Tuesday, July 3, 2012


When Adam and Eve were in Paradise, so the Bible goes, an apple caused their downfall. In the play you are going to read, an apple causes the downfall of the hero, and the title suggests that the way of the world causes a man to fall. Society is at fault if a man cannot live and be honest. After reading the play, what do you suggest Gloria should have done?


Alberto S. Florentino





An improvised home behind a portion of the Intramuros walls. Two wooden boxes flank the doorway. At left is an acacia tree with a wooden bench under it.

(Mario enters from the street at left. He is his late twenties, shabbily dressed and with hair that seems to have been uncut for weeks. He puts his lunch bag on the bench, sits down, removes his shoes, and puts them beside his lunch bag.)

Gloria: (Calls from inside) Mario! Is that you, Mario?

Mario: Yes…

Gloria: (A small woman about Mario’s age, with long hair and scrawny body, comes out

wiping her hands on her dress) I’m glad you’re home early.

Mario: How is Tita? (Without waiting for an answer he enters the dwelling)

Gloria: (Crosses to the bench) Don’t wake her up, Mario. She’s tired. She cried the

whole day.

Mario: (Reappears and crosses to the bench and sits on the end) Has she been eating


Gloria: She wouldn’t ea even a mouthful of lugao. But I’ll buy her some biscuits. Maybe

I’ll buy her some biscuits. Maybe she’ll eat them. (She slips , her fingers into his breast pocket) I’ll take some of the money –

Mario: (Rises annoyed) Gloria! Can’t you wait a minute?

Gloria: (Taken aback) Hey, what’s the matter? Why are you suddenly so touchy?

Mario: Who wouldn’t be? I’m talking to you about the child and you bother me by

ransacking my pockets! I wish you’d think more of our daughter.

Gloria: (Crosses to the center) My God! Wasn’t I thinking of her? Why do you think I

need some money? To buy me a pretty dress? Or see a movie?

Mario: Tone down your voice. You’ll wake the child up.

Gloria: Tone down your voice. You’ll wake the child up. (low but intense) All I want is a

little money to buy her something to eat! She hasn’t eaten anything all day! That was why I was “bothering” you!

Mario: (Repentant) I’m sorry, Gloria. . . (grips her arm and turn away)

Gloria: Today is pay day, Mario.

Mario: Yes . . . but . . .

Gloria: But what? Where’s your pay for the week?

Mario: I don’t . . . have it.

Gloria: What? I waited for you the whole day and you tell me –

Mario: (Angry) – that I have nothing! I Nothing! What do you want me to do – steal?

Gloria: I’m not asking you to do a thing like that! All I want to know is what you did with

your pay.

Mario: (Sits on the bench) Nothing is left of it.

Gloria: Nothing? What happened?

Mario: Oh, I had a few drinks with my friends. Before I knew it, I had spent every

centavo of it.

Gloria: (Eyeing him intently) Mario, do you think you can make a fool of me? Haven’t I

seen you drunk before, crawling home like a wounded snake and reeking of alcohol like a hospital? You don’t smell or look drunk.

Mario: All right, so I didn’t go drinking.

Gloria: But your pay – what happened to it?

Mario: It’s better that you don’t know, Gloria.

Gloria: Look, Mario, I’m your wife. I have the right to half of everything you get. If I can’t

have my share, I have the right to know at least where it went!

Mario: Gloria, you’ll feel better if you don’t know

Gloria: I must know!

Mario: All right: (rises) I spent it all on another woman.

Gloria: Another woman? I don’t believe it. I know you wouldn’t do such a thing.

Mario: I didn’t know you had so much faith in me.

Gloria: No, Mario, what I mean is – you wouldn’t spend all your money when you know

your daughter may need some of it. You love her too much to do that. (Mario sits

down and buries his head in his head hands. Gloria crosses to him and lays a hand on his shoulder.)

Gloria: What’s wrong, Mario?

Mario: (Turns his face away) Nothing, Gloria, nothing.

Gloria: (Sits beside him) I know something is wrong, Mario. I can feel it. Tell me what it


Mario: (Stares on the ground) Gloria, I’ve lost my job.

