By Edward Bond.
Cast: large, variable. Set in Spain at the time of the Spanish Civil War, this unflinching play is as agonizing as the event. Agustina is in the house with her dead child preparing the body for private disposal. Her husband, Nardo, states the argument of the story—"When someone else owns the machines you use to earn your living, then you are owned." Agustina's daughter asks her to name the dead child. Agustina answers, "No. It wasn't born into a human world, it was born in this world." There is bitterness with the landowners, and then their world is overwhelmed with the violence of the war. The brutality is onstage and immediate. The impact is cruel and powerful. Nardo hides in his home from which his wife, who looks after him, is evicted. In the night, Nardo comes from his hiding place, and, to protect himself, he kills the new tenants, The horror grows. Agustina, filled with ferocity, plants a bomb that destroys some of her enemies. There is a terrifying interrogation when the women of the village, under the threat of their own deaths, are required to name the bomber. In a scene of great power, each woman answers, "Estaroban," which is the name of their village. As they turn to Agustina, she cries her defiance and in doing so becomes "the human cannon." Before she is killed she sees her child and smiles at her. She wants the child to remember the smile. Multiple sets.