Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guest writer: Tomas Rodolfo Gonzales

La Bloga welcomes Tomas Gonzales and translator Tom Tan Quete.

The Reunion

by Tomas Rodolfo Gonzales
Translated by Tom Tan Quete

The scene opens in a front room. A large couch faces the audience. (Middle: Stage right)

In front of the couch sits a low coffee table. Against the wall (stage left) facing the couch is a chest on which sits a bust of Van Gogh and an empty flower vase.

Behind the couch, situated on the wall where the audience can clearly see it, hangs a very large painting depicting Thanksgiving with pilgrims eating a celebratory meal. Indians are waiting on the Pilgrams bringing food to the table, etc.

The front door is located at the back of the stage, adjacent to the painting, (stage right)

While the audience is being seated, they will have a chance to see the set. When it is time to open, the lights dim and popular music plays for a few minutes, and then the lights slowly come on to full lighting, and the music dies down. Pause

Enter an energetic young woman (stage left) carrying a bouquet of flowers wrapped in paper. She is humming, admiring the flowers. She has a can of air freshener in her other hand.

The woman walks briskly to the couch and sits, placing the flowers and freshener on the coffee table. She is facing the audience and begins to unwrap the flowers.

The woman glances to where the vase sits, and walks to it. She picks it up and takes it to the coffee table. She arranges the flowers in the vase.

The doorbell rings (Three times, quick and mechanically) .

She freezes for a moment. Again the doorbell rings, three times.

She runs to put the vase on the chest, moving the flowers around with a final touch, and races back to the couch.

The woman picks up the paper and crumbles it into a ball and looks (excitedly) around the room. She picks up a cushion of the couch and puts the paper there. She sprays the room and throws the spray can under the other cushion. She bounces up and down on the cushion, gets up, walks to the door, pauses to straighten herself as the door bell rings three more times (Ring, ring, ring) and she opens the door and stands behind it. The door remains open.

Enter a man taking two exaggerated measured steps, kicking his feet way up, one, two, trooper style.

He is carrying a small paper bag in his right hand. He looks around for a moment, and the woman closes the door.

She: Hello!

(At that moment he hands her the bag, lets it go and it falls to the ground)

He: Oh Hell.

(They both stoop to retrieve it. Both rise slowly, one hand on the bag, staring into each others’ eyes)

She: I’ve been thinking about you.

(They kiss)

He: I’ve been thinking about you.

(They continue to stare)

She: (Catching herself) yes...come in.

He: (Questioning) Come in?........Yes.

He walks to the couch as she closes the door.

(He takes a seat, stage right. She follows and takes a seat on the couch and opens the bag. She produces an apple.)

She: You remembered.

He: I…….remembered.

(They laugh)

She: (wistfully) Do you remember how we used to play after

He: Do you remember? (Shakes head) How we used to play! (Reaches over and places his hand on her knee) After school.

She: (Stirring uncomfortably---He removes his hand, she puts down the apple) When we were young, were we really happy?

He: (Leaning back with arms behind his head—wistfully—nodding) We were really happy….. When we were young.

She: Were we really?

He: We really were.

She: (Absentmindedly) Oh?

He: Ho. You don’t recall?

She: Recall? Don’t you?

He: (Matter of factly) Why of course I do. (Questioningly) You don’t?

She: (Questioningly) Do I? (Adamantly) Of course!

(Questioningly) Why? ..... Don't you?

He: (Flatly) Aren’t you silly.

She: (Defensively) You aren't silly?

(Reaching for her knee, he says suggestively) Don’t fight…..

She: Fight! (Annoyed) Don’t! (She pulls away)

He: (Resolutely) After all these years...Why must we still
play games?

She: Why…we must play games…after all…..(Wondering)… still. Those years…

HE: (sensing he has gotten the advantage, he nudges closer)

Haven't they meant anything to you?

(She nods yes)

She: (Childishly) You too?

(He becomes uncomfortable, stares at his feet)

She: (Demandingly) They haven't meant anything, have they?

(Boyishly) They have.

She: (Taking the offensive) Like?

He: (Sheepishly) Like...(Looks away)..I was hoping…we could see …each other again.

She: (Outraged) Again! (She gets up, walks downstage) I see. Hoping we could…each other….again.

He: (Meekly) Again.

