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A Three Act Stage Play
Ray Wilson
Copyright ©1981, 1994, 2007 by Ray Wilson


Act I

i. Lead characters meet.     ii. Juan meets Mary.     iii. Juan meets Bishop's staff.    iv. Juan meets Bishop.    v. Tony agrees to listen.
vi. Juan Bernadino ill.    vii. Healing & sign.    viii. The staff & the roses.    ix. The miraculous image.

Before curtain opens, strains of Spanish Music on guitar (preferably "De Colores").

Curtain opens to: ACT I.Scene i: Introduction to characters, plot, and narration mechanics

Set #1: Pablo's Cantina in Mexico City in the 1950's.

Pablo is wiping Table C. Guitarist is seated at Table D. Juanita is pushing a push-duster, moving toward stageleft, in front of Table A.

Note that "stage left" and "stage right" are to the ACTORS' left and right.

←Stage Right             Stage Left→

JUANITA:All right, Papa. Move this last table for me and we will be all set.

She moves to center stage as Pablo walks toward Table A.

PABLO: Today, Juanita, I feel something very special is going to happen -- something good, my beautiful child

As he finishes speaking he pulls Table A in front of the curtain line. Juanita pushes the broom from center stage through the spot where the table had been. The table is NOT moved back into its original position, but remains in front of the curtain line, to the far left.

JUANITA: That's nice, Papa; but every day here with you is good.

Juanita moves to position behind bar, busying herself as Tony and Mazi appear in doorway.

TONY: (loud; boisterous) Hey, Pancho! Are you open yet?

PABLO: (friendly recognition; welcoming) For you, we are most certainly open, Señor Perrochi. However, my name is Pablo!

TONY: Oh yeah. Sorry about that. I guess us gringos aren't too good with Mexican names.

The Perrochi's sit at Table A.

PABLO: You are a very welcome gringo, Señor, as is your lovely wife. Your hearts are in the right place.

TONY: Mazi here thinks I was rude to you yesterday when I wouldn't have anything to do with that religious business.

MAZI: (sarcastically) Y'know, Tony, you really got a lot of class!

PABLO: Oh no, Señor! You are -- how you say -- very blunt, frank -- but not rude. You are just very honest. You simply do not yet see things as I do. But you will -- in God's time.

TONY: Hey, Pablo, do you think that God's plans for us might include a couple of bowls of chili?

JUANITA: (calling from bar) I know they are in Papa's plans for you. That is why we put the sign out front, Señor. Do you want coffee, too?

MAZI: Yes, dear. Thank I mean -- gracias.

Mazi pronounces " gracias" as "grassy ass".

TOM and CONSUELA SMITH enter and sit at a table.

MAZI [cont]: (turning to Pablo) And Señor Pablo, Tony does want to hear you tell us that story about Our Lady of .. of .. of ....

PABLO: Guadalupe, Señora. But the man who should tell you has just come in. He is an American.

Pablo indicates the Smiths.

TONY: I came here to get away from Americans. You introduce us and I bet his first words will be "Merry Christmas!"

MAZI: Tony! You promised!

TONY: Okay, Mazi. You got it. (Then, to Pablo) You want your American friends to tell us about Guadalupe? I tell ya what Tony Perrochi 's gonna do -- he's gonna listen! (Then to Mazi) How's that?

MAZI: (Dryly) I'm proud of you. (Then to Pablo) Would you ask them to join us?

Pablo goes to the Smith's table as Juanita delivers two bowls to the Perrochis. Smiths smile, agree, get up and move to Table A. Tony rises to greet them. After the greetings -- below -- Juanita continues serving, bringing first the Perrochis' coffee, then more chili and coffee to the Smiths!

PABLO: Señor and Señora Perrochi, my new good friends; allow me to introduce my very old friends, Señor and Señora Smith.

TOM: (Hand extended) Call me Tom, folks. This is my wife, Consuela.

TONY: (mock propriety) Good afternoon. I am Anthony Perrochi at your service. May I present my wife, Maria.

MAZI:-4 (Smiles sickening sweet at Tony) I'm going to kill you. (Then to the Smiths) Call me Mazi. And this banana (indicating Tony) has never answered to anything but "Tony" since he was a child. --- Wait a minute --- maybe we should call him Anthony!?!

They all sit down after shaking hands. Pablo leaves table.

TOM: (To Mazi) I can see how an "Anthony" is called "Tony." But how did a beautiful name like "Maria" become "Mazi"?

TONY: That was my doing. Y' see, to me, "Maria" reminds me of some fat old lady dressed in black and clutching rosary beads.

MAZI: That describes both his mother and his aunt, and he loves them both. But he thinks he has to sound tough.

TONY: Speaking of names, (turning to Consuela) your own name, "Consuela Smith" sounds a little .. er .. (he fumbles unsuccessfully for a word)

CONSUELA: (Offering the word) Discordant?

She smiles with genuine warmth, reassuring Tony.

TONY: Yeah, that's the word I was thinking of. Somehow you don't expect "Consuela" and "Smith" to be on the same person.

CONSUELA: Well, before I took Tom's last name, I was Consuela Isabella Francesca Ramirez. While I was at Radcliffe and doing research on Old Yankee culture, he was one of my specimens. I found him at a nearby boy's school.

MAZI: You went to Radcliffe! A couple of our friends are so proud that their daughter went there. (To Tony) You remember, Tony, the Nicolosis told us it's right next to Harv ...

She stops in the middle of the word, turning to look at Tom.

MAZI (Cont): Oh my!

TOM: (Smiling, gives Consuela a wry, amused look) Nearby boys' school, huh? (Then, turning to the Perrochis) I take it you people are not down here for the feast?

MAZI: Feast?

CONSUELA: Of Our Lady of Guadalupe. December 12th, the anniversary of the miracle she performed near here. They celebrate that and her appearance on nearby Tepeyac Hill.

TONY: As a matter of fact, we really picked this time to come here to get away from legends. And this time I really don't mean to offend because you seem like such nice people. The truth is that I can't even stand Christmas at home. Oh, I know they have Christmas down here too, but I figured that at least I wouldn't have a bunch of relatives forcing me to be a part of all that baloney. You know -- Santa Claus, angels, a virgin mother -- the whole Christmas business, and I do mean business.

The trouble is, I got lousy timing. I run smack into the middle of another legend here.

TOM: Well, I'm not sure your timing is lousy, but it certainly is on the mark. Today is December 9th, the exact day that Mary appeared to Juan Diego.

MAZI: And that happened on this Tepec Hill?

TOM: Tepeyac Hill. About two blocks from here, and over four centuries ago.

TONY: (to Mazi) Yeah. It was right up on top of the hill. Suddenly, there she was; and this Diego guy looks at her and says, "What's a nice Jewish girl like you doing in a place like this?"

The Smiths shake their heads, laughing. But Mazi gives Tony one of those "if-looks-could-kill" looks. She takes Tony's face in one of her hands, a good grip on his jaw and cheeks, turning him so they are looking directly into each other's eyes.

MAZI: You wanta know what's a miracle, huh? I'll tell you what's a miracle. It's a miracle I'm not tearing your mouth out of your face! (Then to the Smiths with dignity and attentiveness) Now, why don't you tell us how it really happened?

CONSUELA: I don't think that we really ....

She is interrupted by Tom.

TOM: You people came her for a vacation -- to get away from things that bother you. There will be a better time than now.

TONY: No! Please tell us about it. I did make a promise to Mazi. Besides, this is at least a different legend. And by now, I guess I am a little curious.

TOM: Okay, since you're asking for it.

He speaks slowly as STAGE LIGHTS begin to dim, except for Table A.

TOM [Cont]: As I said, it was on Tepeyac Hill on December 9, 1531. It was a time when Mexico ....

As the backstage goes dark, CURTAIN CLOSES with the Table A remaining on the audience side of the curtain. Tom's voice begins being heard through the speaker system, as a narrator, apart from the actions to take place on the main stage.

Curtain Closes, but transitional action continues at Table 'A'.
ACT I.Scene Transition 1-2:
Set 2: Transitional Set with Smiths & Perrochis at Table 'A' in front of closed curtain.

TOM [Cont]: .... was under Spanish Conquistador rule. It had been discovered by the Spaniards only fourteen years earlier. Cortez captured this area in 1520, destroying the Aztecs as a nation. Indians were reduced to serfs while all the power, absolute power over life and death, belonged to Spanish soldiers and settlers.

The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan became Mexico City. In this city and the countryside, there developed overnight a very rigid caste system with Indians on the bottom; but many were already used to that. Their rulers merely changed from Aztec to Spanish. To survive, they served their new masters in their households, in their fields, and in their mines. The City Indians became instantly assimilated into the "New Spain" culture -- at the bottom, but assimilated.

