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means of their owners - in a remote corner of such a village

forgotte~ wh!le some newly rich estate owner has not yet though;
of erecting his ~ream house on it, some of the unendowed daring
have-nots of this day have had the temerity to put up barong
It is open st'ason lor politics in the country again, and dema-' barong shelters that cower in the shadow of the beautiful man-
gogues en/er the world of the lamished, make capital 01 their sions of the rich. These are the typical eyesore structures of the
'chronic hunger, and enable uS to witness the latter's despair. impermanent, the hounded, the often dispossessed. TiD hammered
to flatness, leftovers from some cruel fire, shakily ereCted, intended
to be as quickly torn down as they have been so. quickly put up.
Characters:
T~ese then are the houses of the people - are they people? _ in
CLARO: an indigent young man who looks old at the age this play.
of 30 LIGHTS OUT
LUMEN: his wife, a thin, famished-looking woman whos~'
gaunt frame belies her 25 years COCKCROW on high note - Crow 1: BLUE Light

MRS. HASPLENTY: a wealthy matron Crow 2: RED Light

MRS. TAMALAMANG: another matron but of much more COUGHING, prolonged fit of coughing from man on ;~"ft
modest means in CENTER of stage draped in red but looking Jlkc •
coHin bier.
BOY: a child of about 8
ENING: younger sister to Boy
. FIRST NEIGHBOR: a hungry-looking man of about 35 LUMEN

SECOND NEIGHBOR: a woman, again-looking older than Ening " Boy .


her years ..'~: (Enter ESCO, with cock in arms. He sits on tree stump.
THIRD NEIGHBOR: a pregnant woman who carries a fondles rooster, flies it in air several times to test its wings.
sloall child, about a year and a half, on her hip '. Walks around dais, off to another side, calls to man lying
on raised bed.) .
OTHER NEIGHBORS: mostly raggedy, including the little
children, mostly half-dressed and mostly in tatters, with
unwashed faces


Pareng Claro. Claro! The sun is high. Wake ~p! Tanghali na,
One of the modern, very prosperous subdivisions in the suburbs, Pare.
where the land has been subdivided by the well-to-do into fenced Cising na ang Kristiano.
lots, grown with well-tended, well-manicured Bermuda grass and
lushly £lowering bougainvillaeas and fragrant roses. Among these (Enter STREETWALKER. Slightly drunk, as seen by the
beautiful houses, fairly shouting their prosperity and the status and way she walks. And tired, with her night wor~, wearied
with the coming of the bright day. Sits on the same tree LUMEN
stump ESCO sat on. CLARO coughs.) (Calls to children off scene): Boy... Ening ...
~'
Psst. Hey, Rosie! Why are you running away? Are you afraid? CHIIDREN

. Afraid? Afraid of what? (Pausing, looks back. Hesitates. Then LUMEN


goes slowly away.) It is none of your business.
Oaro. Mahol. Wake up. It is morning.
ESCO
(Looks up at the day, the listless tired look.of the sleeper
Wasn't he your querido for a long time? who has found no rest in his slumber, tortured through.
the night by his coughing, and fearful now of the traits'
ROSIE that the relentless day brings.) ..
Oh, shut up! So what? That was a long time ago.
;..

Nangangamoy kandila na yang bata mo, Rosie. Tuluftgan mo


LUMEN
naman..
It is Sunday. What do you want for breakfast?
ROSIE
(She has been busy with the small things a wife finds to dp
Ako? Why should I? After all, he has his wife and .. , chil~ around a sick spouse. The pillows to flu££; The blankets·
dren ... to smooth out. She walks around to the other side of him
so she can change his clothes. She is never still. While
the conversation here takes place, there are motions for her
to go through, all of them connected with the duties of a
housekeeper with a helpless husband.)

