The Intemperate Musings Of The Noted Actress Senora Villegas

Such children, our playwrights; they labor

Under the sad misconception that, having written their labored little prose,

They shall be presented wholly unfiltered by the performers.

From God’s lips to their ears, they say, ostensibly joking

While their features and inflection bear full witness

To how deeply serious they are in truth.

The poor souls have no idea—really, no more than infants,

Every last one of them—just how little their tottering little farces say

Concerning the profundity of suffering, the fever of desire,

(How could they know, locked away in their rooms with nothing

But their parchment and quills—truly, from whence will come

The Moreto or de Molina for our age, artists yet men as well?)

And yet the trained performer (ah, and how diverse those classrooms may be!)

Can, with no more than the odd inflection, the certain insouciance

In the crook of an elbow, the telltale arch of an eyebrow

As another actor declaims his lines, provide blood and marrow

To the sad scratchings of the purported author, create deeper meanings

Never conceived of by the dramatist.  How many nights have I shot glances

At these poor men of letters, wringing their hands anxiously in the wings

On the opening night of their turgid little set pieces.

What performances—however involuntary and unconscious—they would give,

Their faces contorting with surprise and fury,

Fists clenching with rage or grabbing at their tresses

In frustration and stupefaction at what had been made of their foolish idioms,

And, after a surfeit of bows had been taken, they would come to me,

Bowing slowly, stiffly, mechanically in an effort to keep their anger

From virtually surging from their bodies, saying Truly, Senora,

I did not know what effect your legerdemain could have

Upon the audience and my humble words, but, for all their politeness,

Their hatred is palpable, for I have thrown their cherished natural order

On its head, as I have usurped them as the creator.

 

Still, one should not be so harsh with these hijos;

The error is a common one—so many viceroys and kings,

So many priests and archbishops have tried to fix the yoke

Of man’s poor misapprehension upon the forces of the universe,

Forces which would brush them into the abyss

With no more forethought than they would rend the web

Of the poor, innocent spider.  I have, on several occasions,

Accompanied many a man of means to the gaming table,

Have seen them win handsome sums and seen others lose those

Every bit as spectacular.  I have found the victors to be men

Who do not try to ascertain the hidden mysteries of the deck,

Nor do they bemoan the fact that they are denied the deal,

But rather treat the cards as simple things (No more than

Mere bits of paper, drabs of colored ink), minute stages

Provided to display one’s craft and wisdom in the pursuit

Of pleasure and profit.

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