Millions of Indians quickly became true Catholics. Still, in the Church, they had absolutely no power or influence. In the city streets they were abused and sometimes even killed by drunken soldiers for pure sport.

Set #3: Tepeyac Hill

ACT I.Scene ii:

JUAN DIEGO enters left and looks around cautiously.

TOM [Cont]: Juan Diego was a fifty year old assimilated Indian who lived a few miles outside the City with his uncle. He had accepted a Spanish name and had even grown a Spanish style beard and moustache. Moreover, he had even become a very devout Christian. In spite of these things, he still found it best to avoid the City and the abuse and danger he might be subjected to there. On December 9th, he was making his way through the countryside when he saw a glow on the side of Tepeyac Hill -- a really isolated place -- and he went to investigate.

The set is dark with a key light on Juan as he wanders around the left side of the stage slowly.

Stage right center, rear. Slowly, bring up key light on MARY. Special effects include mist around her feet, ultraviolet light on clothes, natural white light on face.

MARY: Juan, my little one. Come closer.

Juan is startled, timid; but he approaches her slowly, cautiously.

JUAN: Who are you, My Lady?

MARY: Mary, the mother of Jesus. I am your mother, Juan, and I have a mission for you.

JUAN: (Falls on his knees) For me, Holy Mother? What can I ever do for you?

MARY: You are to bring a message to Bishop Zummarraga in Mexico City. Tell him he is to build a shrine for me on this spot.

JUAN: Holy Mother, I am a poor Indian. I will not be allowed to see the Bishop. And if I do, he will not listen to me.

MARY: Juan, will you do what I ask?

JUAN: (Nods) Si, Holy Mother, si.

MARY: Good, Little One. Go to the Bishop and tell him what I have said. Then come here tomorrow at this same time and tell me his response.

Fade Mary's key light to black. She steps behind curtain. Juan starts picking his way through the shrubs and cacti to exit rear right as Tom continues narration.

Curtain Closes, but transitional action continues at Table 'A'.
ACT I.Scene Transition 2-3:
SET #2: Table A in front of closed curtain.

TOM: Juan obeyed and headed directly for the Bishop's residence in Mexico City. Actually, it was a gutsy thing to do, and he was probably badly frightened. He would not only have to pass soldiers on the streets, but confront them directly at the Bishop's residence. Likely, he would consider himself fortunate to escape with merely a beating. But somehow, he gained admission to the Bishop's reception area. Still, it was several hours before he got a chance to speak to the Bishop's main servants, the Majordomo and his assistant.

Set #4: Bishop's reception room

ACT I.Scene iii:

Juan is standing, hat in hand, alone to left of center, facing center.

MAJORDOMO: I hear you want to see the Bishop. He is too busy to be bothered. What is your business?

JUAN: I have been told that I must see His Excellency. I am to deliver a message.

MAJORDOMO: A message? Tell it to me and I will deliver it. Who is it from?

JUAN: From someone very important who told me to speak to Bishop Zummarraga.

ASSISTANT: Important? Only the Governor General is as important as the Bishop.

JUAN: No, there is someone else, whose importance is known to the Bishop.

MAJORDOMO: (proudly) I am the Majordomo to His Excellency, Bishop Zummarraga. You will give me the name of this person you say is so important -- and the message -- and then you will leave.

JUAN: (trembling) No Señor. I cannot do that.

ASSISTANT: (steps forward and strikes Juan to the ground) Tell us who it is that sends messages through Indian trash!

MAJORDOMO: We will not bother His Excellency with vague claims by a stupid Indian!

JUAN: Please, Señors. I beg you to be merciful. Let the Bishop hear me. I do not have permission to give the message to you -- only to Bishop Zummarraga. It is best for you as well as for me, since this person is of very great importance -- and power!

MAJORDOMO: (pauses thoughtfully) Very well. I will tell His Excellency of your presence and such claims. But he will not believe you and will order me to send you on your way. And I will send you on your way crawling in pain!

Majordomo exits.

ASSISTANT: You were very lucky to get past the soldiers, and very foolish to try. (now disgusted) Hmmph, all this just so you can waste our time.

LIGHTS DIM on stage; LIGHTS UP on Table A as Tom narrates.

TOM: The servants were due for a surprise. Bishop Zummarraga was a true man of God a Franciscan Friar who was more conscious of his role as a priest than his status as the Bishop of Mexico City, the first Bishop in the New World.

ACT I.Scene iv.


BISHOP: Your name is Juan Diego?

JUAN: (Falls to his knees) Si, Your Excellency.

BISHOP: Stand up, my son. Now tell me of this message you have for me from the important person you would not name for my servants.

JUAN: (rising) Your Excellency, she told me I ...

The Bishop interrupts.

BISHOP: (surprised) She??

JUAN: Si. The Lady. She told me I should speak with you -- give you the message.

BISHOP: And who is this lady?

JUAN: Mary... The Virgin Mary.

The Bishop and servants are stunned.
The servants look at one another first with disbelief, then amusement.
The Bishop's expression shows wonder, then intense interest.

MAJORDOMO: (to Bishop) Shall we eject this fraud now? As if the Queen of Heaven would appear before this!

The Bishop raises a staying hand to the Majordomo while looking straight ahead at Juan Diego.

BISHOP: Tell me about this lady -- where she spoke to you -- what she looked like -- and what she said.

JUAN: On Tepeyac Hill, very early this morning, Your Excellency, while it was still very dark. I saw a light on the hill and went to see what it was. It was her.

BISHOP: Do you mean that she had a torch or a candle?

JUAN: No, Your Excellency. I mean it was her! She was the light! It was all around her. She was very beautiful, very holy. She knew my name and told me to come see you.

BISHOP: Si. You said there was a message for me?

JUAN: Si, Your Excellency. She said "Go to the Bishop and tell him to build a shrine for me on this spot."

BISHOP: That was the message?? All of it?

JUAN: Si, Your Excellency.

BISHOP: Did she say anything else?

JUAN: No, Your Excellency. That was the entire message

BISHOP: No, not the message. Did she say any more to you? Did you speak with her? What was said between you?

JUAN: Well, Your Excellency, I protested and did not want to come.

BISHOP: But she insisted?


BISHOP: What did you say when you protested?

JUAN: I told her that I did not think I would be allowed to see you, and that if I was, you would not believe me.

BISHOP: (smiles) And yet you came.

JUAN: Si. (pause) Oh, she also told me to return to her with your response.

BISHOP: Juan Diego, I can see that you are a very honest man. And I believe that you are sincere, that you believe what you are saying. But there must be other answers. Perhaps a very cruel and evil joke is being played on you.

JUAN: No, no, Your Excellency. The lady was very kind, very holy!

BISHOP: Do you drink wine, Señor Diego?

JUAN: Si, Your Excellency, but not for many days.

BISHOP: Have you been tired or sick?

JUAN: I am always tired, Your Excellency. I work hard. But I am not sick.

BISHOP: I am troubled. I know you are honest and sincere. But I do not believe that the Mother of God would want a shrine in such an outlandish place as Tepeyac. Still, there must be some answer....

He pauses in thought, then turns to speak to the Majordomo.

BISHOP [Cont.]: Prepare a messenger pass for Señor Diego.

The Majordomo nods, looking very troubled. He goes to the table, takes a quill pen and writes on a small piece of paper as the Bishop continues to speak to Juan.

BISHOP [Cont.]: (to Juan) This will ensure your safe passage through the City. You return to your lady and tell her that I will certainly obey the Mother of Our Lord Jesus if I know it is her. If she is the Holy Mother, she is able to send me a sign, an indisputable sign that she is who she says she is.

The Majordomo gives Juan the pass, still looking very troubled.

JUAN: Muchos gracias,Your Excellency, muchos graclas.

BISHOP: Vaja con Dios, my son.

Juan exits. As he leaves, the Bishop addresses the Majordomo.

BISHOP: You seem troubled.

MAJORDOMO: Pardon, Your Excellency. But we do not understand. Surely the Virgin Mary would not appear to one such as he??

BISHOP: I would be very suspicious if she appeared to a rich man or a noble. Was she not herself a poor woman? Was our Lord Jesus a landholder, or a governor, or a bishop?

The Majordomo and the Assistant do not answer, but nod, looking chagrined.

BISHOP [Cont.]: I took you as my servants, not because you were important, but because you were good men. Now, because you are the Bishop's servants, you think you are important. You had best be cautious. If you are now important because you serve a bishop, then you should think about Juan Diego and who it is that he might be serving.

LIGHTS UP on Table 'A'.

SET #2: Table A in front of closed curtain.

ACT I.Scene v.

TONY: Y'know, Tom, I gotta admit a couple of things. Y'do tell a good story. This legend beats Santa Claus, although maybe because I haven't been forced to listen to it year after year. And besides, I'm also getting some interesting Mexican history along with the myth.