,
We haven't any money. What breakfast can you get without",a
ESCO cent? 'ii\:l,.d
,':
Hey.' Walang t.b. ito.' Materiales fuertes, blue seal, Choy!
LUMEN
ROSIE \ '.. .. ··1
God is always kind. Maybe I can still borrow something from
Bastos.' Walong hiya.' Manok mo na lang ang pagtiagaan mong Aling Bibang.
himasin! ... (LUMEN proceeds to change the shirt CLARO has sIep,tdd
MUSIC for a ~ean one. The process is often interrupted ~by
CLARO'S coughing, and LUMEN massages 'his baeJt ashe
(Enter LUMEN.)
!~I
".~
clif.1
'~~.
struggles with his phlegm. She wipes his back with the
shirt she has taken off him, wipes his agonized face with "\
,
':1'·
it. Then she lays it aside as he rests his head on her VOICES
bosom. She reaches for a T-shirt and puts it on him as Sa pula! Sa puti! Sa pula! Sa puti! Tumakbo! Naka! Tumakbo
he submits to her attentions with the limp docility of a ang manok! 'Duwag! Iluto na lang natin 'yan!
baby. As this goes on, there's business off-stage of a group
of men fighting their cocks. Shouts and calls typical of a Ang 1010 mo ang duwag! Sa pula! Sa puti! Sa pula! Sa puti!
cock-fight crowd.) (Sounds of cocks in furious wing beat and tattoo of cock-
fight. Yells and shouts of excited onlookers.)
LUMEN
In fact, Aling Bibang said she would bring a Mrs. Hasplenty with
her. From the S. W. A.l You know the S. W. A.
(OFF STAGE: SOUNDS)

VOICE #1
Mang Esco, subukan natin 'yang manok mo.
NEIGHBOR Naku! Ang ganda! Blue seal!
Siyanga naman, Mang Esco. MUSIC, strains of a march.
ESCO CHILDREN'S VOICES ',
Aba, huwag. Isasabung ko ito sa Linggo.
Si Aling Bibang, pala. Si Aling Bibang. Mga kapil·bahay, ito ';~ "
si AJing Bibang.
NEIGHBORS
Magandang umaga po, Aling Bibang.
(Enters ALING BlBANG on scene, followed by crowd, and
arm·in-arm with MRS. HASPLENTY, who III dreslIed In
ESCO stylish kimona and patadyong and retinued by a uniformed
Huwag, sabi. Bakit matataleoO Ha! chauffeur bringing big boxes under each arm; a photograph'er
with his camera and flash at ready, and several re~rter.
with bored looks, pencils ready to take notes on small note.
books. March music. Cheers.) ~

ESCO
Magsisi ka, 'pare. Hindi takot ita. (Waves her hand flutteringly at people to make them quiet
down so they can hear her.)
1 S. W.A.: SocIal Welfare Administration, a relief agency of the
government.
'1!
',:'J,'","
')
(Motions to the chauffeur, who deposits th~ boxes at MRS.
Good morning, mga people. Mga kapitbahay, I brought witll me HASPLENTY'Sfeet. She looks around at the crowd and
my boss from the S.W.A., our beloved Manang Eniang. Our good bends to take other things' from the big:boxes. .Hands
Manang Eniang. She wants to see all of you. out a few dresses to some women, moving around in the
(Crowd cheers. Photographer takes one picture ilS. the crowd same graceful manner. All the while the crowd try to get
come up to MRS. HASPLENTY and shake her hand. She their share, but MRS. HASPLENTY sweetly shakes her
does it very gracefully, with the sincerity and devotion ~f head and moves back again to where LuMEN watches 1111
a really sincere person. She has an'arm around each w~man s this show with dumb reality. CLARO has looked up onco
shoulders very briefly, presses the arm of each man JUst'as to watch the commotion and then, like one already sepll'
briefly. Her smile brilliantly includes them all, and all her rated from the affairs of the world, turns' his eyes away.
gestures are charming, including the fingers she gracefully In the meantime, MRS. TAMALAMANG has been eEfl·
raises to her head to pat her coiffure in place and the hand dendy, although superfluously-for this i. all routine to
that she places on the head of each child in loving solicita- Manang Eniang's retinue-stage-managing the proceeding.,
tion. She has candies she takes out of her handbag that pulling some neighbors to receive Manang Enlang'. dole,
she passes on to them,) and nudging the photographer to take tho shots he doe.'
with the boredom of one who has been doing nothing but
(Music of her march plays on,) the expected.)
MRS. HASPLENTY
MRS. HASPLENTY
My very dear people of this looban. Ako', ,tagaga/ak na ,?,akita
!
kayong lahat na maligaya. I want you to know .that thi~ of My dearest friends. Mga kapatid. Mahal ko kayong lahat. But
you all the time. Kaawa-awa naman kayo. Altng Blbang told today, through the information given to me by your good Aling
me about you, and I want (holds her graceful hands to bre~st), Bibang, my friend, I came to help Lumen and Claro. So today
oh, I want so much to help you. ' I must give rice and things to Lumen. It is SUnday, and th~
S.W.A. is closed. But tomorrow I will come back, and I'll bring
(Music on a more triumphant note. People clap their hands
you all, the things I know you need. (Turning to ALING
at her charming words and gesture.) BIBANG) : Magpasalamat kayo that you have here among you
such a woman as Aling Bibang.