Gloria: (Rises shocked) Oh, no!

Mario: What about your pay for the whole week?

Gloria: And you never told me!

Mario: I thought I could get another without making you worry.

Gloria: Do you think you can get another in five months? It took you that long to get the

last one.

Mario: It won’t take me as long to get another.

Gloria: But how did you lose it?

Mario: (Rises and turns away) What’s the use of talking about it? That won’t bring it


Gloria: (Suddenly, in an agonized voice) Mario!

Mario: (Putting on the shoes) No. Gloria, you must not wait for me. I may be back quite


Gloria: All right. But I doubt if I can sleep a wink until you return. (Gloria comes up to him

after he finishes and tries to hug him, but he pushes her away. Suddenly

confused, he sits on the steps. Gloria sits beside him and holds his hands.)

Gloria: Mother was wrong. You know, before we got married, she used to tell me:

“Gloria, you’ll commit the greatest mistake of your life if you marry that good – for – nothing loafer! You can’t make him any straighter than you could a crooked wire with your bare hands.” Oh, I wish she were living now. She would see how much you’ve changed – (She sees someone behind the tree: Pablo. He has been watching them for a time. He is older than Mario, sinister – looking, and well dressed.)

Pablo: (Sarcastic) Hmmmmmmmmmm. How romantic!

Mario: Pablo!

(Suddenly unnerved, Mario starts to fidget. There is an uncomfortable silence as

Gloria rises and walks to the center, her eyes burning with hate. Pablo lights a cigarette, never taking his eyes off her.)

Pablo: You’re not glad to see me, are you? (puts a foot on the bench)

Gloria: (Angry) What are you doing here? What do you want?

Pablo: Saaaay! Is that the right way to receive a friend who has come a – visiting?

Gloria: We don’t care for your visits!

Pablo: You haven’t changed a bit, Gloria, not a bit.

Gloria: Neither have you, I can see!

Pablo: You’re still that same woman who cursed me to hell because I happened to be

Mario’s friend long before you met him. Time has not made you any kinder to me. You still hate me, don’t you.

Gloria: Yes! And I wish you’d stay away from us for the rest of our lives!

Pablo: Am I not staying away from you?

Gloria: Then why are you here?

Pablo: God! May I not even drop in now and then to see if life has been kind to you?

How are you getting along?

Gloria: (Scornfully) We were doing well until you showed up!

Pablo: Your daughter – she was only that high when I saw her last – how is she?

Gloria: (Curtly) She’s all right!

Pablo: Oh and I thought she had not been very well.

Gloria: (Suspicious) How did you know?

Mario: (Stammering) I . . . no . . . how could I? I haven’t seen him in a long, (to Mario)

Did you tell him?

Pablo: What is she sick with?

Gloria: (Curly) We don’t know!

Pablo: Don’t you think you should take her to a doctor? (puts his foot down and pulls out

his wallet) Here. I’ll lend you a few pesos. It may help your daughter to get well.

Gloria: (Scornfully) We need it all right – but no, thank you!

Pablo: Why don’t you take it?

Gloria: Paying you back will only mean seeing your face again.

Pablo: Well, if you hate my face so much you don’t have to pay me back. Take it as a


Gloria: That’s more reason I should refuse it!

Pablo: All right, if that’s how you want it. (sits down and plays with the wallet)

Gloria: Mario has stopped depending on you since the day I took him away from your


Pablo: Haven’t you realized by now that it was a terrible mistake – your taking him away

from my “clutches”?

Gloria: I have no regrets.

Pablo: How about Mario? Has he no regrets either?

Gloria: He has none.

Pablo: How can you be so sure? When he and I were pals, we could go to first – class

air –conditioned movie houses every other day. I’ll bet all the money I have here now (brandishing his wallet) that he has not been to one since you “liberated” him from me. And that was almost four years ago.

Gloria: One cannot expect too much from honest money – and we don’t.

Pablo: (Rises and walks about) What is honest money? Does it look better than

dishonest money? Does it buy more? Or honesty? What is it? Dressing like that? Staying in this dungeon you call a house? Is that what you so beautifully call “honesty”?