CONSUELA: Oh, it is no myth, Mr. Perrochi.

MAZI: (to the Smiths) Oh, please ignore my husband's choice of words. He just doesn't see; and he's too stubborn to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

TOM: Tony is no different than I was. He'll see when the time is right

TONY: What is this? Do you and Pablo rehearse your lines together?? That is exactly what he said! Or is that sort of a standard expression, like "Merry Christmas" and "season's greetings"?

MAZI: (to Tony, smiling very sweetly) How about this for a standard? Drop dead!

Tony smiles back, looking very self satisfied. The exchanges here are not hostile.

TONY: (placating) C'mon. Mazi, whad-d'ya want? I'm listening, ain't I?

TOM: Would you like to hear what happened after he left the Bishop's place?

TONY: Say, I've been meaning to ask... What happened to Juan Diego after he left the Bishop's plave?

TOM: (smiling) He went home.

TONY: (good-humored, matter-of-factly) Exciting.

Set #5a: Juan Diego and Juan Bernadino's room (Countryside shrubs ready for transition to #5b)

ACT I.Scene vi:

Juan Diego is kneeling by the bedside of the ailing JUAN BERNADINO, holding his hand.

TOM: Juan had been instructed to meet Mary the following day at the same place and time, that is before dawn. That is why he went home and straight to bed. But there was to be a complication.

Table 'A' light fades to black.

TOM [Cont.]: You see, he lived with his Uncle, Juan Bernadino, an older man in failing health. Juan Diego loved Juan Bernadino like a father, and on this morning he woke to find the older man clearly dying.

Juan rises and exits right, into the darkness.

Table A lights up; Juan's room to black.

OPTION: Stage to Black for set change to 5b behind curtain line.

SET #2: Table A in front of closed curtain.

skrim is fixed in place under cover of the dark. Shrubs etc. also moved into position. Low shrubs frontstage so to not block view of actors. If cover of dark is not suddicient,CLOSE CURTAIN.

TOM [Cont.]: To Juan, his dying Uncle needed a priest ..... He couldn't allow his uncle to die without the last rites of the Church. He saw his appointment with Mary as a complication which could delay him.

TONY: Hold on! Am I picking this up right?? Are you telling us that this character needs religious help, so he is going to stand up the Mother of God to go find a priest??

TOM: That's about it.

Set #5b: Tepeyac Hill with the bedroom black (invisible) behind skrim.

ACT I.Scene vii:

KEY LIGHT on Juan Diego as he makes way from left to right, slowly, evasively.
TABLE A LIGHTS still on full.

TONY: Now, do you see what bugs me about all this religious stuff? It's all so illogical! And I don't mean just that Juan Diego is illogical. I mean that these stories make God illogical! I mean, if God was really taking a hand in things, don't you think he'd pick brighter people than someone who'd pull a dumb stunt like this?

MAZI: (sicky-sweet) Tony, dear. You're beginning to sound like the Bishop's servants.

TONY: What are you talking about?

MAZI: They thought God would only pick rich Spaniards. You think he'd only pick people as smart as you!

TONY: (mock innocence) Oh, I wouldn't limit the selection that much!

CONSUELA: (to Tony) You've made a good point. There is an apparent inconsistency here. On the surface, it often looks like the Lord could have chosen wiser or stronger people to do his work. On the other hand, who on earth would be truly good enough to deserve that honor? To repeat, you are making a good point, but perhaps we should be open to the possibility that God is making his own point.

TONY: Like what?

CONSUELA: (Kindly) Perhaps the least of us, the most imperfect, have some real value that we just don't easily see.

Tom nods agreement.

KEY LIGHT on Juan Diego, center stage. Light is narrow, showing only
Juan Diego in "new location", surrounded by the darkness, backing up around the cactus or boulder.

TOM: Well anyway, Juan was trying to get to a priest in a nearby village while avoiding Mary. So he went around the hill where he was supposed to meet her, but he wasn't about to get away with it.


Unseen by Juan as he backs up, Mary appears behind him, blocking his path.

LIGHTS UP somewhat more in center stage, taking care not to brighten rear corner in front of skrim.

MARY: Juan.

Juan jumps, startled, and turns.

MARY [Cont.] : Where are you going, my little son? What road is this you are taking?

JUAN: Oh, Holy Mother.

MARY: You were to meet me up there on the hill. Where were you going?

JUAN: Holy Mother. My uncle -- Juan Bernadino -- he is dying and I must rush to get a priest.

MARY: My foolish child. Little one, right at this moment ....

LIGHTS UP behind skrim in Juan Bernadino's sick room. Standing in front of the bed is a second Mary, her back to the audience.

MARY [Cont.]: your uncle is being healed.

TOM: At the very moment Mary spoke these words to Juan Bernadino, she also appeared to Juan Bernadino in the hut.

Bernadino sits up, staring. Mary II raises her hand.

TOM [Cont.]: He was instantly healed.

Bernadino stands up, smiles joyously, then falls to his knees in front of Mary II.

ROOM LIGHTS (behind skrim) TO BLACK as Mary and Juan Diego continue center stage conversation, unheard by audience.

LIGHTS DIM to very low in center stage.


MAZI: She appeared in both places at the same time??

TONY: Apparently.

MAZI: (to Tony) Well, my unbelieving husband, what do you think of that?

TONY: (looking sincere, contemplating) It makes me realize that maybe I have missed some things in my life

The others appear surprised at his response.

TONY [Cont.]: I really wish I could have been there

MAZI: (With aroused interest) Why, Honey?

TONY: So I could ask her. "What's a nlce Jewish girl like you doing in two places like this?"

Mazi throws up her hands in frustration. Smiths utter good humored groans.

TOM: Tony, 'tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm going to tell you what that nice Jewish girl was doing in those two places. She was clearing the way for her messenger to get back on the job. When Juan knew his Uncle would be okay, he didn't hesitate; and he asked her for the sign that Bishop Zummarraga had requested.

Table A LIGHTS DIM to low.

Center stage LIGHTS BRIGHTEN on Mary and Juan.

MARY: The good Bishop will have his sign. Juan, climb to the top of Tepeyac. Cut the roses growing there and bring them to me.

Juan nods and exits into the darkness.

Center stage LIGHTS DIM to low.

TOM: Now anyone familiar with this area knows there would be no roses blooming in December, and nothing but brambles and cactus on Tepeyac at any time 0f the year; that is, anyone but someone who had just been told otherwise by the Mother of God.

LIGHTS UP on center stage.

Juan reappears with roses as Tom continues the narration. Mary takes the flowers and says something to Juan, unheard by the audience. Juan then lifts up the lower corners of his tilma. She places the flowers in the pocket formed by the tilma held thusly, arranges them, and then ties the lower corners behind Juan's neck.

TOM: [Cont.] : It wasn't long before Juan returned with his arms full of roses -- beautiful roses of Castille, highlighted by pearl drops of dew.

MARY: (as she finishes arranging the tilma) This is the sign for which the Bishop is waiting. Do not show them to anyone but the Bishop.

LIGHTS UP on Table 'A'.   Fast SET CHANGE behind curtain to Set #4.

SET #2: Table A in front of closed curtain.

ACT I.Scene viii.

TOM: So, in he went again to see the Bishop. He hurried, but carefully watching his step so as not to drop one of the precious roses. He felt good, for he knew that this was the moment that his mission would be successful.


But he was still expecting too much from the Bishop's servants and friends of theirs who hung around the entrance to the Bishop's home and even in the reception room. They stalled and harassed him for many hours until the Majordomo and his sidekick finally appeared. That was late in the day, and no one had told the Bishop that he was there.

CURTAIN OPENS as soon as possible during the above narrative.


Continuing in ACT I.Scene viii:

A few EXTRAS are present, as appropriate.

LIGHTS UP. Enter Majordomo and his Assistant.
Table A LIGHTS DIM to low

MAJORDOMO: So. You are back with your sign. Let me see it.

JUAN: The Lady said I was to show them to no one but the Bishop

The Majordomo nods to his Assistant who steps forward and tries to pull open the tilma. The Assistant is startled by what he manages to see.

ASSISTANT: Roses! He has roses, Roses of Castille! And the morning dew is still fresh upon them.

EXTRA: Dew? That is impossible -- he has been here many hours!

MAJORDOMO: Bring one of the roses to me.

JUAN: (Protesting) They are for the Bishop only!!

The Assistant reaches into the tilma and tries to grab one of the roses in vain. He turns to the Majordomo with sheer fright on his face.

ASSISTANT: Majordomo! The roses! I tried to touch one, and it became part of the cloth!!

MAJORDOMO: (Astonished) What??

ASSISTANT: It is magic! He is a nagual!!!!

The Assistant rushes to the Majordomo and they have a furtive conversation which is unheard by the audience.