Mga people, visitahan na natin si Claro. (In gen~ral aside to (The praise so overwhelms ALING BIBANG, she takes
people around): Pumarito si Manang Eniaag dahsl kay Claro.. MRS. HASPLENTY'S hand and quickly kisses it.)
(Sees LUMEN.) Alam mo, Eniang, kawawa itong si Lumen at St (Music stronger, but not enough to drown her voice, which
Claro _ wala sila'ng matirahan, kaya dito na ho sila pinatira., Ab,
takes on a platform tone.
heto pala si Lumen.
ALING BIBANG directs her, however, to formally hand over
MRS, HASPLENTY the rice and the canned goods that are intended for CLARO
(Embraces LUMEN briefly, who partly draws back in abasement.) and LUMEN. .
Kumusta si Claro, Lumen? Kumusta ang asawa mol Alagaan But even as MANANG ENIANG turns over the boxes to
mong mabuti si Claro, hal Malapit na ang eleksiyon, kailangang LUMEN with the same implacable cool sweetness, she
makaboto siya.
ESTRELLA D. ALFON
,
doesn't abandon her stance: head held back and.' lovely MRS. HASPLENTY
throat lengthened the better to deliver the lines she can Food. .. I shall bring you food.
say so well. The photographer is at the ready. ALING (Cheers. )
BIBANG has inserted her own person into the tableau so
For when you hunger, I hunger too. Oh, I want to really give
that when the picture is taken, she will be right there with
you what I can.
MANANG ENIANG.)

MRS. HASPLENTY
Trabaho, Manang Eniang. Trabaho ang kailangan namin!
Babalik aka nang talagang matutulungan kayo. For my peart al-
ways weeps for you. (Rest of crowd murmur their loud assent.)

(The people cheer.)


I will bring you clothes. Aling Bibang will distribute them to you. If we could work ...
(Cheers from the crowd.) We could earn ... '
And we could buy ...
RICE: YES, RICE.
It is better if you distribute these yourself, Manang Eniang. Ita
si Nena. Opo, Manang, bigas po! Rice, Manang!

RICE, YES, RICE!


(The crowd takes it up like a cry.)

(MRS. HASPLENTY nods her head in solemn agreement,


like a beautiful doll.)

Abaw! Katahum guid. Madamo guM na salamat. Baw! H~stong Mga kapitbahay, handa siyang tumulong. But she can
husto pa sa aleon. .. ay! more if she were ~ senator. Let us make her a senator.
• ~ .10-

(The crowd raises their hands to her in enthusiastic endorse-:~':;4"


m~t of this wonderful plan. ~S .• TAMALAMAN~'~7~
110 naman si Fidel; wa/a aleong para sa iyo, pero ilo, para sa raIses MANANG ENIANG'S hand In tnumphant sign ana ....•.. 'n'·,
alawa mo. she screams hysterically at the crowd!); ':~~

.:'1
~;~
:r;,.;
:Ii
I am. That houseboy of mine has snitched some of the rice and
Mabuhay si Senadora Eniang! canned stuff I told him to put in this box. He's a thief that's
all. I'll dismiss him. '
(The crowd shouts its riotous answer. MRS. HASPLENTY"
puts her free arm about LUMEN, who looks up in adora- LUMEN
tion at the beautiful would-he-senator.. The photographer No, please, po, he may be another poor one like us. Anyway,
takes the picture. It includes, besides the crowd, the miser-, there is enough here.
able CLARO curled lfP on his miserable pallet.) .
(Gladness finally overcomes her timidity. She kneels down .
MRS. HASPLENTY and thrusts her hand into the little sack of rice and clench~,
her fists on the precious grain.)
(To LUMEN): This is really very little. Just a few gantas 6£
rice and several tins of sardines. There's some corned beef, too., Rice. Rice. (Looks up atMRS. HASPLENTY)~ Thank you,
oh so many times.. _. ::- \"
(Peers into the box, takes out several tins so as to rapidly,
inventory what else there are. To herself): (The neighbors reach the group, exclaim am~~g themselves"
about the box of foodstuffs. LUMEN'S children even de-
Salva;e that boy of mine. I told him five gantas and this looks tach ~emselves .from th~ mother's skirt and shyly, wiused
like a mere three gantas. And I said 5 tins of sardines, and 5 tins to havmg anyth4tg to display, hold out the tins of sardines
of corned beef. Comorte na naman. an~ corned beef to the neighbors so they can see, until
the.tr mother motions them to desist.)
MRS. TAMALAMANG
(Bends down to help EUGENIA inventory the box's con· MRS. HASPLENTY
tents. Appeasingly): (Looks around at the neighbors gathered and smiles at them.
Never mind, really, Eugenia. Lumen will be glad enough about But she wants to escape, and she nodS to LUMEN):
what il here. Do not thank me yet. You want me to come back, don't you?
(To LUMEN): Ano, Lumen, isn't this better than nothing? (Surreptitiously places some bills in LUMEN'S· hand on the
pretext of making LUMEN stand up from her kneeling.
LUMEN
Whispering. )
(Holding her skirts tighter around her as the children threaten
And here's something to buy a few things with.
to unskirt her with their clinging.)
(Turns away. Takes MRS. TAMALAMANG with her.)
Naku, pol (Almost in tears) : Naku, po, I don't even know
I really must go. I have to see Inday Lilang yet. But Bibang
what to lay.
here must tell me if you, Lumen, should Aeed anything in an
Thank you, oh thank you ... emergency. I can always help, in a small way. .. '
MRS. HASPLENTY MRS. TAMALAMANG
No, no, don't thank me. I should have been here sooner if They have really no one else to go to but me, and I know no
Bibang here had told me earlier. But you don't know how angry .J:l1lewho can help you.
ESTRELLA D. ALFON

