- Where Asian writers get unpeeled -
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Old Mr Webster
By: Rebecca Tran
Lights open on the entire stage. Both sides project a winter day; the left and right projections differ. The differences are obvious. CHARICE is waiting for PATRICK; she is wearing a long coat along with a scarf and hat; it's cold. He enters wearing a long coat with many layers and holds a guitar case on his back. They are both wearing contrasting clothing; they don't match, but their accessories do. They wave as they walk to each other.
CHARICE Ni hao.
PATRICK Ni hao. Are you... (He imitates someone who is cold)
CHARICE Bu, but wo shi hen (She yawns)
CHARICE Yes. Wo shi hen lei. I'm very tired.
PATRICK Wei shan me?
CHARICE I slept at... (She starts to count in Mandarin using her fingers) Yi, er, san, si, wu... liu er... Qi, ba…
CHARICE Jiu, shi. I slept at... Liu er shi.
PATRICK Liu er shi? Wei shan me?
PATRICK Uh, du bu qi. It so early. But um I see in movie. They say... Long time no see? I say it right?
CHARICE Yeah. But um, I saw you yesterday!
PATRICK Yesterday...? Wo... Wo... Wo bu zhi dao.
CHARICE Oh. Um, but I saw you ming tian.
PATRICK Yes, I see you today.
CHARICE No, no. Um, sa yi tian?
CHARICE Do you have your "hao peng you"?
PATRICK Shi, shi. (He takes out a Chinese to English dictionary from his bag.)
CHARICE I saw you... Zuo tian.
PATRICK Yes! ‘Zuo tian’ means yesterday...?
CHARICE shows him the dictionary.
PATRICK Hao. Du bu qi.
CHARICE searches in the dictionary.
CHARICE Mei guan xi.
PATRICK Shan zai... (He shows her the page for 'shan zai') Shan zai, are you... Ni er? Du bu qi, I always forget er.
CHARICE Er... Hungry?
PATRICK Yes, yes! Hungry!
CHARICE Um, bu. Wo shi... I ate breakfast. Ni ne?
PATRICK Um. I eat the breakfast too.
CHARICE Hao. What do you want to—
PATRICK Oh! I have son li wu. Um, how... (He looks in the dictionary) Gift?
CHARICE For me? Xie xie!
PATRICK It is yi shou ge. Um... (He mimics playing a guitar)
CHARICE A song?
PATRICK Shi, but no... (Singing) Lalalala.
CHARICE ... Lyrics?
PATRICK Wo bu qi. Like, (Singing) do re me fa so la si do.
CHARICE Mei guan xi! Is that why you brought your guitar?
CHARICE points to the guitar.
PATRICK Shi, shi, shi!
CHARICE Can you play (she imitates him playing) for me?
PATRICK Shan zai?
CHARICE Yes. Wo... (She searches in the dictionary.) Wo hao ting.
PATRICK But outside very (He mimics someone being cold).
CHARICE Mei guan xi.
She stuffs her hands in her pocket. He grabs one of CHARICE'S hands and rubs his hands together to make them warm. He blows on her hands to make them warmer. He does this to both hands.
CHARICE Xie xie. I'll do it for you, okay. (She grabs his both his hands and blows on them.)
PATRICK Xie xie.
CHARICE Mei wen ti.
PATRICK Hao. Ni ting wo chang ge.
PATRICK takes out a guitar and starts to play a soft melody. Projections start to change. Now both sides look the exact same and the light closes to focus on only CHARICE and PATRICK.
CHARICE Xie xie. Ni... This ... Son li wu hao mei, hao piao liang.
PATRICK Ah. Wo shi fei chan, fei chan cai xing.
CHARICE Me too.
Lights close. Projections fade out.BW
Plot – “Old Mr. Webster” (the title is still a work in progress) is a short scene that takes a look at relationships with a language barrier. The dialogue is carried between a couple speaking English and Mandarin. The stage directions in the scene provide a contrast to the dialogue. Particularly, how their clothing matches.
I do not have a website, but I would love to hear feedback! Readers are welcome to message me on my personal Facebook or Tumblr.
Biography - Rebecca Tran is a student studying theatre in Toronto, ON. Her motto for writing is to write a piece that is simple, but turn it into something beautiful.