LIGHTS DIM on center stage.

LIGHTS UP slowly over Table A.

TOM: The Majordomo and the Assistant were both convinced that Juan was a "nagual", that is, an Aztec sorcerer. Strange, both men were professed Christians, Spaniards living and working in the Bishop's house; yet it never occurred to them that this might in fact be what Juan Diego said it was -- the work of God. They just could not fathom that they might just be witnessing a miracle. Oh, they thought it was supernatural, all right, but they saw it as devilish magic -- and now they were frightened.

Majordomo and Assistant exit hastily.
Extras back away from Juan Diego.

Curtain Closes, but transitional action continues at Table 'A'.
ACT I.Scene Transition 8-9:
SET #2: Table A in front of closed curtain.

TOM [Cont.] : They went to tell the Bishop that the upstart Indian was back again. They felt that they now had the proof that he was a sorcerer.

TONY: Dumb!

MAZI: What's dumb?

TONY: Their boss has asked for a sign, a miracle. Then it comes, obviously supernatural; and they see it as proof he's a wizard or a demon or something. Frankly, it's too stupid to believe. People don't act like that.

CONSUELA: Oh, Mr. Perrochi, they most certainly do! The Pharisees reacted to Jesus' healing people as the work of Satan! And people today can go to Lourdes, Lasallette, and here at Guadalupe and see the Lord working in very miraculous ways; and yet, most ignore it. And when some people can no longer ignore the hand of the Lord in something they don't want to believe, they simply declare it evil.

Let me give you an example. In spite of the obvious role of the Mother of God in all these miraculous events, even my very good, very well educated, husband here once considered the veneration of Mary to be a heresy.

MAZI: You know. I went to the beauty parlor just before we left on this trip, and one of the women there was talking about this very thing! She said it's wrong to worship Mary -- that we're supposed to worship God only!

TOM: She is absolutely right. But I was surprised to learn that is also good Catholic teaching. Before I met Consuela, I didn't know that Catholics don't worship Mary -- they venerate her -- hold her in a place of high honor. That's something they have every right to do for all good and holy people. And she was the most holy of all, though not divine.

But I guess the point Consuela was making is that, at first, I wasn't particularly happy to learn this. You see, I saw my own relationship with God as perfectly adequate. Mary, as the center of heresy, made it easy for me to ignore her, the miracles, and the challenge they posed to my own personal way of believing. In that sense, I wasn't a lot different than many others, including the Majordomo and his Assistant.

TONY: So, what did the Bishop say when these two clowns told him about the witch doctor?

Curtain opens to: ACT I.Scene ix:


Table A LIGHTS DIM to low.
LIGHTS UP at center stage, slowly as Tom speaks next line.

TOM: He reacted with very great, but controlled, anger not at Juan Diego, but at the servants.

BISHOP: You are telling me that you have kept Juan Diego from me for several hours?

MAJORDOMO: (Stammering) Well uh, uh -- yes, Your Excellency, but, but, he would not cooperate while we tried to learn if he really did have a sign.

(Now bolder) He would not allow us to see the roses.

BISHOP: Roses?

MAJORDOMO: Nods in response.

BISHOP: Perhaps you had better tell me everything exactly as it happened.

Stage LIGHTS DIM as discussion continues unheard by the audience.

LIGHTS UP on Table A.

TOM They told the Bishop everything that had happened, about the Roses of Castille, still fresh with the morning dew upon them even after hours in the reception room... And about how, when they tried to touch them, they would disappear or seem to become part of the cloth tilma. They did offer all this as evidence that Juan Diego was a nagual. But the expression on the Bishop's face and the tone of his voice made it quite evident that he saw things in a different light.


The Bishop's face shows extreme anger; his voice is steady and controlled.

BISHOP: Bring Juan Diego to me at once!

The Majordomo backs away, frustrated, frightened.
Turning,he exits left, hurriedly.

BISHOP [Cont.]: (To Assistant) Call in the rest of the household -- and also those waiting ln the reception room. We all may be called upon to witness a miracle!

The Assistant, as bothered as the Majordomo, rushes from the room.

Moments later, two soldiers come quickly into the room, followed by two friars and a male and female household servants.

Next, enter the Assistant followed by the people who were in the reception room. Most line up along the rear wall, behind the Bishop who is facing the audience.

Majordomo enters, then turns to the open door he has just entered and speaks through it.

MAJORDOMO: All right, come on. You may enter now.

Enter Juan Diego, approaching Bishop, back slightly turned to audience -- slightly turned so the front of his tilma cannot be seen by the audience.

JUAN: Your Excellency. I have here the sign you requested. I was to ...

He fumbles with the tied corners behind his neck. The right side of the tilma -- the side away from the audience -- falls and the roses tumble to the floor.
Juan still holds the left corner in his hand, lowered, but still slightly raised so the front of the tilma is still not visible to the audience.
It is visible to the Bishop and those standing behind him.
Majordomo and his Assistant must stand behind Juan Diego and close to him.

The Bishop and those behind him gasp in obvious shock.

BISHOP: Holy Mother ....

He crosses himself and falls to his knees. Those behind him then do exactly the same thing.

Juan obviously does not understand what has happened; nor does the Majordomo and his Assistant.
The two servants circle to see Juan's front, what the others are staring at, and they too fall to their knees.

The left side of the tilma is still held in Juan's hand, obstructing the audience's view.
Juan backs up, confused, turning just enough so, as his hand releases the tilma, its front becomes fully visible to the audience, revealing the full-length miraculous painting of the Blessed Virgin.

Bishop begins leading recital of repeated Hail Marys.
Juan looks down and finally sees what it is all about. Shock on his face.


Recital of Hail Marys drops to murmur as stage light fades and dialogue (below) takes over.
During the following dialogue between Tom and Tony, stage characters are still visible in low light, though background to the table conversation.
During dialogue, Bishop rises, unties tilma from Juan, gives directions to servants who take down the Spanish pennant hanging from a T-stand and replace it with the tilma.
Servants place small table and candles in front of it.

TOM: The Bishop's sign was there all right; but it was more than roses. It was December 12th, 1531, and the Mystical Rose, the Virgin Mary, had bequeathed a gift: the very image of her likeness exactly as she appeared to Juan Diego, imprinted on his tilma. The painting was obviously a masterpiece, of such beauty that there was no way it could have been painted by Juan Diego or anyone else known in the new world at the time.

CONSUELA: The roses should have been enough proof for logical men; but, over time, they would not have been sufficient. Even though people present recognized that the origin of those roses had to be supernatural, people in future years would create logical-sounding excuses for their being there -- as some freak of nature, or perhaps stolen by the Indian from the garden of a Spanish horticulturalist. Even though everyone there knew it was impossible for Roses of Castille to be growing on that side of the ocean at that time of the year, later generations would not be so sure. Even though those present saw the morning dew fresh on the blossoms after hours in the Bishop's reception area, years later others would dismiss it as some quirk of atmospheric conditions.

TONY: Yeah, all that's true enough. But people could do that same sort of thing with the painting, couldn't they?

TOM: That is a question that can only be answered fully by the rest of the story. But, summed up, the answer is "No". There is no earthly or belated logic that can dismiss this painting as anything but miraculous.

TONY: Why not???

TOM: (smiling) That will take the rest of the STORY.

TONY: (grandly) Then, continue!

LIGHTS OUT on stage and over Table A as actors slip behind curtain.


Act II

i. Reaction in Bishop's place.    ii. Shrine is built.    iii. Tony's doubts.    iv. Attack on the portrait.

ACT II.Scene i.

Set #2.




TOM: After the initial shock had waned, things very quickly were a bit more organized. The Bishop first removed the tilma as he apologized for his initial doubts. A procession was quickly formed, led by the Bishop himself, and consisting of his household staff, soldiers, and others who were there seeking audiences with the Bishop. It started in the Bishop's study, moved out into the reception room, then through the surrounding areas. Finally the tilma was placed in the Bishop's private chapel as word of the miracle began spreading among Spanish and Indians alike

CONSUELA: After the ceremony, the Bishop and Juan sat down privately for several hours. The Bishop himself took long and careful notes, documenting everything that had happened to Juan from the moment he first met Mary. From that time on, everything significant that has happened regarding Our Lady of Guadalupe has been carefully recorded as a matter of history (She looks steadily at Tony.) -- history not hearsay, and not legend.

TONY: Well, that answers some questions that have been popping around in my head. It doesn't prove anything; but it does explain how you can describe 400 year old conversations. But it is not the conversations that interest me.

People can SAY anything. I want to hear about action!

TOM: (smiling agreement) Well, the action started as soon as the Bishop put his pen down. He suggested that Juan proceed home to see if his uncle, Juan Bernardino, had really been healed something neither he nor Juan Diego doubted.

TONY: And, of course, he had been healed.

