Cova da Iria

by Steve Capra
stevecapra@pipeline.com

Place: A field in Portugal

Time: May, 1917

Characters:

Fausto, a young man of about 20
A Young Woman, 16-years-old
Lucia, a girl of ten

Synopsis

Two lovers meet in a field. They meet a child, a shepherdess. She tells the man that the young woman is pregnant, then runs off. The young man abandons the young woman. The child returns and mistakes the woman for someone else..


[At opening, Fausto alone. After a pause, we hear a shout from far off –
a joyful sound, part song, part holler, part summons, part announcement.
]


Lucia [off]
Hail Mary! [long pause] Hail Mary!

Fausto
[yelling]
Shut up! 

[The Young Woman enters. She’s dressed carefully in a white dress with a blue mantle.

Fausto
What took you so long?

The Young Woman
You said at the Cabeço. 

Fausto
I said at Cova da Iria

The Young Woman
I’m sorry.

Fausto
Do you have it?

The Young Woman [handing him money.]
Here.

Faust
 I’ve been here for a half hour.

The Young Woman
I’m sorry.

Fausto [counting the money.]
I’ll need more.

The Young Woman
I don’t know if I can get it.


Fausto
You have to.

Lucia [off]
Hail Mary!

The Young Woman
All right.

Fausto
You’re out of breath.

The Young Woman
I ran.

Fausto
I’ve been here for a half hour.

The Young Woman
I’m sorry.

Fausto
All right. [kisses her] I love you.

The Young Woman
I love you too.

[They lie on the grass.]

Fausto
Happy to see me?

The Young Woman
Of course.

Lucia [off]
Hail Mary!

Fausto
Think I’m the greatest?

The Young Woman
The greatest guy in Portugal.

Fausto
Get it for me tomorrow.


The Young Woman
What?

Fausto
The money.

The Young Woman
I can’t. Padre José wants me at the church.

Fausto
Tell him your father needs you at home.

The Young Woman
All right.

[They kiss.]

Fausto
It’s warm today.

The Young Woman
It’s nice.

Fausto
You’re nice.

The Young Woman
Nicest girl in Portugal.

Fausto
Next to Irena Manarto.

[They’re laughing.]

The Young Woman
Noooo! She’s not so nice!

Fausto
She’s nice!

The Young Woman
Noooo!

Fausto
She’s so nice!


The Young Woman
Nooo! She’s not so nice!

Fausto
She’s nice…

The Young Woman
Noooo!

Fausto
…but not as nice as you.

[They kiss.]

Lucia [off, but closer]
Hail Mary!

Fausto
I wish that kid would shut up!

The Young Woman
It’s just one of the shepherd girls.

Fausto
Oh help me! I’ve lost my sheep! Help me! Help me!

[They laugh, kiss]

The Young Woman
Where will we live?

Fausto
When?

The Young Woman
When we’re married.

Fausto
Wherever you want.

The Young Woman
Will we have a house?

Fausto
Of course we’ll have a house.

The Young Woman
By the sea?

Fausto
If you want. Almada. I can fish.

The Young Woman
You can’t fish!

Fausto
Of course I can! You should see me toss that net! Haul it in… Cod… sardines… o-o-octopus…

The Young Woman
Eek!

Fausto
With all their arms… Help! I’m being eaten by an octopus!

The Young Woman
Eek!

Fausto
Help! Save me from this octopus!

The Young Woman
Eek!

Fausto [tickling her]
Ooooh, you’re getting fat!

The Young Woman [to get him to stop]
What’s this bush?

Fausto
A holm oak.

The Young Woman
What’s that buzzing sound?

Fausto
I don’t hear anything.

The Young Woman
Something wonderful’s going to happen.

Fausto
You’re going to be on time?

[They laugh, kiss]


Lucia [off, but close]
Hail Mary!

Fausto
Jesus Christ! [yelling] Hey, kid! Come here.

Lucia [enters]
Yeah?

Fausto
What’s your name?

Lucia
Lucia.

Fausto
What are you yelling for?

Lucia
We’re praying the Rosary.

Fausto
Who taught you to pray like that?

Lucia
Somebody.

Fausto
Do you think the Holy Virgin hears you?

Lucia
Yeah. She hears us.

Fausto
Who told you that?

Lucia
Somebody smarter than you.

Fausto
Well - shut up. You make too much noise.

Lucia
I won’t.

Fausto
The Holy Virgin hears you when you pray quietly.

Lucia
Who told you that?

Fausto
The Bishop himself.

Lucia
What Bishop?

Fausto
You’re a fresh kid, aren’t you.

Lucia
Maybe.

Fausto
Come here.

Lucia
I won’t.

Fausto
You’re funny looking – ya know that?

Lucia
Not as funny looking as you are.

Fausto
You little bitch! Get out of her before I slap you. [She doesn’t move.] Scram!

Lucia
She’s pregnant, you know.

