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The Vigil

it is an audiovideo work byPasquale Misuraca

acted by Gayle Li Maxwell Ilabaca


What are you doing Dad?

Goodbye dad... I preferred to choose your camera and a used video of yours to say goodbye...

Listen... when you’ll be seeing and hearing me, I won’t be alive anymore.

But we will see each other again, be sure of it... as sure as I am; and I was sure even when I was wrong...

We’ll meet again and you won’t scold me for this, will you?

I’ll leave my room tidy... mom will be happy of one thing at least...

Be calm, dad. Remember what you told me when I was little?

When you’ll see me angry, to calm me down it’ll be enough for you to say, in a low voice, looking me straight in the eyes: “calm down, dad”

Well, here it comes: “calm down, dad, calm down...”

I couldn’t make it... I couldn’t make it!

How many times have I tried it?

Not even this last time I could pass the admission exam to the School of Theatre...

Don’t you believe me? It is true...

I played that scene from Hamlet where Ophelia, grief-stricken for her father’s death and because her boyfriend raped her gracelessly and making her unhappy, let the King know she is about to kill herself... The irony of destiny!

I don’t know where I got it wrong... Where did I make a mistake?

I convinced you I could make it, and you made so many sacrifices for me, believing in me!...

With your suitcase, always on a rush... Poor daddy...


Where is your splendid Majesty of Denmark?

QUEEN: - Ophelia, how are you?

My love, how will you come to me in the future?

Will you come penitent to beg for my slit?

Or, like a warrior, to run through me with no tenderness or care?

QUEEN: - Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Say you? nay, pray you, mark.

He is dead and gone, lady,

He is dead and gone;

At his head a grass-green turf,

At his heels a stone.

QUEEN: - Nay, but, Ophelia!

Pray you, mark.

White his shroud as the mountain snow…

Enter KING

…larded with sweet flowers

which be wept to the grave did go

with true-love showers.

KING: - How do you, pretty lady?

Well, God‘ild you! They say the owl was a baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!

KING: - Conceit upon her father…

Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they

ask you what it means, say you this:

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day,

As Juliet or Beatrice

All in the morning betimes

And I a maid at your window.

Like a bird of prey

You have taken me

And you deflowered me

With no grace nor peace.

KING: - Pretty Ophelia!

Indeed, without an oath, I'll make an end on it:

To you, righteous sky, I ask for consolation

And the Virgin gave me her protection.

The cause to my misery

Has been his audacity.

What a fool I have been!

A hundred times you told me,

Wickedly lying

That you would have married me.

Now you say: I would have done it

If you did not unwarily

Had gott yourself into my bed.

KING: - How long has she been thus?

Everything will be for the best: have a little patience. Thank you so much for your good advice! Have my carriage ready! Good night everybody; good night my friends; good night, good night.

Here, dad. What do you think?

Was I getting the character straight?

And did you notice that I changed Shakespeare’s words to make them stronger?

Would I become a secretary and give up, just like you, what I am?

You did it for me, but I am already an old maid.

What else can I do here in Santiago? I didn’t learn a thing in school...

It was only literature that I loved: Don Quixote, Neruda, Gabriela Mistral...

Damn! The red light is on... the tape is almost over...

Mom: about the rest... give my dolls and my clothes to poor girls.

And for the rest, please... everything: necklaces, earrings, pencils, notebooks... nothing should remain at home...

Well, of course there are the pictures... you wouldn’t throw them away, would you?

Adolfo, my love, I am going.

We won’t see each other anymore.

But I am leaving you this.

I leave you my body to remember, this very body that you thought you loved so much, this body you had so many times, this body that gave you pleasure, but that you didn’t really know.

Well, you can’t have me this time, so: be calm!

I want to give you my hair, my eyes, my mouth, my neck, my arms, my breasts, my hands, my waist, my hips, my legs, the fingers on my feet.