CONSUELA: Of course, but there is even an interesting little story about that. Juan returned to his village with a military escort, and the people there thought he was under arrest. But, in spite of that, these humble village Indians were not intimidated. With Juan Bernadino leading them, they were ready to tell the world about the miracle that had just happened in their village. They had no idea of what Juan Diego had just been through, but the Virgin Mary had appeared in their village, healed a dying man, and given him a message for the Bishop!

TONY: Oh, no! Not another message -- and another story?!?

CONSUELA: No, Tony, you can relax. It was the same message given to Juan Diego -- that a shrine was to be built on Tepeyac Hill.

TONY: And the church finally gets built -- end of story!

MAZI: You are half right, Tony. It was built, but it's not the end of the story. When they completed the original building, a relatively modest one, there was a celebration.' The miracle had a powerful effect on Mexico which, if you think about it, was all of the New World, all of America, at the time.

Everyone was now aware that Mary's messenger had been a poor Indian. Now, Indians flocked into the city without fear and, more important, many of them became true Christians. Although many had been baptized between 1525 and 1530, it was only now that they became true converts to Christianity. They poured into the City for the dedication of the shrine, and the Spanish soldiers celebrated right along with them. Then one of those soldiers had a slight misfortune.

ROLE-11: Oh? What was that?

TOM: A crossbow accidentally discharged, and the arrow pierced his neck.

TONY: And you call that a slight misfortune???

CURTAIN opens, LIGHTS UP as Tom speaks   ACT II.Scene ii:

Set #7: The Church: Altar (stage area) & Projected Murals (audience area).

LIGHTS UP as Tom speaks, respondiong without delay to Tony's last line.

TOM: Well, it would have been a disaster except for one thing --

Two soldiers start from rear of the audience, walking down the center isle toward the stage, bearing a third soldier on a stretcher with an arrow through his neck.

TOM [Cont.]: -- the painting! The soldier was brought into the church to die in front of the painting.

The soldiers climb central stairs to stage and place their dying comrade in front of the painting. One of the litterbearers bends over him and places his hands on the arrow.

TOM [Cont.]: They placed his body in front of the painting and removed the arrow --

The soldier pulls the arrow out of the neck and falls back, shocked.

TOM [Cont.]: -- and the wound instantly healed!

TONY: It what?

The arrow-struck soldier sits up, touches his neck in wonder, then stands as others gather around, examining him.

TOM: It healed -- closed right up and disappeared! And that was just the beginning, the first of many thousands of miraculous healings.

During this last sentence, LIGHTS on altar and soldiers DIMS TO BLACK. Soldiers quickly leave the area. As soon as they are clear, altar LIGHTS and KEY LIGHT on painting COME UP SLOWLY. Tom continues narrative without pause.

TOM [Cont.]: The first building was quite modest, but as the years passed, it was expanded to an impressive structure with

Slide-projected murals on the walls of the theater come on one at a time.

TOM [Cont.]: beautiful murals depicting the original events. Perhaps the most interesting things to be found in that building today

LOW LIGHTS UP in house near stage, center isle. Slowly, steadily, people come forward on crutches, and with canes, leaving them at the altar.

TOM [Cont.]: are the collections of canes, crutches, and wheelchairs left by people who no longer needed them.

People still coming forward with cries of "I can see!", "I can hear!", "Praise God!", "Canta Dias!", and "Deo Gracias!"


ACT II.Scene iii:

Set #2: TABLE 'A' (Curtain still open on Set #7, but STAGE LIGHTS ARE BLACK).

TONY: (shouting) HAL-L-LAY-LOO-YAH! Praise de LORD! The same old story. Heal a blind man here, a deaf man there. This one, but not that one. God loves all of us; but he only heals some of us. Just enough to tease the rest of us! Come on, who's kidding who??

MAZI: What are you trying to say, Tony? Do you really think God is playing games with people?

TONY: No!! PEOPLE are playing games with people! People get sucked into these tourists traps by people. We're handed a bunch of stories that make God look like a monster, if you think about it.

CONSUELA: A monster?!?

TONY: Sure. Like I said, think about it. First, God shows that he can heal us by healing a few. Get that -- a FEW! But we still got cancer and millions of blind, deaf, and crippled people who never get healed!

TOM: You're saying it all makes God look like a big tease?

TONY: Exactly.

TOM: And you believe God wouldn't do that?

Tony pauses before answering, seeking a way to avoid the trap. Then he speaks.

TONY: I don't know what God would or would not do; but I am sure it wouldn't be illogical! God at least has to be intelligent!

MAZI: Oh, how big of you to admit that!

TOM: You're right, Tony. God would not be illogical. But maybe the whole thing iS not as illogical as it sounds.

TONY: Yeah? Let's hear you explain this one.

TOM: Do you recall that Christ healed a number of people during his ministry, including raising some from the dead?

TONY: Of course.

TOM: Okay, now tell me -- what do they all have in common? These people who Christ healed; what do they all have in common?

TONY: (Looks puzzled, repeating ...) What did they all have in common?

TOM: No -- not what did they have in common -- what do they have in common?

TONY: What do they have in common? You mean today??

Tom nods.

TONY [Cont.]: The only thing I can think of is that they are all dead!

TOM: That's exactly it! The people Christ healed did not live forever. Even those he raised from the dead eventually died again!

TONY: What happened? Did the warranty run out??

Grinning, he looks to the others for appreciation of his humor.

TOM: (Smiling) Something like that. It runs out on all of us. The point, however, is that if they were to get sick and die again, then Christ must not have healed them simply so they'd be healthy. There must have been another reason, something more important than that.

TONY: (Responding) The saving of souls?

TOM: Exactly.

MAZI: (Looking impressed with Tony) Well, how about that?

TONY: (To Mazi) Well, I'm not stupid, you know!

Mazi ralses an eyebrow.

TOM: Of course, the healings are only signs -- so that people can learn things important to all eternity, not just the few years we have before the warranty runs out.

TONY: Well, wouldn't putting an end to all the sickness and suffering be an even bigger sign?

TOM: It might be -- but that would be eliminating something else that's needed to make us what we are supposed to be at the end of this life.

TONY: What do you mean, "What we're supposed to be?" Why can't God make us what we're supposed to be in the first place?

TOM: Because God wants us to become that final product voluntarily. He wants us to choose him. And pain as well as pleasure is needed in this life for us to have alternatives to choose.


Does this way of looking at things make God look a little more logical now?

TONY: Well, in theory it looks a little more logical than the way I was seeing it.

CONSUELA: There's something else too, This suffering was so necessary that God himself became man so he could share in it. He has that kind of love. Does that make him seem like a monster?

TONY: Now you guys are ganging up on me. And like I said, it's still all theory. You've given me one idea which kind of explains why only some people get healed. But I don't believe God heals anybody!

MAZI: Oh, come on, Tony! You think all these people are lying to us?? What about the crutches, and the wheelchairs???!!?

TONY: Oh, some get cured all right, but not by God! Not by a miracle -- but by the power of their own mind. Why, people get cured of all kinds of sickness by hypnosis! I read that. We simply do not fully understand the power of our own minds. So, when we believe so deeply that our mind overpowers our sickness, we call it a "miracle!" Hey, half of these things were probably mental in the first place.

TOM: Well, Tony, that's not the case; and there are records and testimonies to prove it.

TONY: Records and testimonies can be faked.

MAZI: (waving a clenched fist) How about we arrange for you to get a personal healing, let's say from a broken nose?

TOM: (laughing) That's not necessary. You see, all of the miracles were not healings -- not things that could have been accomplished by the "power of the mind."

TONY: Now, what are you talking about?

TOM: There are many miracles associated with the portrait; but only some of them are physical healings. Do you remember that I told you the painting itself was miraculous?

TONY: Yeah, I do remember, but I thought you meant ....

TOM: I meant more that just its effect upon others, and even more than the miraculous way it arrived. I'm saying it is miraculous with respect to its own present physical properties!

KEY LIGHT UP on portrait.

TONY: I'm listening.

TOM: For one thing, Juan Diego's tilma was like all the other peon garments of the day, woven from readily available vegetable fibre that normally would not last more than ten years -- twenty at the very most.

TONY: And it's been hanging there how long?

TOM: 450 years. As a test more than a century ago, a duplicate painting was made on exactly the same type of burlap-style material and hung right along side of it. The copy totally deteriorated in about a dozen years. And that's still not all. Tell me, have you ever seen any very old portraits?

MAZI: (sarcastically) He's got an old centerfold over his workbench.

TOM: (smiling) I mean centuries-old paintings. I'm sure you've noticed that their colors tend to darken or fade.

TONY: Yeah, of course. Museums keep them stored out of the light when they're not being viewed just because of that. The pictures crack and the detail disappears. The museums pay a lot of money just to have them restored.

