Unit 4 One Act Plays
A Sunny Morning
Serafin and Joaquin Alvarez Quintero
This play is about two lovers, Don Gonzalo and Dona Laura, who happen to meet after 50 years. They recognize each other but hide their identities. He says he is Gonzalo’s cousin and she says she has heard Laura’s story. They recall the romantic past by adding false stories about their own deaths. He used to pass her house and they would exchange flowers. But her parents wanted her to marry another man. Gonzalo beat him and ran away. Their love was not successful. Although separated, they missed each other.
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. What makes Dona Laura think that Don Gonzalo is an ill-natured man? Why do neither Dona Laura nor Don Gonzalo reveal their true identities?
Ans: Gonzalo’s rude behaviour makes Laura judge him as ill-natured. He scares the birds Laura is feeding. He wants a bench only for himself and complains when he does not get. He is angry when she gives a reply to his rudeness.
b. At what point of time, do you think, Laura and Gonzalo begin to recognise each other?
Ans: They do not recognize each other at first. But when the topic of their own love affair starts, both know each other. But they take fake identities. Each thinks the other does not know this. And they keep their false identities till the end.
c. When does Dona Laura realise that Don Gonzalo was her former lover?
Ans: Dona Laura realises that Don Gonzalo was her former lover when he tells her about the Silver Maiden named Laura Llorente. When she hears admirable description from Don Gonzalo, she realises him as her former lover.
d. Why do Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo spin fictitious stories about themselves?
Ans: Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo hide their identities and tell false stories about their own deaths. They don’t like to tell each other about marrying someone else. Also, both feel they are not young nor good-looking to renew their affair.
e. How do Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo feel about each other?
Ans: Laura and Gonzalo have similar feelings about each other. They are surprised but also pleased to meet. He has her image of a beautiful girl waiting at her window and she remembers him as the brave youth passing her house daily.
Reference to the context
g. What is the effect of flashback in the play when Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo knew that they were the lovers in the past?
Ans: Flashback technique is a literary device used in novel, short story and drama to present the scenes, events, episodes that happened before the plot begins. It is helpful for better understanding of the plot and characters. It is the foundation of this play. In this play, the flashback technique is used to capture the past romance of the romantic couple. It has been used in the play as memories of the characters to give better insight about the past life of the central characters Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo. Through this technique, audience come to know that once they were romantic lovers in their youth time. So, the technique has made the romantic comedy more interesting and insightful. The couple starts to tell their flashback stories from youth time. We come to know different mysteries and twists about the couple from the technique. They present their flashback not as their own.
h. Discuss how the ‘A Sunny Morning’ play is built around humour and irony.
Ans: They play has humour and irony in the activities and stories of the old lovers. Each lies but the other knows the truth. The meeting of Don Gonzalo and Dona Laura in the park is funny because they quarrel at first. He wants an empty bench for himself, and Laura teases him for this. He is angry with her. When he cannot find a bench, he has to sit on Laura’s bench. We laugh at this scene. The main irony is in their stories. They hide their identities and tell false stories about their own deaths. But each recognizes the other. Each feels the other is believing the fake story, but we know both are just pretending.
i. How is the title ‘A Sunny Morning’ justifiable? Discuss.
Ans: The title A Sunny Morning’ is justifiable because it means a warm and bright sunny morning like new beginning in the life of past lovers. Morning is full of brightness, freshness, new beginning and new opportunities. We can also find the same kind of new opportunities in the romantic couple. Just like new morning brings hope, we also see hope of reunion between two lovers.
Reference beyond the text
a. What do you predict will happen in the next meeting between Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo? Discuss.
Ans: I think that slowly and gradually they will unite again. In the next meeting, they will express their inner feelings with each other. They will also share their reasons for separation. I think they can’t remain unknown to each other for a long time. As a result, they will start to show deep love and respect for each other.
b. Was it wise for Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo to keep their identities secret? How might their secrets affect future meetings?
Ans: Yes, it was wise for Dona Laura and Don Gonzalo to keep their identities secret from each other because it will help to express all their inner feelings to each other without any hesitation. If they reveal their identity, they can’t express their past obligations and experiences freely. Now, they are physically weak and they have to follow social norms and values. Social obligation doesn’t allow them to follow their inner heart. So, it the best way to continue the relation without exposing their identities. Their secrets can’t remain for a long time. Slowly and gradually, they will reveal their secrets, if they continue the meetings in the future. They won’t be able to talk to each other if the secrecy is revealed directly to each other.
c. Write the summary of the play.
Ans: This play is about two lovers, Don Gonzalo and Dona Laura, who happen to meet after 50 years. They recognize each other but hide their identities. He says he is Gonzalo’s cousin and she says she has heard Laura’s story. They recall the romantic past by adding false stories about their own deaths. He used to pass her house and they would exchange flowers. But her parents wanted her to marry another man. Gonzalo beat him and ran away. Their love was not successful. Although separated, they missed each other.