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CHARACTERS Simon Maya Wong Amy Nguyen The Telephone Pimp The Driver Nurse Aspasia Nguyen Doctor Solomon
SCENE ONE On the wall, a movie screen shows a home video of a baby’s birth: a doting father’s shaky camera-handling along with his excited yammers at his wife. Finally, a faceless doctor lifts up a red, naked baby, and the baby cries. Meanwhile on stage, a thin middle-aged Asian woman in a white sweater and long black skirt nervously arranges her dainty tea set on a neat, pastel table.
(a male voice):
Oh god, who’s there?
(Enter Simon, a tall, and well-dressed business man in a white overcoat.) SIMON: MAYA: Simon. Simon! (They hug) I can’t believe it’s you, finally!
SIMON: I know. It’s been forever, Mother. I’ve imagined you all my life, and thought about what you’d be like. MAYA: SIMON: MAYA: Tell me Well, what do you think? You’re beautiful! Oh my God, Simon! (She hugs him.) Please, tell me about yourself!
everything! How have you been? What do you do now?
SIMON: Well, I’ve graduated from Stanford Law School, first in my class, and have recently been elected City Councilman in Miami! MAYA: Oh my God! I’m so proud of you, Son. (She hugs him.) You are so tall! I don’t understand how you got to be so tall. Your father and I are both such short people. SIMON: MAYA: SIMON: MAYA: SIMON: MAYA: SIMON: Tell me about my father. What’s his name? Well…his name is not that important. What did he do? I don’t know. How’d you meet? I’d rather not say. Did you love him?
MAYA: No, Simon. But I loved you. And that’s all that matters, to me. It wasn’t easy, you know, after nine and a half months, giving you away? I wanted to keep you, so badly, I did. But I had already by then signed the papers, and the doctors, they put me to sleep, they would barely let me hold you, Simon! I can barely remember. You were so precious, so vulnerable, I thought to myself, poor little thing, my poor baby, oh I loved you so! SIMON: I know you did, Mother. I know it wasn’t an easy choice. But you had to choose what you thought was right. You had to, and you chose good parents for me. They took really good care of me, treated me as their own. Really, I couldn’t have asked for better parents. MAYA: You couldn’t?
SIMON: It was a real selfless act on your part, and I’m forever grateful to you for your sacrifice, Mother. MAYA: SIMON: (Hugs him.) Oh baby! I shouldn’t have! I shouldn’t have let you go… It’s okay, Mother. It’s okay.
SCENE TWO In the darkness, SIMON’s recorded voice yells out from the speakers: “Tell me what happened, Maya! Tell me about those days!” MAYA’s recorded voice responds: “Okay…well…so I had this friend…” The Spice Girls “If You Wanna Be My Lover” plays loudly as the lights come back on. On the video screen is playing the music video from <<SPICE WORLD>>, the Spice Girls movie. MAYA is lying on a cute baby blue rug in her small studio apartment, dressed in a sexy pink tank top and jeans. Her friend, AMY, is lying next to her, a tall, slightly chubby woman dressed from head to foot in various shades of green. The two girls on the downstage floor stare directly past the audience, although it is implied that they are watching the movie screen behind them. The movie is muted while the characters speak.
AMY: MAYA: attitude. AMY: MAYA:
I can’t believe we’re watching this shit. This is ridiculous. Shh! I kind of like it. I mean, they’re cheesy and all, but I like their Waddaya mean, “Girl Power”? Yeah.
AMY: No, Maya. That lollipop shit is absolutely retarded. I can’t believe they made it into a movie. It’s totally making a fucking Grade F puppet show out of the whole concept of feminism! It’s sick! Especially that blond one. MAYA: AMY: MAYA: Baby? Yeah her! Aw. Baby’s adorable.