Mario: (Rises) Pablo!

Pablo: (Derisively) See what happened to your daughter. That is what honesty has done

to her. And how can honesty help her now? She’s not sick and she needs no medicine. You know that. You know very well what she needs: food. Good food. She is undernourished, isn’t she?

Mario: Pablo!

Gloria: I know you have come to lead him back to your dishonest ways, but you can’t He

won’t listen to you now! We have gone this far and we can go on living without your help!

Pablo: (Sarcastic) You call this living? This, Gloria, is what you call dying – dying slowly

– minute by minute. (laughs)

Mario: (Crosses to him and shakes him) Pablo, stop it! (Pablo stops) You shouldn’t have

come –

Pablo: (Brushes him off) I got tired of waiting for you!

Gloria: So you have been seeing each other! I was afraid so!

Pablo: He came to the house yesterday –

Mario: Pablo, don’t!

Pablo: (Ignoring Mario) – He said he would be back this noon. But he didn’t show up. I

came because I was afraid his conscience was bothering him.

Mario: Pablo, I told you she should not know!

Pablo: It’s all right, Mario. You’d better tell her what you told me: that you no longer

believe in the way she wanted you to live. Tell her. (Mario turns his back on them)

Gloria: (Crosses to Mario) Mario . . . is this what you meant by another job? Oh, Mario . .

. you promised me you were through with him. You said you’d go straight . . . and never go back to that kind of life . . .

Mario: (Turns around and holds her arm, stammering) Gloria, . . . you . . . you must try

to understand . . . I tried . . . I tried long and . . . lift us out of this kind of life . . .

Gloria: (Crosses to center and shouts at Pablo) You’re to blame for this, you son – of –

the – Devil! You’ve come to him when you know he’s down –

Pablo: He came to me first –

Gloria: -- When you know he’ll cling to anything and do anything! Even return to the life

he hates? (Crosses to him and tries to strike him)

Pablo: (Easily warding off her fists) All right, all right, I’ll leave – just as soon as Mario is

ready to go.

Gloria: He’s not going with you! (crosses to center)

Pablo: Is that so? Why don’t you ask him? (sits on the bench, grinning)

Gloria: (Shouts) I said he’s not going!

Pablo: (Points to Mario) Go on, ask him.

Gloria: (Turns to Mario) You’re not going with him, are you, Mario? Tell that crook you’re

not going with him anywhere! Tell him to leave us and never come back! Tell him to go please, Mario, please . . .

Mario: (Holds her arm) Gloria, I . . .

Gloria: Mario . . . I know he has talked to you and tried to poison your mind again . . . but

don’t go with him. Thisis still the better way of life. If things have not been turning out well, you must know that God is not letting us down. He is only trying us.

Mario: (Holds her) Gloria, I . . .

Gloria: (Pulls away from him) You’re going! I can see that you want to go with him.

Ohhhh . … (cries) You’ll leave me here again, wondering whether you’ll be shot in the head or sent to jail!

Pablo: (Behind the tree) Don’t worry about him, Gloria. He’s safe with me. He won’t

come anywhere near jail. I’ve got connections –

Gloria: (Like a berserk beast, she rushes at him and claws at his face) You hideous

beast! You . . . You . . . Get out! Get out!

Mario: (Pulls her away) You stay there, Pablo. I’ll be with you in a minute. (Leads her to

the steps: Pablo fixes his clothes, cursing.)

Mario: (Firmly) Gloria, I’m going with him.

Gloria: Don’t, Mario, don’t . . .

Mario: You can’t make me stop now. I’ve thought about this since last week.

Gloria: No, no, Mario, no . . . (holds fast to him)

Mario: (Loosens her hold) You take good care of yourself and our child. I’ll take good

care of myself. Don’t wait up for me. I’ll come home very late. (Mario walks away with Pablo. Gloria stares dumbly at them, too spent to run after them. Then she shouts.)


(She covers her face with her dress and cries into it. From inside, the daughter

joins her in crying as the curtains close.)