(Turns to LUMEN): LUMEN


Lumen, dahan-dahanin mo no 'yan, ha! If Claro still does not A friend of our landlady's, Mrs. Tamalamang. It seems her name
get well, come to see me, hane. Or if he gets well, let me know is Mrs. Hasplenty. Did you see her? Did you see her jewel.?
that also. He will ask Manang Eniang to give him a job. And her dress? You should have smelled her. She smelled .0
nice.
MRS. HASPLENTY
Paa/am na sa inyong lahat. Thank you. Do not forget me for
. Senator. But why should she be so good to us?

LUMEN
Who knows, maha/? She brought rice and tinned viands. She
Mabuhay s; Manang Eniang! Mabuhay s; Senadora Eniang! 0/':1:
even put some money in my hand.
(Exit MRS. HASPLENTY, MRS. TAMALAMANG.) (Opens her hand clenched about the money.)
(Lumen dumbly nods her head and watches as the two go oH CLARO
stage. The neighbors surge to her. One or two men help
LUMEN lift the box just inside the barong·barong, on to How much is there, maha/? You could buy yourseH a dress.
the plank and beside CLARO.) (Fondles LUMEN'S rags. His eyes are eloquent with despair.)
(The children speak to their father.)

ENING Are you crazy?


Ifay, did you see? A lady all dressed up came and gave us food. (Feels under the pillows CLARO lies on. Pulls out a slip
of paper. Shows it to CLARO, then folds it and gets up,
hands futilely trying to pull her rags into some semblance
of neatness.)
And money, Itay. I saw her put some in the hands of [nay.
I saw it. I can buy the medicine in the doctor's prescription, Caro. You
know that? (Scornfully.) A dress indeed!

CLARO
(His voice half a whisper and a rasp):
Who was she? Can your mother, call her.
LUMEN
(LUMEN comes back to the barong.barong. The neighbors
(Counts the money.)

Why, there's all of ten pesos here, maha/,.
have made their goodbyes, but lingeringly; LUMEN takes'
out the tinned stuff, arranges them at the foot of the papag CLARO
floor. She smiles tremulously at the sick man.)
(Wistfully.) Perhaps you'll have something left over. When did
Who were they, mahal? Who were those good people? we see ten pesos last, dear heart?
stuff, he reaches for other things placed on makeshift nails
LUMEN
and flanges on tin on the walls: a small mUk-can for
Ten pesos. For want of it, we were driven out of the ~oom we measuring rice, a pencil stub, some wrapping paper he
rented in Paco. And Mrs. Tamalamang, for whom I washed told flattens out to write on. He coughs in weakness and fatigUe
us to make use of this little space. And it is from lying on 'these
with even these exertions. He reaches for so~e other pape~
boards so close to the ground that you have this fever in your
and smooths it out on the planking, and on this improvised
bones, Claro. I should havep'lked that dressed-up lady to give us
mat, he ekes out the rice in measures with the tin cat),
,,~ a place to live, too. But I co, ld not open my mouth.
I .
piling it in small equal piles. and to each he juxt~poses I
can of viand. The mat of paper is filled with these little
piles of rice, and he counts them and makes calculations of
I'm sorry I'm sick, my poor one. .•. 'late to be lying down while
their number on his little piece of writing pad and his small
"' you make yourself so thin with the washing you do. Oh Lumen
perhaps if r just died, it would be better. One less mouth to feed: stub of a pencil. His frenzy with this work,' his preoccupa-'
And perhaps you could even get II. : .~w husband. A better partner. tion with it even, makes him forget his cough' or his lnalaise. '
Yet his labored breathing is definitely observable so that
LUMEN it is the observer who feels anxious for his state of health.)
0,,1