AMY: She’s adorable! That’s the whole motherfucking problem! She’s too fucking cute! She looks like a fucking eight-year-old! Is that a BIB she’s wearing? Look! There! What the fuck? What kind of message are they sending to girls about womanhood? That we should all be cute and blond and skinny and never grow the hell up? Is that girl power? MAYA: Shh, Maya. First of all, she’s not that skinny. I’d say she’s at best on the heavy side of average. Everyone knows it’s Posh that has the good body.
Ew! Okay? And second of all, don’t hate. The Spice Girls come in all flavors. So Baby’s a little too cute for you – that’s fine, she’s BABY If you . want strong womanhood, you can watch Sporty. Is that the black one? NO Amy! Come on, the African American one is Scary. That one there, that’s Sporty. She’s an ugly, angry dyke. There you go. WHAT? Oh, and third of all, Tracy, please shut up. I think they’re really entertaining. Ugh. (Turns on her back) Okay. Whatever. For you, my love. Mwa! (A few seconds later. AMY picks up an apple.)
AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA:
AMY: MAYA: AMY:
Ew! Maya! There’s a Spice Girl on my apple! Shh! I put that there. I’m collecting the stickers. Baby, this shit is totally over-commercialized! It’s not music; they’re not people; it’s a fucking Capitalist conspiracy to prey on our gullible vanities. They make up these empty little personality puppets so you can “choose you favorite” and feel like a unique individual for identifying with, like, Ginger, ‘cause she’s hot and you think you’re hot, and then you buy her memorabilia like a fucking Spice Zombie! It’s total vanity! It’s marketing genius. I don’t like it at all.
MAYA: (Sits up to hear better, still transfixed in the movie.) Look, the Spice Girls are diverse to represent ALL girls. Girl power means we’re all (raps) ZIG-AZAG-AH! – we’re all cool and united together under (sings) IF YOU WANNA BE MY LOVER YOU GOTTA GET WITH MY FRIENDS. – anyways, the movie’s almost over, (sings) BUT FRIENDSHIP NEVER ENDS!!! (dances along) Okay it’s done.
(Movie screen goes blank.) AMY: MAYA: Are you happy? Very.
AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: last week. AMY:
Let’s not do that ever again. Let’s do it again and say we didn’t. I’m kidding. Waddaya wanna eat? Whatever you’ll buy me Sugar Mama. You know I’m dead broke. Yeah. I know. Whatchu up for? Chinese? Okay, that’s cheap. Okay. But Sugar Baby, you know you gotta get yourself a job. I know. I’m looking. Honestly, I am. I went to like five auditions just
My poor little starving artist. Too bad they’re not looking for an Asian Spice. You’d be perfect. Have you tried yesterday’s Village Voice for a real job? Yeah, and it’s full of secretarial shit. I don’t want any of that. Suck it up, you gotta moonlight somewhere. No, but that crap isn’t worth my time. I’m not about to die in an office, alphabetizing manila folders and pouring old bitches coffee. Fuck no. And it takes up my whole weekend! and only pays like half-a-fuck an hour! If you earned half-a-fuck an hour, all weekend, every weekend, you would not be sitting here, watching my TV, and freeloading my Chinese food. Yeah, you know, I’d be really fucking rich with a half-a-fuck job. Hey, seriously, you know you could be. For half a fuck an hour, you’d be totally loaded. You’re a real sexy bitch, you know that? Ever read the back pages of the Village Voice? Grow a penis in seven days. Chi-chi-chi-chia! No. Just a page behind that. You know, with all the Asian chicks in bikini’s? Call Ying Lee for sum dim sum fun! You can be like that. Excuse me? Um…Are you suggesting that I should whore myself so I can pay you for my rent? Uh-huh. I’m sure it pays pretty well. And the sex can’t be that bad. Maybe you can pay off your credit cards while you’re at it. But what about all your feminist shit? Isn’t it really demeaning for women?