Through them I can part joy from weeping

The two fabrics of my singing

I want to leave you all of my body... sensible... anxious... and you took it always with no tenderness, always looking forward to the only thing you really wanted...

No, you were good in bed, you can brag about this, Hamlet... I mean, Adolfo...

But what about intelligence? Grace? Tenderness? Love?

My love, how will you come

To me in the future?

Will you come penitent

To beg for my slit?

Or, like a warrior, to run through me

With no tenderness or care?

Tenderness rhymes with niceless... But, am I nice?

I am not tall, nor delicate, nor blond, nor have I blue eyes...

An ordinary woman... just like the professors told me. A face in the crowd striving for recognition.

What does it matter now anyway? I can’t use it anymore, I couldn’t use it to be loved, nor to act in the great theatre that the world is. The world refused it!



And now, world, I bid you farewell!

Tell me, why did you push me away? Why didn’t you accept me as I am?

I only wanted to be myself, find the best in me and give it to everybody, transform it in living art.

I wanted to make the world a happier place, or maybe just make people laugh and cry in front of the scene.

I wanted to be the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, a spider drawing its web under the moon rays.

But you left the caterpillar die inside its cocoon and you destroyed the web I just started.

What is it you did not like in me? Am I too independent? Yes! Too ambitious? Yes...

Aren’t I most beautiful? Aren’t I excellent? So? Do only homecoming queens and straight A’s students have the right to express themselves?

You were right, it was a crazy dream the one I had. The illusion of a little girl wanting to be the Queen. But when she grew up, she remained a little girl.

You were right, mom, when you told me to grow up. To be realist, not to fly too high because the fall would have been all the more hard.

You were right, my middle class girlfriends, you, that made me feel out of place. You told me to keep my head down and my legs wide open if I wanted to climb the social ladder.

You were right, my poor neighbourhoods girlfriends, when you told me to enjoy life while I could. But you also told me to find myself a place, a calm and working husband and to be happy to be just like all the rest.

And you were right, professors. You finally freed me of my ridiculous stubbornness.

Why did you choose to act an angelic and beautiful princess instead of a robust peasant or a coquettish maid?

Right, the proper body for the role…

An actress must have a sense of proportions… and of reality!

And she must be able to memorize twenty blasted verses of a sacred text…

My friend, she dared correct Shakespeare!

Were you talking? Well, listen to this!

Cruel and imbecile professors

Slick or submissive classmates

Distrustful and weak mothers

Princes who want slaves…

They won! Yes, they won over me.

What did they gain, anyway?

The professor got to preserve their mummified texts and compete on whose the most critical?

The middle class girls to get their way and the low class to conform to a life without courage?

The mothers got to cut the wings of their children or otherwise repeat: “I told you so”?

And the blue princes, what did they get? To have a good time and brag about their conquests?

No, you did not win anything because you already had it before me and I did not keep my head down.

And you won’t have me. Instead, you’ll lose me…

I won’t be as you wanted me… won over… submitted… obedient… sexual object… humble and resigned…

What next?

How do they rest, Lord, sleeping the suicides?

A lump in their mouth, emptied heads,

The sockets of their eyes pale and swollen,

Their hands oriented towards and invisible anchor?

Or do You just come after men have left

And turn down the eyelid on the blinded eye,

Reassess the interiors with no pain or sound

And cross your hands on my silent chest?

Do answer me, Lord: when the soul runs away

From the door, long wet by deep wounds,

Does it enter in your orbit cutting calmly through air

Or does it make the shrieking sound of maddened wings?



The Vigil is dedicated to an adolescent named Eftimios

The theatrical, musical, poetical parts are excerpts from:

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Gracias a la vida by Violeta Parra

Interrogaciones by Gabriela Mistral


Claudio Barría Mancilla


photography and sound engineering

(February 2001)

Gabriel Razeto


(March 2001)

Mario Di Chiara

post production



ALFAZITA di Alexandra Zambà


Gayle Li Maxwell Ilabaca

written and directed by

Pasquale Misuraca