped hurting after a while.

 

JUAN-LUPE

And I wouldn’t give it back, for anything in the world.

 

LICHO

And we ended up fucking.

 

MAGDALENA

My fear faded.

 

JUAN-LUPE

Look at me: I am doing better than ever.

 

LICHO

He had wanted it for a long time, and so I got revenge.

 

MAGDALENA

It went faster if I cooperated.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I have a beautiful family.

 

LICHO

I fucked him three times. To make sure. 

 

MAGDALENA

And so I did.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I have a good job.

 

LICHO

Like a fucking dog. He thinks he made me his bitch.

22

 

MAGDALENA

I didn’t want anything happening to me, or my family.

 

JUAN-LUPE

I am happy right now.

 

LICHO

I never told him. But his doctor will.

 

MAGDALENA

What would you have done? (look around at audience) Huh? Tell me (open arms).

 

JUAN-LUPE

I’m alright… (look around audience) I turned out, alright…

 

LICHO

Merry Fucking Christmas, verdad? Una pinche novela de teror.

 

MAGDALENA

After all, we were just playing.

 

LICHO

Yeah… It’s all fucked-up. I’m fucked up. (pause) But this half-breed of a man, is the most fucked-up (look at Juan-Lupe).

 

MAGDALENA

He always explained it as a game.

 

LICHO

(still looking at Juan-Lupe) This whole thing is fucked up.

 

MAGDALENA

I guess I just lost…

 

LICHO

This whole family. Life… Just life… Todo a la chingada.

 

(LIGHTS FADE DOWNSTAGE)

 

 

 

 

23

 

Act IV, scene i

 

(LICHO, MAGDALENA, AND JUAN-LUPE STAND ON STOOLS. LIGHTS RISE CENTERSTAGE AND UPSTAGE ON MANNEQUINS. JUAN-LUPE IS IN HANDCUFFS)

 

MAGDALENA

What I need to tell you is this: These legs were split open at the age of nine. (pause) Chopsticks. The snapping of a turkey’s wishbone. Snap! (pause) The way a door opens and closes, how powerful callused hands can force it open, and slam it shut. These legs, my invisible bruises the color of blueberries and eggplant, these legs… the way the blood ran down like a pack of wolves, down down my tender vagina to my worn sneakers, the way they were slapped and spanked and thanked with a dirty kiss, a crooked smile, after they were

too tired to remain open, after they shook like a scared dog, like an earthquake. (pause) These are my legs! My legs!! These are mine and no one will ever handle them like worthless pounds of skin, like plastic, like 24-hour diners. These are my legs. This is my body, my fucking body…

 

(MAGDALENA HITS HER LEGS)

 

MAGDALENA

Look! Touch them! Grab them!! Go ahead, I dare you. (pause)

 

(MAGDALENA LOOKS AT JUAN-LUPE AND KICKS HIM)

 

I’ll break your dick off. I’ll rip your face into shreds and feed them to the hungry dogs. (pause) I will take your pride and spit it out like pumpkin seeds, cabrones. (pause) Because, these are my legs. (long pause) My fucking legs. (long pause)

 

(MAGDALENA TURNS TO LICHO, AND LICHO TURNS TO MAGDALENA)

 

MAGDALENA

I just can’t anymore. There’s nothing left inside of me. Who is Magdalena? (pause) Where is she?

 

LICHO

I know where she is.

 

24

 

MAGDALENA

Yeah? Where? (begin to tear up)

 

LICHO

She is right here.

 

(LICHO TAKES HIS INDEX FINGER AND TOUCHES HIS UPPER CHEST; TAPPING THREE TIMES)

 

LICHO

She’s right fucking here. I know she’s in there (point at Magdalena’s chest). God is in there too. And I’m in there.

 

(MAGDALENA LOOKS TO THE AUDIENCE AND BEGINS TO CRY. A NOOSE SUSPENDS FROM CEILING ABOVE MAGDALENA, SHE PUTS ROPE AROUND HER NECK AND DIES)

 

LICHO

So there you have it; aqui termina esta melodrama, esta noche sagrada y sangrienta. But like in Jesus’s time, blood had to spill here too, to wash and shine the good in me and you, to celebrate the life within death. And Magdalena, wherever she may go, she will forever more carry the memory of us between the bruises of bone and dust. Let us always love all the Magdalena’s around us.

 

 

(LIGHTS FADE CENTERSTAGE. LIGHTS RISE DOWNSTAGE; LICHO WALKS DOWNSTAGE AND DIRECTS AUDIENCE)

 

 

LICHO

(loud and musically driven)

 

 

THIS IS THE STORY,

OF A FAMILY AFFAIR

 

 

WHERE BLOSSOMS SCREAMED

AND EVERYONE, IGNORED TO CARE

 

 

BLOOD WAS SHED, ON CHRISTMAS EVE

THE NIGHT THAT GOD, DREAMED A DREAM

25

 

AND SO IT GOES, THIS F-A-M-I-L-Y

THE ONE YOU TRUSTED, SO ATTENTIVELY

 

 

GO IN PEACE, IN TRANQUILITY

FOR THIS TRAGIC MAGIC NIGHT,

HAS TRULY REALLY, EXHAUSTED ME

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

THE END.