He looks at Mazi for appreciation. She looks mildly impressed.

TOM: Well, this painting has been hanging in' that church for over 450 years. Painters since that time have made some changes -- actually additions. These additions deteriorate just as you describe, but the original colors seem to restore themselves.

TONY: Oh, come on! Its one thing to say the colors last; but to say they restore themselves ....

TOM: Experts have examined this painting periodically, and they swear that the colors are sometimes more brilliant than on the previous inspections. -- All that is on the record.

TONY: Like I said, records can be --- (Interrupts himself)... Wait a minute! You said that painters made some additions! (then, snidely) They actually tried to improve on a so-called work of God??

TOM: That surprised me too, but it shouldn't have. We do it all the time today, so why should we criticize someone who tried the same thing a few hundred years ago? What happened was that some painters actually added some gold trim to her gown, painted rays emanating from her, and some religious symbolism including a crescent moon. The fact is, though, that modern infrared analysis clearly separates these things from the original painting, and the original painting retains its miraculous properties.

MAZI: How could they have done something like that --- actually paint over the original?? It sounds sacrilegious!

CONSUELA: It's like Tom said. We do it all the time .... We think we are improving things by changing them to our own vision of how they should be. The original hands in the painting were long and slender -- typical European -- but to Aztecs and their descendants, short hands are beautiful. So they substituted short hands.

TOM: And infrared studies show the man-made alleged improvements decaying with age -- while the unimproved original goes on miraculously.

CONSUELA: Maybe there's a lesson ln that for both Protestants and Catholics.

TOM: (looks surprised) What do you mean?

CONSUELA: People frequently go too far with a good thing -- like the good people who tampered with the portrait. Some of us Catholics do seem to carry the veneration of Mary beyond what she intends, to the level of adoration. We add our own touches and gold trim, making it more than it was meant to be. Over time the touchup decays; some people correctly recognize that something is wrong, and they turn away.

What they miss is that beyond the man-made junk is a masterpiece of God's design.

MAZI: (to Tony) Oooh -- she's deep!

TONY: If God chose to protect the painting from the elements of nature, from aging, why didn't he protect it from men?

ACT II.Scene iv:

TOM: Maybe he didn't protect it from these particular men just so he could make the point Consuela suggests. Actually, they didn't destroy anything; the evidence of the miracle still exists.

But God did protect it from other men in an undeniably miraculous way and in the twentieth century with many witnesses.

Set #7
LIGHTS UP slowly as Table LIGHTS DIM.

TOM [Cont.]: The painting survived many troubled times in Mexico -- revolution, wars, and many accidents; but it survived. Still, nothing was as threatening as the persecution of the Church under Calles in the 1920s.

Apparent worshippers come forward from the audience, carrying an urn of flowers to the altar, placing it before the painting as Tom continues the narration.

TOM [Cont.]: The Church had sinister enemies, people determined to break the power of the priests. Their strategy was to destroy the so-called miracle which held the devotion of the people. An urn of flowers was brought in and placed directly in front of the portrait. Concealed within this urn were several sticks of dynamite!

After the word "dynamite", on count of two, a very LOUD BLAST occurs simultaneously with LIGHT BLACKOUT, a FLASH at the base of the painting, and SECONDARY AUDIO EFFECTS in front and center isles (under cover of the dark). See "Special Directions." Stage hands make fast set changes under cover of dark.

Set #7 LIGHTS UP slowly within a few seconds of the "blast". Two men, one possibly a friar, leap up to the altar to examine the damage. The painting is still hanging unharmed. Urn is gone. Two very large pieces are noticeably missing from the "marble" altar. One man picks up knocked-over metal cross, now all twisted, and looks at it while scratching his head. Wisps of smoke surround them.

TOM [Cont.]: The blast twisted a three-foot long metal crucifix like a pretzel. It blew chunks of marble out of the altar. It destroyed a painting some distance behind the miraculous portrait. The church was full of people at the time -- but no one suffered the slightest injury -- and the Portrait of Our Lady was not even touched.

TABLE 'A' LIGHTS stay on full
CURTAIN CLOSES as Table 'A' conversation continues uninterupted.

MAZI: Oh, wow. Now, Tony, tell me that's not a miracle!

TONY: It's not a miracle.

MAZI: How can you say that???

TONY: Cause you just told me to!

(Turning to Tom) Women! You just cannot satisfy them!

ALL ACTORS quickly slip behind curtain, taking chairs and Table 'A' with them. (Stage hand assist)



i. Tony's Challenge     ii. Tony's Discovery     iii. Tony's Vision    

ACT III.Scene i:

Set #1: Pablo's Cantina.    Table 'A' is now behind the curtain line.

Smiths and Perrochis seated at Table A.

CONSUELA: (to Tony) You still are not impressed by the miracles, are you?

TONY: I've been hearing about miracles all my life, but I never saw one. My mother is always hitting me with this stuff.

TOM: I understand how you feel, Tony. It was the very same way with me. Hearing about miracles was not enough. That's why I came here.

TONY: Yeah? And did you get what you were looking for?

TOM: I had a healing.

TONY: (mild surprise) A healing? From what?

TOM: Blindness.

TONY: You were blind?

TOM: Not in the way you think. The kind of blindness that kept me from seeing the miracles all around me. (pause) No one has to visit Guadalupe, or Lourdes, or Fatima to see a miracle. They happen all over the world, in almost everybody's life.

TONY: (sarcastically) And we don't see them because we're blind, right?

MAZI: Well, whad-y-ya know! The blind lS beginning to see!

TOM: No, Tony. I did not say you were blind. I said I was blind! After I saw the undeniable miracles here, I then realized that scores of miracles had taken place before in my life -but I just never saw them.

In your case, it may well be that the Lord has actually never put any miracles before' your eyes, for his own reasons.

TONY: You mean God has been diskriminating against me?

MAZI: Sure, why wouldn't you expect God to have good taste?

CONSUELA: Tony, as a matter of fact, God is very, very diskriminating; but he has nothing against you. Everything he has done in your life has been for you. If he has withheld anything, it has been because you needed it that way.

MAZI: On the other hand, Tony, maybe God did put some miracles in your life, and you didn't see them because you are blind.

TONY: (now defiant) Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you something, Mazi. I am NOT blind! I've got good eyes. I trust my two good eyes -- and (lifting camera) I trust this eye. If this can't see it, it's not there!

TOM: What if your camera could see it? Would you believe it then?

TONY: See what? The painting? I know that's there -- but that doesn't make it a miracle.

TOM: That is where you are wrong, my friend. Just being here -- for the painting, for you, for me, or for anything at all is very definitely a miracle. Not seeing that is the blindness from which we must all be healed. But I am talking about more than that -- I'm talking about your camera, and your eyes, seeing something you will know is a miracle.

TONY: Okay. Skip the baloney about things just existing being a miracle. Tell me what I can shoot that will make me see a miracle -- with these two eyes right here (points).

TOM: Do you know a lot about photography, Tony?

TONY: Do I know a lot about photography? Tell him, Mazi.

MAZI: He knows a lot about photography. He's even won prizes with his pictures.

TONY: Been a hobby for years. You'd be amazed at the things I can photograph -- SEE -- with this and with the lenses I got in this camera bag (indicating).

TOM: Good! Because if you can get a good close-up of the painting, you will see that it is not a painting after all.

TONY: What do you mean, "not a painting"??

TOM: In actuality, it was never painted. If you are good with that camera, you will be able to get a close-up and blow it up so you will see the threads of the cloth -- all the threads, for there is no paint between the threads.

TONY: What do you mean, "no paint"?

TOM: Not between the threads. None! And no brush strokes! The so-called painting is literally cast directly on the threads, with nothing between them.

TONY: But that would make it more like a photograph!

CONSUELA: Four and a half centuries ago.

TONY: But, that's impossible!

TOM: Aha! Tony, now you're beginning to see

TONY: (jumping up) First, let's really see (raises camera). If you're telling the truth, then we 'll begin to figure out what's happened here.

EXIT Smiths and Perrochis

PABLO & JUANITA: fast & obvious wardrobe changes (to signify a new day).

ACT III.Scene ii:

Set #1: Cantina

Pablo and Juanita, both in different clothes than in previous scenes, busy themselves in appropriate Cantina work activity.

JUANITA is cleaning tables while humming and singing Spanish "De Colores ." (If it is possible, considering particular actors, make it a happy scene, having Pablo join in with his daughter):

JUANITA: Y por eso los grandes amores
de muchos colores
mi gustan a mi (repeat)

PETER THOREAUX appears in the doorway, carrying a slide projector and screen.

PETER: Hi, Pablo. Juanita.

PABLO: Buenos dias, Peter!

JUANITA: Ola, Señor Thoreaux.

Peter enters and sets equipment on Table B as he speaks and dialogue continues.