MAYA: AMY: MAYA:
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA:
Well, I think a strong, conscious and conscientious woman should be able to do whatever she wants with her body. In a Capitalist society, the real proof of ownership is if you can generate a profit from your goods. It’s illegal Amy! But it really shouldn’t be. Men and women should all be able to prostitute themselves as they please, like in Amsterdam. The only reason prostitution is illegal is because it threatens the institution of marriage, which if you’ve ever read Fredrick Engels, is a male-dominated institution primarily for the purpose of passing down property legitimately to a man’s genetic heirs. In order to make sure your son, who you’re gonna pass all your aristocratic fortunes to, is really your son, you gotta make sure your woman is exclusively your women, and not going around making your kids with some other dude. Thus, my friend, marriage was invented as primarily an economic policy to pass property down genetic lines, and this is inherently sexist because women are merely tools, objects, slaves, required to be chaste and faithful for the system to function properly, while men have historically been allowed to fuck around as they please. Okay. But how does that relate to becoming a whore? Well, Maya, a whore is the only free woman in the system. When a woman decides –and this is only if she consciously and freely decides – to make a profit from the inherent sexual inequality between men and women, she is using the system to set herself free. Until recently in history, a woman’s property always belonged to her father or her husband, but a whore’s property is her own. Whores are the world’s first entrepreneurs, Maya! Back in the Golden Age of Athens, there was this famous hetera named Aspasia, she was Pericles’ courtesan, and she and the other heterae were the only women who knew how to read, write, do business, and own property. Amy, marriage isn’t just about property! What about the children? I read a recent study which showed that human beings are not naturally meant to be monogamists for life. We’re meant to be serial monogamists! We’re supposed to have enough natural affection or our sexual partner to raise a child to a survivable age, traditionally around seven years. And then the chemical passion goes away, you know, the “seven year itch,” and biologically, you’re both supposed to move on. Of course, our society’s a little more complicated, and I’d say the purpose of marriage these days is to save up money for college tuition. But anyway, fucking around is the way human beings are supposed to be, and marriage is actually a socioeconomic institution, contrary to our biological nature. Whoa! Okay. So you want me to just break up with Perry and prostitute myself?
No. I don’t think it’s for you. But, theoretically, it’s not a bad idea, so long as you are making a conscious, free choice, and no children are created in the process. And you don’t screw up any other marriages where there are children, especially college-bound children. That’s ridiculous. You don’t think prostitution is, like, by its definition, demeaning? No. Not if the prostitute doesn’t perceive it to be demeaning. In fact, it should be pretty empowering. Empowering? Yeah, like “girl power”! Shut up Amy. Let’s get some Chinese food!
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA:
Simon’s voice in the darkness: “Then what happened?” Pause. A phone rings. On stage, there is only one small area, spotlighted on AMY, upstage left. She is wearing a green tank top, a little too tight around her belly, and a tight black mini skirt. She is holding a giant red cell phone from the nineties. A woman’s voice on a megaphone, the smok-ified voice of the actress who plays MAYA, answers the phone:
Hi, my name’s Amy Nguyen. I saw your ad in the Village Voice. I’m calling to ask about your agency. I’d like to work with you. Are you taking interviews today? D’ya wanna work tonight? We can pick you up around 6. Where Uh. I live on Prince Street and Broadway.
WOMAN: d’you live? AMY:
WOMAN: Nguyen. This is your first time working with us, isn’t it? Is your name Asian or something?
Yeah, I’m a Vietnamese-American.
WOMAN: Great. You’ll be doing great here. Our Asian stopped working for us yesterday. But she had been making big runs all month. I can pass on some of her clients to you. AMY: Uh, thanks. Do I have to bring anything?
WOMAN: Well, you better bring your supplies. Wait up, Nguyen. Is this your first time? AMY: No. I mean, I’m not like a virgin or anything.
WOMAN: Have you done this type of work before? You better not be naïve about this shit. Are you a cop? AMY: No, I’m not a cop.
