Sometimes Ted would take other people down into the dungeons with him. It often offered him a fresh point of view, and it worked well for him. It almost became a ritual. When he went down there one Saturday afternoon between the matinee and the evening performance, he found a nun down there, donned in a habit of white. She was a small bright-eyed woman. For some reason…perhaps because she had wandered off from a group touring the shrine…she was down there alone. With Ted, and his outgoing personality, he was as friendly as always, but then his inquisitive nature got the better of him. After briefly introducing himself, Ted reached out and touched her. She was about to leave; it seemed as if the only way he could stop her was by touching her. He went on from there in a delicate way, knowing that touching a nun was wrong; but she could see the tears in his eyes. He wore shorts; he always changed into shorts for his work behind the scenes. He stood a little too close to her for comfort, and with the low rounded ceiling, good god (help him God), claustrophobia. (Let him out of there!) It could also get oppressive. (No longer dank or stank, thank goodness, but oppressive.) She wasn’t upset with Ted, when she could’ve so easily been. She just looked at him.
Susan and he talked afterwards about it. Susan said, “You reached out to a nun. That was very significant for you. I’m serious. You almost certainly wanted her to recognize you and that you belonged down there. We held prisoners down there. The nun would’ve known that. The rich American returned for a nostalgic tour. She probably thought you were a tourist.”
He accepted Susan’s explanation for what it was worth. But his encounter with the nun had greater significance for him than he could explain. Referring to the nun, he said, “You’d think she would’ve reacted.” Who could help him out?
He began to play with his emotions. From playing came images or pictures, pictures and images that stayed with him. They were all his own; and he couldn’t share them yet with anyone. And as the weeks went by, and his ideas for a drama in the dungeons began to take shape, he began to find his way through his own shit.
His speech was too big to ignore. The President may have wanted the people with microphones and loudspeakers to go home, but they hadn’t come to listen to him. There were, according to conservative estimates, 50,000 of them, and many of them were dying of boredom. They had gathered that afternoon in front of Congress supposedly to hear the President deliver The State of the Nation Address. Militants succeeded in disrupting the speech by chanting and waving placards and throwing anything they could get their hands on. Crumpled balls of paper and paper airplanes, pebbles, placards, bottles and rocks, all became missiles. A cardboard coffin representing the death of democracy; a cardboard crocodile, painted green, symbolizing greedy congressmen; a burning effigy of Ferdinand Marcos: Ted could imagine it all (though, not wanting to get involved, he was not far from there finding solace and solitude in the dungeons of Fort Santiago). The first scuffle was brief; first the struggle over the mikes and the rowdy irreverence; then the chanting and shouting against fascists and imperialists, the rants against America and Marcos; with the cops charging and clubbing; and the militants spoiling for a fight, throwing rocks and bottles at the cops, and both sides suffering causalities. Mayhem and bloodshed, the makeover of a country; but the drama Ted had in mind for the dungeons had to, in some way, directly involve Americans, turn the cards on them by imprisoning them in the hole or the cells, as he had been with the nun. He had come that far.