Hush your mouth! You dare to talk that way today, of all days, (To himself):
when we have food to eat. I'll buy your medicine. You'll get
well. Things will get better, you'll see. I'll go. Here's a' stone. If we cook two cans a day for each meal, we can eat breakfast,'
(Picks up a stone from outside the barong-barong.) Hit the walls lunch, and supper for eight days. If we only boll rice for lWl~'
when you need to call the children. Do not exert yourself., and supper, this will last twelve days. Maybe by that time I~
be well and strong again. Enough to work. (Rea"anging his tins
(She fixes the pillows so CLARO will be more comfortable.
Settles the foodstuff to the end of the plank floor~ away of viand and his mounds 01 rice.) But on the last days" there
from Claro so he can have a bit more room.) ,' wouldn't be any viands to eat with the rice. Well, we've t>c;en
hungry enough for so long. Salt with the rice will be good enough.
(To the children):
(The two children enter and approach and gaze solemnly at
Boy! Ening! .Don't go too far from your father. He can not him. By this time CLARO is leaning against the shaky'
shout for you. He'll just bang the walls with a stone. (Pemon- walls. His shortness of breath alarms even himself. )
strates.) Do not make him exert himself. Boy? Ening? .

BOY
Opo, Inay,
(LUMEN goes off-stage.) CLARO
(Smiling I;Itthem wanly):
CLARO
I am counting the days of our eating. Look. Here Is for
(He gets up from lying do'Wuto a sitting position. He inches
to~ay. And for tomorrow this. If we eat three times a day, thl.
his way toward the foot of the planking moving on his
wIll last only eight days. So breakfast, we won't eat .ny rice.
thin buttocks to do so. As he reaches the box of tinned
drifts into the scene. A woman. Then, from another comer
of the stage, another neighbor, a pregnant 'woman with a
sickly-looking baby on her hip. The CHILDREN ~o.~4-
CLARO lessly touch CLARO and indicate the neighbors' presence.
If you don't run about so much, children, you won't get so hungry. CLARO wipes his tears away on the l~wer part of his shirt
and looks up at his neighbors, his tears still in his eyes.)
ENING
FIRST NEIGHBOR
You only lie down, Itay" but you eat too. You get hungry too.
(Sitting down on planking, which creaks ominously with his
CLARO weight so that he hastily jumps up.)
I'm trying to get well, Ening, child. Then I can work and you Claro; are' you crying?
can all eat regularly again.
CLARO
ENlNG
I hate being sick. I hate having to see my children and my wile
And then perhaps buy me a dress, Ita,? starve.
BOY
Humph!' My clothes are even more tom than yours. But I don't We rt'lIl1y llno 1111 III ""~llllh'l CIIlI'1l flllt Wt' .'1111 lilt. 1'1'"
care, Itay. I only want you to get well.
PIWUNAN'I' WOMAN
CLARO Today, at least, you should not do any crying. You're lucky.
(Turning his face to the wall to hide his tears.) Why do I have You have these. .. (indicates the mounds of rice and viands on
to be .ick anyhow? What business have the poor being .ick? paper mat.)
(Beats his palms against his aching joints.)

