a play by André D.

Performance: March 2005
Hillcrest Juvenile Hall, San Mateo

Sioukuei, The Owl: a professor, 37 years old, young for an owl (approximately 22 in human years)
Diamond, The Canary: a student, 19 years old, at the prime of her life (approximately 15 in human years)
Setting: a college in the middle of the trees in the Amazon Forest
Time: the last week of school; spring
At Rise: It is night; Sioukuei is at home, laying in bed


I must go see my brother before he dies. The only problem is I don’t know where he’s at. And I’ve heard that little bird talking about the same place, but I’m too scared to ask her to take me there. If I wasn’t going blind, I’d ask for directions and go myself. But since I’m hardly able to see, that seems pointless. If I wasn’t so horrified of being alone with that dreadful bird, all of this would be a lot easier. It sucks.


(Next day. In a college classroom. Sioukuei is sitting. Diamond is standing.)
Professor, can I talk to you?

Sioukuei: I’m about to leave. (gets up and starts walking out)

But it’s really important. I need your help with something. If I don’t get somebody to teach me what we’ve been learning for the past week, I’m going to flunk the final.


Sorry, I’m busy.
(Diamond starts singing a hypnotizing tune, and the Professor turns around and walks back in the classroom.)

Sioukuei: Hurry up. You have five minutes.
(Diamond puts her books down on the teacher’s desk, and Sioukuei flinches.)
Diamond: There’s somethin’ that’s been botherin’ me. Over the first week before vacation, I feel like there’s a hostile tension between us.

I don’t have time for this. (starts walking away)

Diamond: Can you just talk to me for more than one minute?
Sioukuei: There’s nothin’ to talk about. Some birds just can’t be trusted.
Diamond: What is supposed to be meant by that?
(Diamond stands up, and Sioukuei ducks and covers.)
Diamond: What’s wrong with you? Why are you so jumpy around me?
(Sioukuei starts crying)
Diamond: Well . . .
(4 seconds pass. Sioukuei is still crying.)
Diamond: Well, if you’re not gonna tell me, I’ll just leave. (starts to walk away)
(under her breath)

Don’t let me leave. Don’t let me leave. Don’t let me leave.

(Diamond starts walking back.)

Sioukuei: About a year ago I was with my best friend. She was a canary, just like you. We went to a party, and she introduced me to some more of her friends. And her friends started makin’ fun of me, callin’ me names like, “pretty bird.” And though her friends were messin’ with me, Tasia just sat and watched. After a while, they started pushing me and fighting me. It got so bad I was in a coma for three weeks, and all this time Tasia just sat there and watched.
Diamond: Wow, I’m sorry about what your best friend did to you, but not all canaries are the same.

No, all canaries are the same. I’ve seen you during class, during the exercises, thinking you are better than everyone else, just like they thought they were better than me.


What?! No! The only reason I tried to be the best is because I wanted you to notice me.


Why would anybody want me to notice them?


That’s ALL I want. Haven’t you ever just wanted something’?

Sioukuei: No. (It’s obvious she’s lying.)
Diamond: Are you sure?
Sioukuei: Yes! Why are you asking me so many questions?
Diamond: I’m sick of you having such a negative attitude toward me. I’ve tried my damnedest to be humble. But you just refuse to allow me to be nice.
Diamond: Teach me. You owe me at least that much.
Sioukuei: I don’t owe you anything. Get out of my classroom.
Diamond: Please. If you teach me and I pass the final, I swear you’ll never see me again.
Sioukuei: Get out of my classroom or I’ll call security!
Diamond: Fine, then if you don’t want to teach me, I’ll do it myself.
(Diamond leaves.)
Sioukuei: (Last day before Diamond’s parents arrive. Graduation is tomorrow.
Graduation practice has just ended.)
(Sioukuei goes up to Diamond and offers her a drink.)
Congratulations. That was impressive that you passed the test – and by yourself.
Diamond: It was a lot of work. Thanks for nothing.
Sioukuei: I’m sorry.
Diamond: Growing up unloved was the worst feeling in the world. That’s why attention is so important now. I’m afraid that if I’m not considered the best, no one will remember me.
Sioukuei: I see. My family’s dysfunctional, too. When I was seven, my mother just decided to pack up and leave. I didn’t even know what was going on. We all just left my brother in California. It’s been thirty years. And I just heard he’s about to die, but I don’t how to get to California.
Diamond: California? I know how to get to California! I’ll take you to California, if you teach me on the way.
Sioukuei: Four days later. In California

Who’s better, the Power Rangers or the Ninja Turtles?

Diamond: The Ninja Turtles.
Sioukuei: You’re crazy! There’s no way a bunch of shells could stop the Megazord!
Diamond: This is it.
(Diamond stops, amazed, and takes in a deep breath.)
Sioukuei: What’s wrong?
Diamond: We should go back. There’s no one here.
Sioukuei: What do you mean? (Sioukuei looks where Diamond was looking) NO!!
Thirty years, and now I’m never going to see my brother again.
Diamond: He’s in a better place. Owls don’t live forever.
(Sioukuei starts crying and Diamond hugs her.)
    The End.