This one-woman play is subtitled "Tragicomic Monologue for an Impetuous Woman." Miss Margarida is an eighth-grade teacher, and the audience is the class. Miss Margarida alternately harangues, confides in, attempts to seduce, and TRIES to teach the listening students over the course of two hours. Athayde has said that over the course of the play he intended Miss Margarida to represent every form of power that is exerted over the individual in his or her lifetime -- maternal, social, educational, political, economical, and so on. The script is entertaining reading, but if you are lucky enough to see a production, there's a liveliness and edge to it, because class participation is encouraged, and the actress has to improvise to cover and control it. I saw Estelle Parsons triumph in the role; she made me come up to the front of the class and eat my paper airplane.
This report prepared by David Loftus