Fausto
What?!  Get out of here before I teach you a lesson! Get out!

Lucia
[running off, calling to someone]
Jacinta!

The Young Woman
What a silly girl…

Fausto
She needs a kick in the backside.

Lucia [off]
Hail Mary!

Fausto [yelling]
Shut the hell up!

The Young Woman
Tell me about our house.

Fausto
What house?

The Young Woman
In Almada.

Fausto
Oh… it’ll be nice… We’ll have lots of cats.

The Young Woman
Shorthairs?

Fausto
Yeah… if you want… shorthairs…

The Young Woman
And it’ll be near the sea…

Fausto
Yeah… Almada’s near the sea… It’ll be close…

The Young Woman
Will we have a garden like Padre José’s?

Fausto
Yeah… if you want… with lavender…

The Young Woman
Lavendar and morning glories.

Faust
Yeah…

The Young Woman
And lilies. We have to have lilies!

[pause]

Fausto
Is it true?

The Young Woman
Yes.

Fausto
Why didn’t you tell me?

The Young Woman
I was going to.

Fausto
That’s bad news.

The Young Woman
Yes.

Fausto
How long?

The Young Woman
Not long.

Lucia [off]
Hail Mary!

Fausto
We’ll go to Juan. He’ll take you to someone in Lisbon.

The Young Woman
No.

Fausto
What?

The Young Woman
I don’t want to.

Fausto
Well - you have to!

The Young Woman [timidly]
I won’t.

Fausto
You’re too young!

The Young Woman
I’m sixteen!

Fausto
Sixteen’s too young!

The Young Woman
Who told you that?

Fausto
Are you crazy? Your father will kill me! He hates me anyway!

The Young Woman
We’ll be married by then.

Fausto
When?

The Young Woman
When he’s born.

Lucia [off]
Hail Mary!

Fausto
No… it’s too soon.

The Young Woman
What?

Fausto
It’s too soon. We have to wait until I get back.

The Young Woman
From where?

Fausto
The front. I’ve enlisted.

The Young Woman
Mother of God!

Fausto
It’s my duty.

The Young Woman
We can get married first.

Fausto
There’s no time. I have to leave next week.

The Young Woman
Why didn’t you tell me?

Fausto
I was going to.

The Young Woman
You can’t!

Fausto
Who told you that?

The Young Woman
How long will you be gone?

Fausto
I don’t know.

The Young Woman
What about our house?

Fausto
Don’t you get it? I have to go to war!

The Young Woman
What am I going to do?

Fausto
Juan will take you to Lisbon.

The Young Woman
I won’t go.

Fausto
Yes you will.

The Young Woman [not so timidly]
I won’t.

Fausto
Maria… listen… You know I love you… I’d marry you today if I could… You could have the baby. We could get a house in Alamada… But we’re at war. I have to enlist. It’ll only be for a year or so. The war won’t last much longer. But you can’t have a baby now. You have to wait until I come back. What about your mother? She’s so proud of you.  And what about the poor kid? Think of him. He won’t have a father. You know how they’ll treat him. Don’t you see? We can’t just think of ourselves. It’d be selfish.

The Young Woman
Padre José will take me in.

Fausto
You can’t tell him!

The Young Woman
I can!

Fausto
You little bitch! 

The Young Woman
What?

Fausto
You want to trap me!

The Young Woman
No… I don’t.

Fausto
You tricked me!

The Young Woman
I didn’t…

Fausto
You told me it would be all right!

The Young Woman
I thought it would be. I didn’t know…

Fausto
You lying little slut!

Lucina [off]
Hail Mary!

The Young Woman
I’m not!

Faust
You’re not going to Padre Jose!

The Young Woman
Yes I am!

Fausto
Get away from me!

The Young Woman
Fausto…

Fausto
Stay away from me! I’m leaving!

The Young Woman
You can’t!

Fausto
You go to Padre José if you he’ll have you! But don’t come near me! I’m leaving! 

The Young Woman
When will you be back?

Fausto
When the war’s over! Unless I’m killed! Then I’ll never be back!

[He runs off.]

The Young Woman
Wait! Fausto! Come back! Fausto!

Lucia [off]
Our Father!

The Young Woman
Fausto! [Pause] Mother of God! Mother of God!

[She  takes out a rosary and begins to pray softly. Lucia enters.]

Lucia
What’s your name? [The Young Woman doesn’t answer.] Where’s your boyfriend gone? 


The Young Woman
Go away, Lucia. Pray the Rosary. And say the whole prayers, not the just the beginnings. The Holy Virgin hears you when you say the whole prayers.

Lucia
Who told you that?

The Young Woman
The Bishop told me. The Bishop of Fatima himself.

Lucia
Are you the Virgin Mary?

The Young Woman
Yes… Yes, that’s who I am… I’m the Virgin Mary.

Lucia [running off, calling to her friends]
Jacinta! Francesco!

[The young woman is left alone.]


Lights fade out.


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