Isabel/Madam Ching, about 70 years old
Dolores, about 40 years old
Man in first sex scene/Ernesto, about 50, later 75, years old The men and women of Paradise Inferno
A Christ-like figure
A dimly lit space found at the center of the performance venue. Audience members are seated around this area.
Now and then
Everything is dark and silent.
A soft hum then fills the air. Moments pass and the hum fades out. A Hiligaynon chant traditionally sung during Lent in the province of Antique is heard next. This is performed by the chorus members who all enter slowly from the audience area. Light comes from the lighted candles that they all carry.
Diyos namon sang kaluoy
Ikaw ang amon nga Amay
kag Ginuo sa nga tanan.
God of mercy
You are our Father
Hesus, maluoy Ka sa amon. Jesus, have mercy on us.
Patawaron Mo kami. Forgive us.
Ang sala ginadumtan namon. We ask forgiveness for our sins.
Dili na magliwat kami. We shall not commit them again.
When they reach the edge of the performance space, the chorus members spread out and enclose it in a circle. They place their candles on the floor and then ceremoniously sit facing center. The hum returns.
A dim light then shines on an old woman soundly sleeping on a rocking chair placed at the center. Her soft
snores can be heard above the hum floating in the air.
Moments pass and the hum fades out. The chorus members pray. Maghimaya ka, Maria Hail Mary
nga napuno ka sang grasya full of grace
ang Ginuong Diyos yara sa imo. the Lord is with you.
Ginadayaw ka labi Blessed are you
sa mga babaye nga tanan among women
kag ginadayaw man ang bunga and blessed is the fruit
sang imo tiyan nga si Hesus. of your womb Jesus.
Santa Maria, iloy sang Diyos Holy Mary, mother of God
ig-ampo mo kami nga mga makasasala pray for us, sinners
niyan kag sa oras sang amon ikamatay now and at the hour of our death Amen. Amen.
Just before the prayer ends, the woman mumbles in her sleep. ISABEL No …
The hum returns.
A faint ray of light reveals a transparent cubicle in a corner just behind one section of the audience. Here, a man and a woman are making love. The woman’s movements appear tired and rehearsed, like she has been performing the act for years. While going through the motions, she suddenly fixes her stare at the old woman.
Disturbed, the old woman again mumbles in her sleep.
ISABEL No …
Lights out on the scene as the man and the woman reach climax. The old woman suddenly stirs.
The hum dies out.
ISABEL Who is it?
Is that you, Ernesto?
Ernesto, are you home already?
Oh, don’t tell me you’re drunk again, Ernesto!
The chorus members softly repeat the “Maghimaya ka, Maria”. Comforted, Isabel goes back to sleep. The hum returns.
A faint ray of light reveals another transparent cubicle. Again, the same woman is making love, but to a different man. This time, she is the more dominant player and she shows this by clearly dictating the tempo and by incorporating a certain amount of ferocity into the act. As in the previous scene, she again fixes her stare at the old woman. As her partner reaches climax, she digs her sharp nails into his back thus drawing out faint traces of blood. Lights out on this scene.
Isabel again stirs.
The hum dies out.
ISABEL Who is it?
Ernesto, if that’s you … announce your presence. Make yourself known! Oh, I must have left the windows open again, Ernesto. Please do me a favor and close them. We do not want the night wind roaming freely inside here, do we, Ernesto? Ernesto?
The chorus members again recite the “Maghimaya ka, Maria”. This time, however, Isabel foregoes sleep. Moments pass and the hum returns, a little louder this time. Another transparent cubicle is revealed. The woman is now engaging in an even more violent act with yet another man. She...