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a short play

by

Emily Y.

   

Characters:

CURIOUS, the Harmonica, male, 17.

WISE, the Disk, male, 56.

Setting: In a storage room of a music school. There are different kinds of instruments in the room, such as a violin and a piano. They are dusty and old. The room is bright as sunlight comes in from the window shining on a birthday cake.

Time: An afternoon on Curious’ birthday.

At Rise: Wise is playing old music from his disk; Curious sits and listens, looks bored, as he is looking outside the window.

   

WISE

Hey, Curious, why are you looking so bored? Isn’t my music enlightening? I especially picked these songs for your birthday.

CURIOUS

Thanks, dad. But . . . (yawns) these songs really make me feel sleepy.

WISE

Curious! (frown) You should be more appreciative to old songs.

CURIOUS

Come on, man. It’s my birthday, let’s not talk about these boring things. Look outside, look at the dancing trees, look at the resting sky . . . the world is so wide and wonderful. Why don’t we go explore the changing world, rather than staying in this old storage room, passing on some “tradition” that nobody cares about?

WISE

What did you say!? (shocked)

CURIOUS

You’ve heard me. (turns face away)

WISE

Curious. (Suppressing anger) Give some RESPECT to our family tradition, and our ancestor.

CURIOUS

Who gives a song about tradition. This is a modern world, ain’t nobody care about dead people . . .

WISE

(Furious, raises his hand, about to hit Curious) Foolish! Foolish son!

(CURIOUS looks straightly into Wise’s eyes with anger, not intending to dodge Wise’s fist.)

(Wise’s fist freezes for a second, then he takes his hand back. After a while of silence, Wise starts speaking uncertainly.)

WISE

(Sighs) Curious, you have changed.

CURIOUS

I changed? (Laughs) You know what? Even the world is changing in every minute, why can’t I change?

WISE

There are some things that can’t be changed. Our family tradition has remained the same for centuries, and it will pass on eternally.

CURIOUS

That’s what you think. You lock yourself in here, not knowing what’s happening outside. That’s why you can say this so easily – Family tradition can’t be changed? Everything will get crushed under the wheel of the changing world, unless you follow the wheel. Go out there, and you will find out that modern music is the main stream right now.

WISE

Wow wow wow. My son, did you get brainwashed by the evil music?

CURIOUS

You are the one who got brainwashed, by old music. My passion for music is strong, I like how it is refreshing; and more importantly, modern music is what people in the world are listening to: I want to be part of the world.

WISE

Says who? You can play old music and you are still an important part of the world, See the violin, and the piano? They love listening to the old songs I play. And my songs are popular in school, too, since people play them everyday.

CURIOUS

No, no, no, no . . . Only old guys like your old songs. Have you ever tried to discover my world? I am not an old guy like you. Other kids tease me for only knowing old songs. Oh, I hated those days.

WISE

(In pain) Why . . . you never tell me about that? When you were little, you were always smart and obedient, and every time you had learned one song, you would be really happy . . . (delighted, memorizing) You would dance around the room

CURIOUS

… and I kept singing the old song for a whole day until you told me to stop, “Silly boy, don’t hurt your throat . . .”

WISE

Yeah, yeah (laughed, then stopped) but . . . but why don’t you do that anymore?

CURIOUS

Because I have grown up, I have found my dream. Why can’t you just support my dream?!

WISE

Son, I always support you on almost everything. But this time, no, “pursuing modern music”? You won’t want that, you are too immature to set that as your dream . . .

CURIOUS

I’m not a kid anymore. I really don’t understand, why are you so resisted to modern music?

WISE

(Slowly shakes his head) Why don’t we eat the cake first? It’s melting, didn’t you always wanted a cake for your birthday?

CURIOUS

Don’t try to change the topic. I’m not interested in those childish things anymore. If you really want me to be happy, support my dream.

(Wise is bout to cut the cake, but sadly takes his hand back.)