What rlBht, even, have the bones of the poor to achel '! ~

(Tries to rise and finds the effort completely beyond him. SECOND NEIGHBOR
Beats at his weak knees in despair.) "
And tomorrow too, and the day after.
Stand, standi Oh, knees so weald Standi
PREGNANT WOMAN
(Sobs against the wall in a fit of hysterical despair. The
We all give thanks when anyone of us finds some Godsend.
children stare at him and then te:ltatively pick It the mounds
of rice, throwing some,grains into their mouths. The face.
of a 'oeigh~r peeks in, looks at CLARO, waits for him
(Slowly, because of his weakness, yet with a feeling of haste,
to notice him, then gestures at the children to desist from
his claw-like fingers put the mounds of rice. together, .and
putting the raw rice in their mouths. Another neighbor
with the tin can he strives to put it all back into the little
sack. The tinned goods be also tries to put back into the
box. Then tremulously):
i And you having this, please therefore let me borrow a little for
Thanks be to God indeed. Now I pray I'll be· able to get up and .our own cooking. We haven't a grain in our own house today.
work before this small plenty is gone.
FIRST NEIGHBOR
Claro, you remember how we all helped carry you home - that
You know, Oaro, that's what we thought. day when the fever in your bones made you drop the water pipe
you \Were carrying? It dropped right on your chest and we thought
SECOND NEIGHBOR
you were dead. But we took you home and took you to bed and
Yes, that you and we-we all know what hunger is. called a doctor for your troubled breath.

PREGNANT WOMAN
Most of the time we put out the very morsel we are on the verge (Thoroughly harassed, cornered and set upon. He frenziecIly
of swallowing, because our children must first be fed. tries to put away at last all of the rice and the tins.
Feverishly) :
CLARO
Please, please, wait for Lumen. , ,
(Looking cornered and harassed.) These past few days, I have
tried not to eat at all because there was so little and my poor
wife ana children did not have enough, even for just themselves. (Shrewishly): We came to borrow some rice, a little each. But
But I grow so weak from the sickn~s and hungering. you sound as though you don't want to let us have any. If 'I
were you, I would be happy to be able to have my turn at feeding
PREGNANT WOMAN
my neighbors. Anyway, it is only rice we wish to borrow.
In my house, too, it is that way. But when we hear that your
children are crying because they haven't got even one mouthful
at least, then we can not eat but we must send a little food here Well, if I can have a tin of sardines too, I could put some mongo
to you. with it, and we could have some hot soup. And I would bring
you some, Claro. But if you don't want to ...

Yes, yes, my good neighbors, I know if it hadn't been for you,


all of you, yes, we would have starved, all of us, by now. Thanks I am not, please (sounding dtsperau), not 'refusing. I wish you
be to you indeed. only, please, to wait for my wife.

FIRST NEIGHBOR
But God is always kind. Just when one thinks there isn't going Why, what will Lumen say? It is she herself who manages to
to be any of God's mercy on earth, He sends evidence of it. always be there when our own rice pot boils. She doesn't object,
Look at this windfall come your way. Like a jackpot, ha, friend but we know her need and before she can ask, we always ladle out
Claro? some for her. Knowing you are sick. Wanting to help you.
ESTRELLA D. ALFON

And anyway, I need it now so I can cook it for supper. (Turning BOY
away. ) But if you want us to wait, that's just as well as saying
No. I'll borrow the rice somewhere else. But I'll remember this,
Claro.

Anu 'yon?
, (Sadly, angrily, helplessly): Wait. Please take the rice you need. (Little girl comes on scene. Runs to them.)
(As the neighbors eagerly approach the carton):
Take what you need. Take what you want.
Help me. Itay says we should hide this. "1
(The neighbors each take their measure of rice. .FIRST
NEIGHBOR puts several tins full into his gathered-up (The two children tug at the box. They can only succeed
skirt. SECOND NEIGHBOR tears off It piece of the paper in pushing it down the length of the plank flooring.)
mat to make a cornucopia into which she puts her own Where can we hide this, Itay?
dole. PREGNANT WOMAN has a capacious pocket in
her skirt, and she puts down the child on her hip for a
little while as she' scoops out her own need, pouting the
measures into her pocket. When they go away, CLARO (Looks around. There is no place in his cramped quarters
watches them at first, then he takes the stone anq bangs to hide anything. He looks at the pillows he has been"
away It the tin walls with it. The boy comes to hiin.) lying on. He drags himself back to that place on the
planking near the pillows. At the same time, he helps
his children push the box. He empties a pillow case of
its pillow and hurriedly, frenziedly, places the rice in the
pillow case.)
BoyI Ening! Warn me if anyone approaches. I don't want any- .
one to know where we hid this rice. Bring out the tins too.
Put them among the rice. (Smooths out pillow somehow, bulging
BOY
unevenly with rice and tins.) Now, this left-over rice. Range it'
(Tugs at carton. Finds it too heavy for him. CLARO tries here, where I will hide it with my b6dy if I He down.
to help, but. the effort only produces a fit of coughing.)
(Children do as he tells them to. He lays the uncovered
Where will I hide this, Itay? But I don't think I can lift this pillow over the tin cans to the sIde. Now there seeml no
box, Itay, and you are no help at all. evidence of the rice and tinned goods. Claro can be leen
CLARO to have become desperately exhausted by all this effort.
He gestures to the children to put the carton back at his
feet, he lies down slowly, desperately tired, on his lumpy
pillow and closes his eyes in exhaustion.
· '. . ,
~. ~~,~~
303}
CIDLDREN
(Her fear and frenzy have communicated to the children and
Aren't We going to cook, Itay? We're hungry. We'd like to eat they go about their tasks obediently. LUMEN massages '"
some of that canned stuff. CLARO's limbs. She keeps shaking. his head to "make hiiD~:'
conscious of her. But his head 10Usgroggily on the 'lumpy~:'
CLARO ,,1110w. S~~ keeps massaging the thin limbs, the thin arms/'
(Faintly.) Wait for your mother. She'U be here soon. Watch As she does this, NEIGHBOR peers in, watches. her !.or.·.. :
for her. I while until she notices him. She smiles a fleeting, sickly
smile at him, then goes back to her anxious, almost hys-
terical ministering to her husband. NEIGHBOR goes away,
but soon comes back, bringing others with him. Among'
Itay! Here she comes. We'll go and meet her.
them are our previous characters. They .tand around, help
(They tuni to run, bui the girl notices the ghastly look on LUMEN massage CLARO's limbs. In the manner of ig-
her father's face and she pauses. She holds her brother's norant folk they press at his solar plexus. They cltch at hI,
'It'l:Q and he, too, looks at his father more closely.) heels and press at this cruelly. But CLARO does not he~
(Questioningly): Itay? Itay? or return to consciousness. '

