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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) 


PATRICK              Lei. 


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…


PATRICK              Jiu.


CHARICE              Jiu, shi. I slept at... Liu er shi. 


PATRICK              Liu er shi? Wei shan me?


CHARICE              Busy. 


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? 


PATRICK              Huh? 


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              Singing? 


PATRICK              Shi! 


CHARICE              Mei guan xi! Is that why you brought your guitar? 


PATRICK              Hm? 


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              Happy?


PATRICK nods. 


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. 

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