WOMAN: Yeah. (Chuckles to herself.) I know you’re not a cop. (Chuckles some more.) B.Y .O.C.A.L.: Bring Your Own Condoms And Lubricant. Your driver’s name is Mark. He’ll meet you on the corner of Prince and Broadway at three PM sharp. AMY: WOMAN: AMY: Three PM? That’s like in an hour. Well you better hurry up then. Don’t show up late. Okay… (Click. Tone.) This is so weird. This is so not me. What kind of underwear should I wear? (Takes out from the darkness: some pink flowery underwear, some lime green granny panties.) No, not this. Or this. Or this. (Finds a white lacey bikini.) This is probably my best bet.
Moby music plays with the sounds of swishing cars. All is dark except the video screen: cars at night in NYC, driving by the different districts of the city. Finally, the camera turns onto AMY in the back seat of a car, still in her green shirt and black miniskirt, looking nervously ahead. On stage, the actor who plays SIMON is spotlighted, downstage center. He is dressed as a pimp-driver, standing menacingly over the audience with his hands on the wheel.
So you’ve never done this before.
(On screen, the video image of AMY shakes her head: “No,” says the video AMY.) DRIVER: Are you ready for this?
(Video Amy nods: “Uh-huh.”) DRIVER: You’re not a cop or anything?
(“No” shakes Video Amy’s head.) DRIVER: (Chuckles to himself.) I know you’re not a cop. (Chuckles again.) Here we are. 16F. Just ring on the doorbell. You got it, ladybug.
(Door slams. Pause. Door slams again. Enter AMY in her spotlight, upstage right.) DRIVER: AMY: How was that? (Confidently.) Not so bad.
DRIVER: Good. I knew you’d get the hang of it. You look like the part, you know. And I always say, looks are everything. AMY: What do you mean, asshole?
DRIVER: I mean, you’s a hundred times more voluptuous-looking than that other Asian chick, whatshername, Miss Thin Lin. I didn’t like her. But you, you got curves, and that’s good. AMY: DRIVER: AMY: Thanks. So did you like it this time?
I guess so. Didn’t hurt as much. He was a short little old man. Really nice, actually. Gave me a Sangria and crackers with chevre. We talked a lot about Weber and the failures of the Bolsheviks. I mean, did you fuck? Yeah, and he paid me three times the rate as a tip.
DRIVER: That’s a girl. You just go and talk them silly first. Hey, how’s about you share a little bit of a wealth. You know, I’m supposed to charge a percentage. AMY: Fuck no, bitch. You drive.
DRIVER: Okay, ladybug. Have it your way. But when this is over, you’re going home on the subway. AMY: With pleasure.
(Black out. Sounds of subway.)
Back in Amy’s Room. The lights are on. Maya is lying on the rug with Amy’s big red cell phone. She is crying, hysterically. Enter Amy, through the door. MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: Where have you been, Amy? I’m sorry. I was out with some of my friends. Again? Yeah, I’m sorry to keep you up worrying about me. Are you okay? No! Perry broke up with me! Oh, I’m sorry my love. What happened? It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to talk about it. Okay. Well, to be honest, I think Perry was a womanizing prick anyway. I brought you some Chinese food. I don’t want Chinese food. I’m on a diet. You’re always on a diet, but you’re already dead skinny, just the way Cosmo Girl likes you. I’ve got big thighs. No you don’t. Did Perry say that? Do you know why they call it Cosmo Girl and not Cosmo Woman? Because Cosmo Woman sounds like a fat alien?
