The Backroom

In a country somewhere in Latin America during the struggle between the government and the guerrilla fighters, Monica Delgado, a presidential candidate, is being held hostage by a group of rebels in the jungle. Monica shares her cell with Helena Mayo, a television reporter. The two women have been in captivity for months and they fear for their lives. Comandante Aguja, the guerrilla leader in charge of their unit, may decide to execute them at any moment. Their days are spent trying to keep thoughts of death at bay, reminiscing about their lives and competing for survival.

Act 1
Scene One

Midnight. A dark stark room with two cots, a table and two chairs. MONICA and Helena are asleep on the cots. MONICA is sensual and curvaceous; she has dark hair. Helena’s hair is dyed blond. She’s thin.

Both women wear military uniforms. While the room is dark we hear helicopters and shooting, followed by a Gregorian chant and then “Our Father” recited in Spanish and English by MONICA, HELENA, ASUNCION, JUAN and COMANDANTE AGUJA, first separately and then together. The prayer is like a poem, then a song, then a desperate plea.

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Padre nuestro que est´as en el cielo
santificado sea tu nombre.
V´enganos en tu rieno.
H´agase tu voluntad
así en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy el pan de cada dia
Y perdona nuestras ofensas así como
nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden.
No nos dejes caer en tentaci´on
y líbranos de todo mal, amen.
A soft light envelops MONICA and HELENA.