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Half an Hour in a Convent - Wilfrido Ma Guerrero

Half an Hour in a Convent - Wilfrido Ma Guerrero

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Published by: Clara Buenconsejo on Feb 12, 2011
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07/10/2013

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HALF AN HOUR IN A CONVENT
A Play In One Act
 
 Holt am.Hour in a.
Convent 
was first perform~ over theradio, Station KZRM, on April 4,
1937,
under Lamberto V.Avellana's direction. Original Cast:YOLANDA-Daisy P. HontiverosREV. MOTHER SUPERIOR-Patria Panaj6nSISTER VITALIS----CitaTrinidadSISTER THE-RESA-Nati N. ValentinFirst stage performance: By the University of the PhiIip~pines Class of Acting and Directing, directed by Jean G. Eda..;des, at the U.P. Little Theatre, January
15, 1938.
" , '
Original cast: YOLANDA-Luz Baluyot ~'.REV. MOTHER SUPERIOR-J"ulita ValdezSISTER VITALIS-Nellie SevillanoSISTER THERESA-Felisa Manzano
HALF AN HOUR
.IN
A CONVENT
CHARACTERS: 
YOLANDATHE REVEREND MOT'HE.RSUPERIORSISTER VITALISSISTER THERESAThe office of the MOTHER SUPERIOR in a local conventschool. A desk on the right covered with books and a flowervase with roses. A few chairs. A door in the middle rear.Acrucifix over the door. On the left, a picture of the Madonna.Several religious pictures around the walls. A window downright.The MOTHER SUPERIOR is tall and has a very severe-looking face. SISTER VITALIS is tiny, with a kind face.Her eyes are as clear as a ba'by's and a constant smile plays onher lips.Lights go out completely, except the footlights. Immediate-ly, Gounod's
Ave Maria,
sung backstage, is heard. When thesinger starts singing
Sancta
M « tria
Mater Dei,
the curtainslowlygoes up.We see the MOTHER SUPERIOR kneeling on the pre.-dieu,SISTE-R VITALIS, also kneeling, near the table. Both aredeep in prayer.The song ends.The MOTHER SUPERIOR and SISTER VITALIS make thesign of the cross. MOTHER SUPERIOR stands hastily, goes
,
·"'tothe table, gets somepapers from drawer: SISTER VITALIS
looks
at the MOTHER SUP.ERIOR as if she wanted to speak to her. MOTHER SUPERIOR sits down, reads papers. SI~TER VITALI8 approaches.
 
SISTER VITALIS. You must believe me, Mother. She'snot really a bad girl.MOTHERSUPERIOR. You don't call a girl bad who is dis·obedient, rebellious, and disorderly? I insist she is, Sister Vi·talis.SR. VITALIS. Those faults alone do not mean a badnature. She needs understand-ing-she needs discipline, of course--but she needs understanding first. I've watched her.for a long time. She seems unhappy-seems hurt, bewildered.I'm sure that something is worrying her, and that, perhaps, iswhy she unconsciouslygives us trouble. Sh~'s being rebellious'because she's bitter about somethin·g. But I assure you thatshe doesn't mean any harm, Mother.M. SUPERIOR.
(Sits, left center.)
You defend her ex·ceedingly well, Sister Vitalis.SR. VITALIS. It's because I understand her, Mother. If .you-if we--could only give her a chance to explain, I'm sure./:she wouldchange for the better. :',M. SUPERIOR. But after last night's incident, there canbe no chance for her now. You know what we've decided.SR. VITALIS. I know she can explain last night's incident,Mother. ,M. SUPERIOR. How does she propose to explain it?By lying shamelessly, I suppose. Do you thi~ that.
l'
shallforgive her this time after she was caught talkmg WIth thatservant last night? She knows it's aga:inst the rules to talk to the men-servants-she knows it very well-but, no, shechoosesto disobey deliberately, because she feels like doi~g so.She must be punished and punished severely.: She should betaught a lesson-otherwise, the other girls wiU fol!ow ~erexample' and we might as well close the school. Shes ~Ulltyof disorderly conduct, and she must be punished! .:, SR. VITALIS. She's different from other glrl~., Weshould help her. She suffers much, I can see. But shes veryreserved-she doesn't talk much. . ' .. M. SUPER10R. Yes, indeed, she is different-so differentthat she's the worst girl in' the school. .SR. VITALIS. But surely, Mother, expulsion is too drastica punishment.M. SUPERIOR. She should have been expelled long ago butfor your own repeated pleadings, Sister.
(Goes to window.)
Besides,you remember last month when Elsa was caught withseveral love letters under her pillow. From whom? Ah, yes,from that basketball player in the boys' schoolnext door. Shewas expelled. Why should Yolanda be the exception? Preced·ents are always dangerous.SR. VITALIS. It's true, but in this
case-(F'ollotlJs
MO·THER SUPERIOR
to window.)
M. SUPERIOR. Sister, you've a very soft heart. It's notalways good. Harden that heart, Sister, harden it. And don'tworry, I've called Yolanda to my office to explain.
(A krwck is heard.
MOTHER SUPERIOR
sits at desk.)
Come in.(YOLANDA
enters., She is rather tall for her age
thin,and nerv0U8. Her intense nature
is
revealed in the expressionof her IMe. Her most remarkable feature
is
her eyes, larueand with
a m
exceedingly rhtttrtexpression
haunting in theisG.dness. She is dressed all in white. Carries a bo(f1cor two.On seeing
SISTER VITALIS, YOLANDA
smiles timidly, but the smile dies on meeting the severe eyes of the
MOTHERSUPERIOR. SISTER VITALIS
leaves quietly.)
M. SUPERIOR. Take a seat, .Yolanda. (YOLANDA
sitsnear the desk.
MOTHER SUPERIOR
sits before her desk a,ndreads a letter. Once in a while she shake8 her head.)
YOLANDA. You wanted to see
met 
Mother?. M. SUPERIOR. Yes, of course. Do you think I calledyou that you may stare at the ceiling? Just be patient tillI finish this. (YOLANDA
is obviouslyner.vous. The
MO·THER SUPERIOR
finishes reading.)
WeIl,. Yolanda, I'm'surprised at your poor conduct lately. That's why I calledyou to my office. For the past month and a half I've beenreceiving nothing but bad reports from the Sisters. Poorscholarship, rebellion, disobedience,disorderly conduct, quarrelswith your classmaies-all sorts of complaints. You were neverlike this before, Yolanda. Since you came here to study fiveyears ago
t
you've always behaved weIl. Rather gloomy,it's true,

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