El Tigre


CHARACTERS
(in order of appearance)


Storyteller
Mr. Jaguar
Ms. Jaguar
(Kit)Juan Darien
Hunter
Mother
Snake
Teacher
Student 1
Student 2
Student 3
Student 4
Pallbearer
Circus Barker
Trapeze Artist
Knife Thrower
Animal Trainer
Mayor
Child 1
Child 2


Non Speaking Characters include: Senor, Mr. Bones (Death), Grandmother, Grandfather, Milk Maid, Farmer, Herdsman, Priest, Bride and Groom, Altar boy, Nursing Mother, Students, Townspeople, Tigers, etc.

Doubling is possible for many speaking and non-speaking roles.


ACT I, Scene 1

(At Rise: A man sits with his back against an adobe wall and a sombrero is tilted down over his eyes. Suddenly HE appears to waken, agitated. HE addresses the audience.)

STORYTELLER.

Stop... Senor and listen, por favor!
From dreams have I now found release, or
Am I caught in these illusions yet?
Permit me to recount what I have spied,
Then you, the matter, must decide.
I wandered through a jungle some,
And came upon a town beset,
With melancholy groans that come from
Every house and church and public square,
For an appalling plague has struck them there,
And so affected, many villagers have died.

(MR. BONES appears and dances with the old man and woman and each character mentioned)

Death carried off the nodding pair,
The grandmother and grandfather,
Who smoothed their grandchild's hair.
Yes, and it struck the milk maid, too;
And, taking from that death a cue,
It struck the cow and chicken too.
The maize no longer felt the hoe,
For so the farmer was laid low.
Nor did the herdsman, or the herd, survive
Nor was the priest left long alive.
The fortune of the bride and groom
Was but a short-lived honeymoon;
An uninvited specter at the feast
Left not until his palm was creased
With a grave, pestilential, triste.
Nor was the mewling infant spared,
Nor altar boy uniquely fared.
The nursing mother's milk went dry,
No longer hearing the new baby's cry.
And when the bitter plague was done,
When all were dead, or fled, save one,
Who still remained within her home;
The jungle, then, o'er grew the town.
But who was left alive of all
That once had lived there, great and small?
It was a woman, childless now,
Without a husband, horse, or cow.
And every day she cut a flower,
Hoping to receive its power.
Though never did she bloom like it!
For after the plague's fury hit,
She could not that grief quit.
While all around the fecund jungle lay,
And in itís fronds the beasts did play!

MR. JAGUAR.

Come my pretty, come with me!

MS. JAGUAR.

Oh Sir, where are you taking me?

MR. JAGUAR.

Far from the lonely sadness of the loon,
To the intoxicating gardens of the moon!

MS. JAGUAR.

For sure that is a spot that's rare!
We can enjoy our revels there!

MR. JAGUAR.

I will give you sweet pleasure and a kit
And you shall evermore remember it!

(THEY go off)

STORYTELLER.

And so a Jaguar cub was born,
Betimes, upon a winter's morn.
Into a world both lush, and green,
Into a world that hummed unseen.
And pleased was he, the master, small,
With Mother there at every call!
But to this rich and verdant spot
A hunter came with gun and shot,
Just looking for an ornamental thing,
A bird, or snake, or jaguar skin.

HUNTER.

This fine birdís bright feather will make a hat.
I am certain of that!
And this serpentís shiny scales
Will certainly enhance my sales!
But still, a jaguar fur's a prize
That can make any buyer rise
And seize it, quickly, if he's wise!

STORYTELLER.

The Hunter waited, silent as the trees,
And listened to the sound on every breeze.
He listened for the low and carefree growl,
Looked for the fearsome jaguar's tawny cowl,
Arising from the dappled jungle floor,
Arising to drink, or to eat, once more.
But at that special, clanging hour
Did all the animals begin to cower,
Except man, trusting to the rifle's power,
Rose, and looking grim and dour,
Destroyed the jewel of nature's bower.
And when he came upon his kill,
There lying in its warm blood still,
His eyes alight with gory thrill
For hunting was his only skill,
Then had he not yet all his fill!
Examining what he had shot,
He knew that this mother was not
Alone, but had a kit with her.
And so he listened, yet once more,
To see whether the kit might stir,
And he obtain another fur.
But the kit had perceived the power
Of the hunter, and the rifles glower,
So it was still, as sunshine that hour,
Before the dark, before the showír.
The hunter looked then to detect the track,
But dusk had fallen, and the night was black.
And the kit, with his Mother dead,
It having waited out the hunter, fled.

ETC.