(CLARO does not answer. Slowly, perceptibly, his limbs (In the meanwhile, the children have built a fire and have
straighten out and his fitlgers unflex limply. His mouth a pot bolling on the fireplace on the ground, three stones
drops open, and the boy shakes him.) set apart to hold up a pot over flames.
(LUMEN has started to whimper with fear. The children
BOY
blow at the fire. When the neighbors help hermass8Se. /
Itay, what is the matter? Itayl CLARO's limbs, she goes to the children, perhaps thinking"
she can hurry up the rice cooking. This sh~ tries to do,'
(LUMEN enters. She glances quickly at CLARO and imme-
frantically trying to make a bonfire of the cookirig. She
diately feels his forehead and his neck. Hu;*dly, the
goes back to CLARO, touches his forehead, and whimpers.)
woman looks at the medicines she has brought, gets a glass
of water, and wordlessly lifts her husband's head and tries His sweat is so cold.
to force him to drink the medicine. The man~s lips are
closed, and swallowing is out of the question for him in his
(Wipes at CLARO's forehead with the comer of a llnip
bandanna over her shoulders.)
state. In wordless frenzy, LUMEN once more tries to get
him to open his lips and swallow. But it is no use. Finally I only went away to buy him medicines. I should have fed him '
she places the little envelopes to one side, looks around for first.
the' rice, finds the carton empty, quickly surmises that it is
all hidden under CLARO's head, and hurriedly draws a NEIGHBOR
measure to cook. She gestures to BOY.) (Whispering): Pahiram ng bigas. ~
LUMEN?;l
Boy, build a fire. And get your sister to wash the rice. We'll Help me.. Please help me. (Calling to her husband) Claro!
cook some broth for your father. Claro! What's the matter with you? . . <}
RICE ESTRELLA D. ALFON