No, because it’s all a Y-chromosome scheme to kill women, totally eliminate them from the world. You see all the pictures in the magazines? All 12-year old girls, dead ones. Our society’s facing a dangerous extinction of women, death by dieting via a mind-control tool called the media. That dead French Parada girl is inducing you to commit suicide – this is the great famine of womanhood, these bitch models fuck up their hormones and never reach puberty, it’s a tragic plot by the males who control the fashion industry. Whatever, they’re like ninety percent gay. Precisely. And why do you think they’re gay? ‘Cause they like men? No, because they don’t like women. They want to make us skinny and boobless like their pre-pubescent boyfriends. But that kills the woman in the girl. Do you know modeling has one of the highest rates of jobrelated mortalities? That’s a shame. I was considering that. Alright, pass me the Chinese food. (Puts it on two plates.) No, that’s okay, I don’t want any. But you always want Chinese food! Whatsamatter? I guess I’m sort of trying to lose my belly. You mean you’re going on a diet? No, it’s different. How is it different? I’m doing it to acquire power, not to give it away. What are you talking about? Okay, so the reality is, in this world, the better-looking you are, the better you’ll do in life. And unfortunately, we individuals don’t get to define what the standard is for being good-looking. Okay… But I want the power that comes with being good-looking. It’s a very practical tool, for seduction, whether in the business world or the entertainment industry or anywhere. So, I figure I have two options: either I work my ass off persuading people in a grand popular movement to change the standard of good-lookingness to fit my body, the natural body of woman, or, I can go to the gym and change my body to fit the standard. Realistically, the latter is far more efficient.
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY:
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY:
Hold up a sec. How is what you’re doing any different from a diet? Maybe it’s not. But I am fully aware of the health consequences of my actions, and I am making a conscious and free choice to do the thing that gives me more power. I’m not being bitched around by Cosmo, okay? But you are. And you’re sacrificing your womanly individuality, you hypocrite. I’m not. There is no individuality, Maya Wang. That’s an ideology, a mere superstructure of our times. There’s people who have power and then there’s people who don’t. I’m gonna be one of the people who do. Sometimes ideology helps people who don’t have power gain power. Amy, what’s really going on? This doesn’t sound like you. You’re right, Maya. I have a little bit of a confession to make. Uh-oh. What’s up? Well, remember that conversation we had like two months ago about prostitution? So I decided to test my theory out. And, for the last two months, I’ve been working as a prostitute. Whoa! Holy shit. What did you say? You know what I said. I made a free, conscious choice. I don’t regret a thing. Did you get yourself checked for STD’s? Yeah, like four times. My doctor thinks I’m nuts. Whatever, better safe than sorry. I love you, Amy. I’m sorry I don’t pay my share of the rent. And I use your phone, and make you do everything. It’s not about you, Maya, though I think you should really get a job. Be a waitress or something. That’s what you actresses are supposed to do. Anyway, ladybug, I’m proud of my choice. Okay. Fine. I support you, Amy, in your free, conscious decision. Anyway, I have a confession too. Yeah? I’m pregnant. Two months pregnant. And I don’t know whose baby it is. And I told Perry. And he dumped me! (Begins to cry again.) Oh, Maya darling! Don’t cry! It’ll be alright! You can still get an abortion. No! I’m going to keep it!
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY:
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY:
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY: MAYA:
With what money? I don’t know! But I can’t kill a cute little baby. Especially my cute little baby. One day, it’s going to grow up, and come back, and thank me for giving it life, in spite of everything. In the mean time, what are you going to do to feed it? Clothe it? Send it to college? I’m not. I’ve already contacted an adoption agency. There’s this really sweet couple from the Upper East Side who’ve been together for eighteen years, but they can’t have kids, and they desperately want a sweet Jewish or Asian baby. That’s sweet, Amy, but do you have any idea what you’re getting into? After seven more months, you’re not going to wanna give it up. It’s going to be too painful. And what are you going to do when you’re getting close to that time? I don’t know anything about babies or prenatal stuff. And I have so much on my plate already, with school and my new job. How are we going to pay for the medical fees? How do you expect me to take care of you? I don’t, Amy. Don’t worry, I have it all planned out. The Agency has a nursing home in California, on the beach. They’ll feed me and take care of me for the rest of my time in labor, and after the baby’s born, I’ll get a really big check. Like twenty thousand dollars. So basically, you’re selling your body for twenty thousand dollars. No! I can’t believe you’d think that about me! It’s not about the money for me, obviously. I’m doing it for the love of this unborn child. For me the sacrifice is only nine months, but for him it’s his whole life! Well maybe you should be a little more about the money, Maya. What about your love for me? What about all the things I’ve sacrificed for you? You still owe me like five thousand dollars worth of rent, not to mention food and other random shit I buy you. I’m your best friend and you treat me like shit. I think you should stop this nonsense, and think about getting a job and paying off your insane credit card debts. And maybe after that, you should think about going back to school. Don’t patronize me, Miss Amy “Valedictorian” Ngyuen. You think you’re so smart because you go to some fucking Ivy League school. But you’re nothing but a fucking whore. Fine. Go and have your stupid baby. See if I care.