PETER: Did Saint Anthony get here yet?

PABLO: (puzzled) Who?

PETER: Saint Anthony! (pause) -- Anthony Perrochi -- Tony!

PABLO: (looking askance) "Saint" Anthony, Peter?

PETER: You know. That Italian preacher from New York you introduced me to this morning. He called me a little while ago and asked me to bring my stuff over here. He went back to the church to take another picture.

PABLO: Oh, si! I remember you told him this morning that you had a projector he could use to show the slides he was working on.

He also called me to say he wanted to show the pictures here. I am very happy that you are going to see them as well.

Peter and Pablo set up the proj ector and screen as the dialogue continues. Projector on Table 'C' screen at rear center stage.

PETER: Pablo, in the two years that I have been working down here, we've become good friends, right?

PABLO: Si, Peter, very good friends.

PETER: And you've never hassled me about religion, even knowing I saw things so much differently than you?

PABLO: (smiling) Si.

PETER: Then why now go out of your way to tangle me up with this religious fanatic?

PABLO: Peter, my very good friend. Do you remember when I told you that you would see things differently in God's time?

PETER: (smiles patiently) Yes, Pablo, I do. It was just after we first met.

PABLO: (shrugs) It is God's time.

PETER: (frustrated, hands to head) Pablo, what am I going to do with you?

ENTER the Smiths and Mazi. All wear new change of clothes

TOM: Why hello, Peter. Good to see you. Pablo, has Tony arrived yet?

They sit at Table C.

PABLO: No, but he should be here soon. Señora Perrochi, this (indicates Peter) is a young man you should meet. May I introduce a friend of your husband, Peter Thoreaux -- another American.

MAZI: (surprised) Oh! Pleased to meet you, Mr.Thoreaux. Do you know my husband from back home?

PETER: Oh no, no. As a matter of fact, I just met him this morning -- between trips to church.

MAZI: Between trips? Oh, how nice to meet another religious person. My, you must be very devoted. Most people I know don't go twice in a year, let alone the same day.

Pablo holds back a laugh while the Smiths look at one another with raised eyebrows. Peter looks very uncomfortable.

PETER: Uh, Mrs. Perrochi, uh, you don't understand. It was your husband who went to church twice. I'm afraid I don't have his convictions.

MAZI: (confused) What convictions????

PABLO: Oh, Señora Perrochi. Perhaps, I can explain some things. Señor Perrochi went to the church early this morning to take his pictures. While he was there, I spoke for him to my friend, Señor Montez, whose company has a photographic laboratory. Señor Montez gave permission for Señor Perrochi to use the laboratory to develop his own slide pictures quickly.

He came here to eat after developing those pictures, and that is when he met Peter. Señor Perrochi had many ideas which he found himself sharing with Peter. They had a very good talk.

Peter smirks, rolls eyes, unnoticed by Mazi.

PABLO [Cont.]: Then, Señor Perrochi, he decided he needs another picture, what he calls a closer-up, and he goes back to the church

TOM: He must have gone back to the lab to develop shots from the second trip. He called me from there.

MAZI: He called me from there, too. I was ready to kill him for being gone so long.

CONSUELA: Well, at least we know it wasn't because anything bad has happened to him.

MAZI: No, thank God. I thought something might be wrong at first because he sounded like he was in shock. He kept saying, "Mother of God,Mother of God." At first, I though he was cursing, but then ....


MAZI: For the first time since I've known him -- he called me by my real name -- Maria -- without trying to be cute, or sarcastic about it.

TOM: (smiling) Why not? It's a beautiful name.

Mazi smiles and nods.

Tony bursts into the cafe, carrying a slide tray.

TONY: Hi, everybody! Great, it looks like everything's all ready to go.

He moves directly to Table C and his wife.

MAZI: What is going o---

She is interrupted by Tony grabbing her and kissing her on the mouth. She drops back in the chair, astonished as Tony speaks.

TONY: (happily) I love you -- you angel!

Okay, let's get this show on the road.

He walks to the projector on Table B and places the slide tray into position

TONY [Cont.]: (to Pablo) Uh, Pablo, it won't hurt your business if we turn down the lights for a couple of minutes, will it?

PABLO: (smiling) What business, Señor Perrochi?

He goes to the wall on stage right, flips the wall switch there and RIGHT HALF OF THE CANTINA DARKENS

PABLO [Cont.]: Juanita! Turn off the other lights when Señor Perrochi tells you.

Juanita moves to light switch on opposite wall.

JUANITA: Si, Papa. Just tell me when, Señor Perrochi!

TONY: Okay, Sweetheart. Let me see; we should be all set.... Oh, I'm sorry.. I forgot to introduce this gentleman. (He indicates Peter) This is Peter Thoreaux. I met him this morning and he was kind enough to let us use his projector.

MAZI: He was just introduced to me a few minutes ago, Tony, and I think the Smiths already know him.

TOM: Yes, for a couple of years.

TONY: Well, anyway, I just want him to know I appreciate his helping out (then, teasing) even if he is a bit of a skeptic.

The Smiths nod in agreement.

MAZI: Hah! It takes one to know on .... oops!

She covers her mouth, obviously regretting her outburst.

TONY: (laughing) It's okay, Maria. You are right! It takes one to know one. At least a reformed one to know one. (Then, to Tom) As a matter of fact, Tom, that's why you recognized me.

TOM: Ah, it looks like you have some newfound wisdom.

TONY: Not wisdom. Vision! Sight, Tom, sight. (Grandly) I can SEE!

PETER: Wait a minute! You mean this religious nut (pointing to Tony) really was a skeptic?? Yesterday??

PAUSE, while everybody but Tom adjusts to the shock of what they just heard

MAZI: Religious nut?!? HIM??!? What is going on in this town?? -- a blind man's convention???

TONY: Maria, I can't think of a better place for a blind man's convention. Y'know, how after leaving here yesterday, we went to that church and saw all those crutches and canes?

Mazi nods.

TONY [Cont.]: Well, when I went back this morning to take these pictures, I found something else --- blindfolds! Tons of blindfolds left by blind jerks like me who found we could see just by getting rid of them.

MAZI: What in the world are you talking about?

TONY: Look. Let me show you.

He switches on the projector so the painting 1S now visible on the screen.

TONY [Cont.]: Okay, Juanita, hit that light switch.

Juanita throws the switch. LIGHTS DOWN on stage left, so left side of cantina is now in darkness.

At director's discretion, at this time, a much larger screen may be interjected with more clear and larger projected images for the audience's benefit. Done smoothly, it should not interrupt the flow of the play. The audience should react simply as it might to a close up action in a movie.

TONY [Cont.]: I took all these photographs myself. This one is of the painting, a full shot. I took it this morning because yesterday afternoon there were a lot of tourists getting in the way. I have them developed already because one of Pablo's friends let me use his photolab.

I was anxious to see what Torn was talking about, because I figured with close enough shots I could find a rational explanation for the illusion he described.

TOM: And was it an illusion, Tony?

TONY: Tom,you know it was not. You were absolutely right. Take a look at this next shot.

SLIDE CHANGE to close-up, showing threads.

TONY [Cont.]: Take a look at those threads. This thing is painted on something that looks like burlap. No one could paint this kind of masterpiece on that. And there is no paint between the threads, just like you said, and no brush strokes!

MAZI: (puzzled) And this is what got you so excited?

TONY: This should be enough to excite any openminded person, but for someone as thick as me, it takes a little more. And more I got!

SLIDE CHANGE to another full view of the painting.

TONY [Cont.]: Look at her face. What I found right there in the eyes of the Virgin.
These words are, of course, the title of the play. They should not be uttered in any pseudo-dramatic manner that makes them audibly distinct from the lead-in dialogue. However, the section should be paced and with the utmost clarity so audience makes the connection and intellectual closure, and so each audience member individually focuses on following the viewing instructions given by Tony. Tony IS speaking as an instruction-giver, slowly, with exaggerated emphasis and deliberateness.

SLIDE CHANGE to view of head and face.

TONY [Cont.]: I was drawn to them, sensing there was something special there. Boy, was I right! I discovered it in the lab when I developed the first set of pictures, but one of the close ups I'm going to show wasn't as clear as it should be. After talking to Peter, I realized I would need the best quality possible to leave no room for anyone to doubt. So I went back to the painting for a better shot.

MAZI: (impatient) Tony! Will you get to the point already!

TONY: Okay. Everyone, now take a close look at the eyes of the virgin. Keep in mind that in the actual painting, they are each only about one quarter inch in size.

SLIDE CHANGE to upper half of face.

TONY [Cont.]: Look in the eyes! Do you see anything?

SLIDE CHANGE close enough to reveal the reflections of people in the eyes.

My God! I see people, the reflection of people!