ALING ETANG LUMEN


Let me have the rice I wish to borrow. I want to cook it
, for (Realizing the significance of the prayers, she puts her bowl
supper.
of gruel back near the foot of the planking where CLARO's
LUMEN feet cannot reach them. Unclasps CLARO's hands from
His head is pillowed on the rice. Please let's not disturb him. around the crucifix.)
As soon as my gruel boils and I have fed him,.I will bring the (Shouting at the kneeling neighbors.) No! No! Stop that, all
ri~ to you, AIing Etang. I'll give you a tin of sardines too. But of you. Stop!
don't let us disturb him now.
(Shouts into CLARO's ears, shaking him slightly by the shoulders.)
(Other NEIGHBORS whisper among themselves. The preg-
Oaro! Claro! Wake! They are thinking you're dy. .. (She can
nant woman digs into the same capacious pocket, fishes out
not say the fatal word.) Wake! Wake!
an assortment of things, including a dirty towel with ;which
she wipes her baby's face, a length of string, a pair of old (The children are eating their gruel. They are so hungry
baby shoes, finally a rosary. She gives it to an old woman they have forgotten anything but the pleasure of eating.
among the neighbors, who immediately lets CLARO clasp The boy goes to the pot and ladles out some more gruel
his inert fingers around the crucifix. She kneels and ges- into his bowl, as well as into the bowl his sister holds
tures at the others to kneel, and they follow. LUMEN has eagerly out to him.)
in the meanwhile gone to the pot on the boil, stirred it, (To the children.)
and ladled out some into two bowls she gives the children.
Boy! Ening! Shout it into your father's ears. Tell him to wake.
A third portion she pours in and out of two bowls to cool.
Then she puts a little salt on it, stirs it, and turns to give Tell him how good the gruel is.
it to CLARO. She notices the women kneeling, and the (Puzzled, the children pause in their eating. The old woman's
crucifix that CLARO's hands are' now curved around. She praying interposes into the pause.)
almost runs to CLARO. She kneels and shakes him while
with the other hand she holds the bowl of gruel.)
Oaro! Claro! Are you foolish, indeed I Here is some gruel.
Eat and you will feel better. Claro! Here's eating, and you're
sleeping. Claro!
Jesus Maria 'Y Josef ...
. (The woman who has put the crucifIx in CLARO's hands
pulls LUMEN away. She turns up CLARO's eyelids and PRAYER LEADER
shakes her head. She kneels down again and loudly prays
the prayers entrusting the departing spirit to God.)

PRAYER· LEADER
Jesus, Maria, y Josefl
LUMEN
NEIGHBORS
(Shakes CLARO more violently. Turns to the praying throng,
(In pntiphon): Jesus, Maria 'Y Josef ...
almost pushes at the old woman leading the prayers.)
Nol I said No! Stop that praying. Claro! Claro! LUMEN
Claro! '(She raises her head to watch him and see if he will
CHILDREN answer.)
(Getting up but not abandoning their eager eating. Approach-
Claro! (Half-whispering.) May bigas tayo. (She remembers a
ing their mother, making their way through the' kneeling
forgotten nickname. whispers it like a sibilant demand: Clarita! )
throQg. but bowls still in their hands.) ,
(Suddenly, terribly. wails): Claro.o.o!... I
Why. Ina,? [na" what is the matter?

THINKING IT OVER.:j t;~)j


ENING 1. What is the function of the prologue Involving Esco and Rosie? ":I~}
(Tearfully): Is Itll'J going to die? Would you suggest that it be made to recur at the end?' ~i~

(But even as they ask this question. they are still holding
2. Identify,the object of, the author's criticism in this play. What.(:p~
'::.'

is her view of the nature of hunger? of unemployment? of.,1;,:~


, their bowls to the4' lips, afraid to let any morsel of the
disease? of gambling? Do you think this is the only rationa1f#'l~j
soft rice pap go to waste. LUMEN keeps shaking the view one can take on these social problems? Discuss.
prostrate man. NEIGHBORS keep up their lead and anti-
phon praying. In her frenzy. LUMEN's shaking of the tired 3. Give the chief character traits of the following:
sick man has caused _ tear in the old pillow case and the Mrs. Hasplenty
rice trickles down. LUMEN finally stops. She looks at Mrs. Tamalamang
the sick, thin frame and sits back on her haunches: As the The Neighbors
neighbOrs keep up their praying. LUMEN tenderly places Lumen
her own thin hand against the gaunt. hollow cheeks. She Claro
smooths the pillow under his head. realizes the lumps the
4. How does the author make use of large mUi'les of people to
tin cans make. The rice trickles down. LUMEN watches produce her effects? What effects? Could she have achieved
it. then slowly picks the grains in her hand. She whimpers them just as well by means of fiction? poetry? an essay?
like a sick dog as she looks at the rice in' her hand. then In other words. was the author's choice of her artistic medium
suddenly puts a thin arm across the still bosom of the a happy one?
man on the planking floor. dislodging the crucifix as she
does so. 5. Can you justify the mixture of E'nglish and TI18alog in the
dialog?
(The NEIGHBORS. praying. touch her; she turns her head
around to look at them. She rights the ends curved thinly 6. Define your feelings about the neighbors' and the children's
around the little crucifix. Then she lays the lit~~ handful behavior in the presence of food. particularly at the death,
of rice in her hand on the now still chest..•.·Suddenly. scene. Is this behavior defensible? Is it human or beastly? j.,
terrifiedly, she buries her head on the thin shoulders and In view of it, what seems to be the main point the author, :t,';
wishes to drive home? ""
wails.) :