(Starts walking out the door.) And there’s a letter for you in the mailbox.
MAYA: AMY: MAYA: AMY:
Where are you going? For a walk. It’s five AM. Like you care.
(Exit AMY. Slams door.) (Maya opens the door, takes out a letter from a mailbox behind the door, and slams the door.) MAYA: Dear Maya Wong. This letter is to officially congratulate you on making the cast of <<American Sisters.>> We tried to call you but your line is perpetually busy. We will begin rehearsals this Thursday, and in a month, we will begin our travels down the East Coast and California. All the shows are already booked. You will need to provide your own travel expenses until the end of the season when you get your paycheck, pending on the success of the show. This is a great opportunity for you to make it on Broadway and beyond. Hope you are as psyched as we are. See you Thursday. Affectionately, Lilian Schumer. Production Manager. If you have any questions, call us during working hours at 212-555-5555. (puts down the letter) Oh my God.
SCENE SIX Pitch dark except for a small spotlight middle stage right. Maya is reclining on some kind of bed, under a white sheet. Only her head is showing above the sheet. SIMON’S voice plays on a megaphone: “Thank you, Miss Wong. And then what do you think happened?” MAYA: Well then, I met the birth parents, and they were adorable. Benjamin and Deborah. Benjamin was a venture capitalist. Deborah was a ballerina and painter, and she was looking forward to being a stay-athome mom. She volunteers as an art teacher in an elementary school in Riverdale, and she also teaches dance to at-risk youth in the Bronx. Benjamin is very successful, and he really loves his wife. The couple met in college, and have been together for eighteen years, but Deborah has this condition that she got during her adolescence; basically her hormones didn’t do what they were supposed to, so she can’t have children. And she has osteoporosis. Poor woman. Anyway, the couple was so happy to meet me, and they told me that I was a strong and selfless woman to do what I
was going to do. They told me one day, they would tell their child about me, and tell him, you, that I was a great woman. (VOICE: “And then what happened?”) MAYA: Huh? I don’t know. And then. Well, the couple was really sweet and fantastic. And then I signed the papers. I signed them! Okay. I signed them, and I gave them to you. And then I gave birth to the baby, which is you!
(Opening film of baby’s birth plays on movie screen.) You were such a sweet baby. So small, and vulnerable. I loved you so. I know I had to be strong and make that sacrifice. I mean, for me it was nine months, but for you, it’s a whole lifetime. And even though you wouldn’t have your real mom, or know your real dad, I know you’d be okay. I mean we’re living in America at the end of the Millenium, some people would give an arm and leg just to be born here. How can I deny you that? A whole sweet lifetime with those sweet folks? It’s worth the sacrifice. And they were such nice people. (The lights turn on. It is revealed that MAYA has been lying on a hospital bed. A NURSE, played by the actress who plays AMY, is dressed all in white except for a little green scarf around her neck. ) NURSE: There, there, ladybug. You need to get up now. Drink this. It’ll make you feel better. (Hands her a pink tea cup full of tea.) MAYA: Amy? What’s going on? Where am I?
NURSE: I’m Aspasia Nguyen, your nurse. You just woke up from a very successful abortion, Miss Wong. You may put on your clothes now. Dr. Solomon will come check up on you in a minute. MAYA: What?
(A knock on the door.) SOLOMON: Knock knock. MAYA: Who’s there?
(Opens the door.) SOLOMON: It’s me, Dr. Solomon. MAYA: Oh, Simon! You’re a doctor now?
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