TONY: Not just people, Maria, but very specific people. Do you remember the mural in the church depicting the discovery of the painting on Juan Diego's tilma?

This one shows Juan Diego flanked by the Majordomo and his Assistant.

SLIDE CHANGE to sharp close-up of the eyes showing reflection of Juan Diego flanked by the Majordomo and his Assistant.

MAZI: Oh, my Lord! It's Juan Diego!!

TONY: It sure is.
Juanita, would you turn on the lights please.

JUANITA: Si, Senor Perrochi!

She throws the switch. LIGHTS UP on stage left, while right side of the cantina remains relatively dark.
No one goes to the right side light switch flipped off earlier by Pablo.
Tony switches projector off.
LIGHT OFF on Mural.

MAZI: Oh, Tony. That's incredible! But how ....?

Tony moves to stage left as he answers.
Others look at him, all their attention directed away from stage right and the skrim in the far right wall of the cantina (on the stilldarkened side of the stage).
Tony faces them so he alone is looking toward stage right and the skrim.

TONY: (clearly shaken) The eyes in that painting are just about this big (holding up his fingers to indicate very small size). There is no way that could have been painted with that kind of detail, especially on that material! My God, do you see what that means? Only a camera could put the image of a person in such detail that it captured even the reflections in her eyes!

MAZI: But why? What does it mean?

TONY: Don't you see? If the reflection in her eyes is of Juan Diego and the servants -- the image had to happen while she was watching them together. She had to be right in the room when the three of them stood in front of the Bishop and the roses fell. It's as if the one sign got messed up and she substituted another!

PETER: Oh, come on now. Do you mean to stand there and say you believe you have indisputable scientific evidence that a woman who must have died almost 2,000 years ago actually stood in a room in Mexico City 450 years ago?

Tony is obviously shaken by Peter's logic and challenge. He begins to respond weakly, overcome by sudden doubt.

TONY: Well. I -- uh -- it really seems ....

Skrim is in the view of only Tony and the audience, on the darkened side of the cantina behind all the other characters in the play.
LIGHTS UP behind skrim.
Mary appears. She looks steadily at Tony and raises her right hand.
Tony visibly gathers strength and confidence, as does the sound of his voice.

TONY [Cont.]: Yes! I do believe it. As a matter of fact, I know it. Oh, I won't say the evidence is indisputable, because blind men -- like I was -- can dispute anything. But to men who can see by the Grace of God, the evidence is both scientific and clear. When God's love for his blind children calls for Mary to walk on this earth, she walks on this earth -- and even into rooms in Mexico City,

Mary lowers her hand.

Tony turns to Tom.

TONY [Cont.]: Tom, you were right. The blind can be made to see.

PETER: Hoo boy! I gotta admit that I'm not as sure of myself as I was a moment ago. I know it sounds crazy, but as you spoke, I almost had the feeling that Mary was here in the room with us.

Tony smiles, knowingly.

PETER [Cont.] : Suddenly, things aren't right. I don't believe the things I know I just saw in those slides. I do not believe that what you are saying is true; but I believe you know it is true. And I'm making less sense with everything I say. --- It sounds like I'm slipping.

TONY: You are not slipping, Peter. Your blindfold is slipping.

PABLO: (smiling) I never thought it was tied too tight, anyway.

TONY: (to Mazi) Please, Honey, forgive me; but I've got to run and do one more thing.
It won't take long, but it is important.

Mazi takes both his hands and kisses them.

MAZI: Tony, now I can forgive you for anything. Do what you have to do.


ACT III.Scene iii:

Set #7: The Church -- at the altar rail.

Tony is kneeling at the diagonal corner of the altar rail so the audience sees his profile.
Portrait is hanging close to him.
Tony speaks in prayer, softly, so hidden microphone is necessary.

TONY: Oh Lord, has everyone been as blind as I was? All the things I didn't see because I shut them out! I shut you out, Lord! Oh, forgive me; forgive me for shutting out everything gentle and beautiful.

I shut out my mother -- and my aunt. With my garbage mouth, I made them into jokes because I didn't want to see past their rosary beads and their veils. Maybe inside I knew that if I let myself see their gentleness and their love, I would come apart -- like now.

Even Maria. How could I take a beautiful name like "Maria" and turn it into "Mazi"? I've covered up everything beautiful, just to keep from seeing it! I just wouldn't let myself see those beautiful loving women -- and I didn't see you, Lord.

But you knew how to get to me, taking the only road there was -- my ego! I thought I was a hotshot taking those pictures. I was going to show them.

You suckered me into looking directly into the eyes of the most beautiful, gentle, loving woman there ever was!

And I saw more than Juan Diego. I saw myself. And Jesus, I saw you, and how much you love me.

Mary, my Mother, I see now. The Lord is with you.

Tony raises his hands -- holding rosary beads. For stage and audience visibility purposes, they should be oversized; the chain should be reflective, and a key light positioned to maximize reflection.

TONY [Cont.]: Sweet Jesus, I just bought these and I haven't done this since I was a kid. Forgive me if I stumble through the words. I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth ....

Mary appears in light in center stage.
Juan Diego appears in isolated light,
then the Bishop and servants, eventually the entire cast.

TONY [Cont.]: Sweet Jesus, I just bought these and I have no idea of how to say a Rosary ...
That, and my life, are going to change.

As he continues, Mary appears in light in center stage.
Juan Diego appears in isolated light,
then the Bishop and servants, eventually the entire cast.


Number as appropriate


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Set Descriptions

Includes skrim, behind which the virgin appears in Act III.
In the 1st act, Table 'A' is moved in front of the curtain line to create Set #2.

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Between 40 and 60 years old. Brash. Character exudes strength, aggressiveness. Versatility needed: lines vary from comic to anger, logical argument, excitement, and finally, an emotional soliloquy. A bonus in talent would be an operatic singing voice, allowing an optional closing of the play with Tony kneeling at the alter singing the Ave Maria.

Tony's wife. On stage with Tony during most of the play. Lines not as lengthy, but require the ability to deliver several barbed comments which Tony does deserve. She comes across as a nice person who has learned how to handle a slightly overbearing husband with a well deserved shot or two.

TOM SMITH Most lines in the play, predominantly in the first two acts. Nevertheless, as a straight man, his is not as difficult a role as the more colorful Tony Perrochi, requiring far less versatility. Tom comes across as warm and wise. He needs an excellent articulate speaking voice, because this role is that of a narrator and as an explainer of some history and philosophy. Virtually all of his lines are delivered while sitting at a table.

CONSUELA SMITH Tom's wife. On stage during most of the play, usually seated at a table with Tom, Tony, and Mazi. She is Mexican American, though married to a New England Yankee. Must appear educated and intelligent. She shares some narration duties with Tom.

JUAN DIEGO A real historical figure, specific physical features are very important. With goatee and makeup, actor should resemble actual portraits and projected slide pictures of the real Juan Diego which the audience will see -- crucial to the plot! He is fifty, tall, and lean. He has the most physically active role. His 1ines are not heavy or lengthy, and are all in the first two acts. He is a poor Mexican Indian who exudes humility, sometimes fear, but always strength of character.

BISHOP ZUMMARRAGA Fifty to seventy years old. A very straight part, little movement or emotion, save some visibly controlled anger in one short scene, and falling to his knees in prayer at the discovery of the miracle.

MAJORDOMO A pompous ass, Spanish style. Lines are few, delivered in tones of arrogance and self importance. At one point, must show fear, an chagrin when he gets his come-uppance.

ASSISTANT The Majordomo's assistant. A carbon copy with very few lines. Most active part is in striking Juan Diego to the floor while interrogating him.

MARY The Virgin Mary. Young, lovely; should have facial features which resemble portrait, as in the case of Juan Diego. Lines are few and straight. No emotional peaks.

PABLO Age thirty to fifty. Owner of Cantina, father of little girl. Lines are few, but must be delivered aggressively. Outgoing, cheerful, warm character.

JUANITA Pablo's daughter. Age eight to twelve. Appears with Pablo. Very few 1ines. A cheerful,delightful character. Outgoing enough to project lines and hum and sing as she goes about her Cantina duties.

PETER THOREAUX Age twenty-five to thirty-five. Appears in Iastact only. His few 1ines are short, except for one of moderate length just before the end of the pI ay. This 1ast 1ine is the only one requiring any significant emotion. Generally, his attitude is either skeptical or friendly.

SPANISH SOLDIERS (3) Basically a walk-on part. No lines.

HOUSEHOLD SERVANTS (2) Male and female. Walk-on, no lines.

FRANCISCAN FRIARS (2) Walk-on, no lines.

10 BIT PARTS (No lines) can be filled by actors playing any of the above parts.
These include GUITARIST, JUAN BERNADINO, a second MARY, 5 INVALIDs to be healed,
and 2 MEN investigating after the

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