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  • Monologue from Fugitive Pieces
  • Caridad Svich (bio)

Fugitive Pieces premiered at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, Texas in 2000 and was also staged at Cleveland Public Theatre in Ohio. A revised version of the play was produced at Salvage Vanguard Theatre in Austin, Texas under Jason Neulander’s direction. This revised version is published in TheatreForum (2002) and is also available as a single-edition script by Playscripts ( ).

Downcast Mary. You know how much I stole? First time? A can of beans. I thought like you: “Stealing’s wrong. God’s law.” But I’d been fire-walking for a good ten days . . . Walking without stop, burning my soles, running. I was dead hungry. I thought “If I get picked up, at least it’d be some kind of sanctuary.” So, I walk into this dime market that was lit like Christmas so there was no way a blue-coat could miss it. And I take a can of French-cut green beans, and slide it into my bag and I think “All right, all right,” but there’s nobody. I walk out of that store and there’s not a sound. So, I turn into this little side yard, an ash-brown patch of grass, and start to bust open the can, when a runt comes down and breaks my back, [End Page 96] pushes my face between his legs until I can’t breathe, and I hear the sounds of the can hitting the ground, French-cut green beans snaking across the grass, and I’m bleeding. Next I know I’m in a blind place, my back feels like sharp metal’s been put into it, and I haven’t stopped being hungry. Runt puts me on quinine for a week. “This bird is quarantined,” he said. “She’s suffering from malaria. Pay no heed to what she says. She’s got a head full of dreams. Dreams and inventions. Cruel sort of disease.” Quinine stuck to my throat. Every time I asked for water, all I got was a lime the size of a bull penny: flat and round. And King Runt would come into me every night, four and five times. See, he was a Bible man. He didn’t like thieves. When I got let out, I couldn’t walk without falling to my knees. Runt wrote down on some paper I had a “chemical deficiency,” and there wasn’t a doctor that could cure me. He made me sign the paper with my teeth. “Bit by an unlettered bird,” he wrote, “an unlettered daughter of the Kansas plains.” [End Page 97] And then a spurred boot hit my rear and landed me onto a blank street, where every grain of light and dark seemed to be reaching toward my eye. I started to walk, but I was bleeding inside. The blank street turned into a rough footpath. The twilight’s murmur hit my brow. I could hear voices call out: “How many dead? How many dead?” A light fell on me. Skin-and-bone. I looked up. And there were a hundred stars hung in the sky like loose flowers on snow. And I swore from that day on that they’d be my sanctuary. And yes, I’d be a thief, but I wouldn’t take a can of beans, I’d just take, and take, and take. I’d out-thieve all the runts. I’d dare them to catch me. Cause I had the protection of the stars. Only a constellation could cage me. [End Page 98]

Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich is an award-winning US Latina playwright and translator whose works have been presented across the US and abroad. Her plays centre on the experience of the post-colonial body in a globalised world and often intersect with classical myths and texts. She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of theatre alliance & Press NoPassport, and contributing editor of TheatreForum, and editor of several books on theatre & performance. As a translator she is most closely associated with Federico Garcia Lorca’s works. She holds an MFA from UCSD.



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pp. 96-99
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