- No Address, No Name
Dedicated to Sri, Maiden of the Beggars
For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life. There is a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself foot to foot in the darkness against the fatal invasions of necessity and of baseness. Noble and mysterious triumphs which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of triumph salutes. Life’s misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Cast of Characters
Gramps, man of about sixty
Pocky, man of about thirty-five
Gimp, man of about thirty
Ani, woman of about twenty-five
Ina, woman of about twenty
Ati, woman of about seventeen
The play is set in a large city beneath a bridge, the home of people considered “of no consequence”: vagrants, poor and jobless people, pedicab drivers, and prostitutes. It is late evening. Torn mats, old boards, broken furniture, empty butter and milk tins litter the site. Small kerosene lamps hang from makeshift huts. Two small cooking fires glow. Steam rises from the butter tins, used as cooking pots, that are perched on top of the flames. Beside one fire a man, Gimp, rests on his haunches; an older man, Gramps, squats beside the other fire. Two young women, Ani and Ina, dressed in faded lengths of batik cloth and colored brassieres, are busy putting on makeup. Each woman holds a cracked mirror in her hand. Trailer-trucks driving across the bridge make a thunderous noise. There is also a roll of thunder. [End Page 25]
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[End Page 26]
Sounds like it’s gonna rain hard.
[Laughing.] That’s a truck, Gramps!
A truck! That’s a trailer-truck going by.
[Shaking his head while stirring the contents of the butter tin on top of his fire.] Another one! This bridge is going to fall down one of these days. I thought those things were banned.
So it’s against the law. [Ani laughs loudly.] Well, what’s the law for then?
To be broken.
And if it’s broken?
That’s the State’s business.
Gramps stirs his food and shakes his head again. A roll of thunder.
Now that was thunder.
[Suddenly concerned.] What?!
[Laughing.] Thunder, sweets. Thunder! You know, varrrooom!—which usually means it’s going to rain.
Ani frowns, then walks to the edge of the shelter offered by the bridge and peers upward at the sky. She raises her arm and shakes her fist at the sky. Another roll of thunderv
[Angrily.] Oh, shit! Ina!
You can stop getting ready.
Never know, it might not rain. [Another roll of thunder.]
[Irritated.] What do you mean “might not rain”? What are you, a rain doctor? Clean the shit from your ears. The only thing that’s not sure is how we’re going to get something to eat tonight if it does rain.
[Stirring his food.] If it’s your stomach you’re looking to fill, this is almost done.
[Putting her hands on her hips, turns to Gimp.] Thanks, but no thanks! I’ve had my fill of that squash you pick out of the [End Page 27] garbage heap over by the market. Half-rotten squash mixed with half-rotten leeks, moldy cassava and corn. Bleck! I’m sick of it! No, not tonight. Tonight I want something good to eat: hot rice, spiced beef, an egg swimming in chili sauce, and a tall glass of sweet tea. And to finish it off, a large and golden-ripe …
As Ani speaks of her favorite foods, the others listen wistfully, repeatedly swallowing their saliva. When there is another roll of thunder, everyone looks sadly at Ani.
[Hysterically.] Oh no! It can’t rain tonight. It just can’t!
[Approaching Ani.] Take it easy. Rain or not, we’re...