(Enter a woman carrying a tea pot, sugar bowl and cups on a tray. She is ebullient as she enters from stage left)

She: (Hearing the woman, walks behind the couch, and faces the audience) Mom (Gestures) Bob….Bob, Mom

He: (Introducingly) Bob.

Woman: (Trustingly) Mom.

He: (Pronouncement) Mom.

Woman: Bob. (She looks at her daughter questioning) Bob?

She: (nervously) Bob.

Woman: (Discoveringly) Uh huh!

She: (Denying) Huh uh!

He: (Unaware and smilingly extends hand) Hello!

Woman (Who was placing cups on table drops one) Oh hell! ….I’m glad to meet you, I’m sure. I heard so much about you.

He: (Surprised) Oh?

Woman: (Explainingly, gesturing) From Nan.

He: (Accusingly) I’ve heard so much about you too.

Woman: I’m sure.

He: (Expainingly) From Nan. (Laughs nervously)

Woman: (She is holding sugar bowl) I’m glad.

He: (Holds up two fingers) Two. (They sit, begin to drink tea)

She: Golly gee, I remember….he use to be such a nice guy….

Woman: (Agreement) Such a nice guy.

He: Yea…such a nice guy...

Woman: (Beginning to question) He used to be?

He: (In another space, he sits back smiling) Golly!

Woman: A nice guy?

He: (Approvingly) Such a nice guy.

She: (Voice quivering) He used!

He: (Beamingly) Gee!

Woman: (Outraged) I remember!

(Woman snatches up cups and pot, placing them on the tray-----she pauses)

Woman: You Golly Guy! (She storms out)

He: (Yelling after the woman) Wait, you don’t understand. I’ve changed. You don’t have to fear me anymore.

She: (Sobbing) I’ve heard it all before!

He: (Pleadingly) But not like this. I need to be understood!

She: Understood, hah! You’re all alike. First you hurt…. Then you hurt.

He: I didn't know. Honest...I didn’t know….

She: Didn’t know?

He: Honest!

(They look into each other’s eyes)

She: (Catching herself) I'm sorry, but I think you should go now.

He: Go now?

She: (Confidently) I’m sorry.

He: But I think you should…..

SHE: (cutting him off) Go now!

He: Yes. Say, when can we get together again?

(She smiles, looks away)

He: (Pleadingly) Can we?

She: (Cooly) Yes.

He: (Questioningly) Say when?

She: (Distantly) Again.

He: (Questioningly) Together?

SHE: (Determined) Yes.

HE: (He gets up to leave) I’m going.

(They walk to the door)

She: It’s been so long (She opens the door)

He: So long….It’s been

She: (Puts her finger over her lips cutting him off)

(He pulls her hands to his lips and kisses)

He walks out and she closes the door behind him. She leans on
the door wistfully and pauses, then walks to the back of the couch, facing the audience with both hands on the couch.

She looks around the theater. She realizes something and turns to the pilgrim picture, and takes it down, leaning it against the wall. She turns to the audience and says, No more games!

--- 30 ---

Tomas R. Gonzales began his artistic endeavors as a student at Cal State Los Angeles, where he wrote a short play for Teatro A LA Brava criticizing the Bakke Decision. There were not enough actors so he was drafted by the group to play the part of the judge, and consequently, he became an actor doing Chicano Teatro and Agi-Prop. He also wrote other plays for the group including The Money Cart and he was one of the authors of Desarollo Chicano, which played at the San Gabriel Auditorium in the mid 70's. He became a member of Teatro De La Gente of San Jose, and he toured extensively throughout the country from San Francisco to Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. He performed in Mexico, at the Teatro Del Lago in Chapultepec Park and UNAM in Mexico City and in Cuernavaca. He completed a BA in Speech Communications from San Francisco State, where he also did a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. Mr. Gonzales is a retired civil rights investigator, and his work investigates primarily issues related to civil and human rights. He is a student of Novel Roman and experimental theater craft.

Tom Tan Quete is the alter ego of Tomas R. Gonzales. Known for his love of the best añejo spirit blends, he was with Mr. Gonzales on all his travels. He translates from the inner most depths of his Chicano existence the subconscious texts of life experiences, from his earliest comprehension to the present. His name is a blend of Contemporary American, Ancient Asian and old world Mexican cultures.

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