WISE

Don’t you understand? Old music symbolizes the wisdom of our ancestors. Moreover, it is a link to our family culture. If you don’t work hard to study the old music, our family tradition won’t continue.

CURIOUS

But is family tradition really that important, even more important than my will?

WISE

You are still young, you don’t know what’s good for you . . .

CURIOUS

I know exactly what I want! I want to go outside, see what the world is listening to. I want to play modern songs, and blend into the modern world! I don’t want to get rotten in this broken storage room! And die without anybody knowing me!

WISE

(Calm) Of course you are too young, that’s why the outside world is so attractive. You see the refreshing, beautiful part of the world. But what you don’t know is the cruel, dangerous side. That’s why I don’t let you go out, you will get hurt.

CURIOUS

That’s a lame excuse. You don’t want me to get hurt? Why did you beat me up in the first place?

WISE

Because you snuck out from the window and went to the club that one time! Do you know how much I was worried about you? How could you do such a bad thing!

CURIOUS

I just went there to listen to music! All the other kids could go there, but me! Because I have a stubborn old song lover as my dad!

WISE

Listen to MODERN music! You got corrupted by modern music, I knew this day will come eventually. And you were smelling like alcohol too! Didn’t you know drinking would hurt your body parts? What if you can’t play songs anymore?

CURIOUS

I know, hahaha, that’s all you care about what if I can’t play the OLD SONGS anymore? That’s why you taped up the window, so I would stay in here forever.

WISE

Don’t get me wrong, I only taped up the window to prevent you from sneaking to the club again. When I beat you up, I hurt even more than you do, but I won’t regret it, if my punishment can change your mind.

CURIOUS

(Laughs) Yes, I changed – Are you satisfied? You think blocking the window can stop me from going out? Interesting. Even if you don’t support my curiosity, the whole world will fulfill me.

WISE

What do you mean?

CURIOUS

Few days ago, I met Mr. Free the Fox, he is also a modern music lover. He told me lots of amazing things about the outside world.

WISE

Don’t trust the fox too much . . . they are cunning (worried)

CURIOUS

NO, he’s the kindest creature I have ever met. He even offered to help me travel around the world, and listen to all kinds of modern music in different places. I want to go with him.

WISE

What!? Are you going to leave me? Just for that stupid modern music?

CURIOUS

It’s not stupid! It’s my obsession, my dream!

WISE

You don’t even know that cunning fox, and you want to go with him? Are you out of your mind? What if he plans to sell you to the black market? I told you, the world is more dangerous than you think!

CURIOUS

His name is Mr. Free, not “cunning fox”! And I trust him, although we only known each other for few days, I can see from his eyes – we share the same passion.

WISE

(In pain) No, don’t go. I won’t let you take this risk. You don’t even know him, he must have ensnared you in some way, listen to me.

CURIOUS

I don’t know him? It’s more like I don’t know YOU! You always wanted me to inherit the old songs, I don’t even like them.

WISE

You don’t know . . . me? (covers his eyes, weeping) All these years, I have always been concerned about you. Everything I do is because I want you to live a safe, a happy life, and ensure you a successful future, because . . . I love you. And that’s how you think of me?

CURIOUS

Dad . . . are you crying?

WISE

I’m such a horrible father. I do things that I think are best for you, but I never try to understand what you really want.

CURIOUS

Oh, dad. Sorry, I didn’t really mean it. I appreciate what you have done for me all these years. I finally understand your love for me, and your effort for our family. Now it’s my turn to take over this responsibility.

WISE

No, you don’t have to. You have been a good son all these years, bearing all the pain yourself. Now I will let you do the things you really wanted to do play modern music, isn’t that your dream? Then go for it! Don’t just give up halfway, that’s no like our family?

CURIOUS

Thank you, Dad, I won’t let you down.

WISE

Happy birthday, silly boy! Father and son give each other a big hug.

THE END



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