For What I Want To Do In The Future

There is a Man on The Top of The Mountain

Characters:

Boy, absolutely must be half Filipino, half white

Father, any kind of Asian American

Mother, white

Sister, ethnically ambiguous, truly, it’d be great if she was Filipina, half white

 

Prologue

Boy: Before you can grapple with another, you must grapple with yourself, right? (He grapples with himself for a second, a projector screen is lowered and projected onto and the floor is littered with computers and phones that all light up or maybe a bunch of phones from the audience that are all stacked up in a hill? Try not to be too judgmental though)

 

Mother

Boy: My mom, my ma she’s white. I don’t know how she met my father, really. I have heard snippets about it. They met in a lab, a place of science and learning. He wrote letters to her, and she corrected his grammar, English being his second language. She asked me once if I had ever felt my skin, I don’t remember how she asked it, must’ve been something like, “Did you ever feel weird being biracial?” And I didn’t.

That night, I looked in the mirror at my skin and saw my father. I missed my mother in my skin, felt her absence.

 

Father

Boy: My pa, my father he’s Asian. His family is Asian. He came over here when he was ten and is whiter for it. I can’t image what it might feel like to be him, growing up different. The Indian Club in his college tried to recruit him. He just kept saying he wasn’t Indian. They didn’t seem to care. Maybe that’s good. He was told at a young age to not get mistaken for “a black” as my grandmother put it. He brought a black friend over and my grandma kicked his friend out of the house. I can’t imagine that. I don’t bring anyone over.

My dad says the n word sometimes. He says his black friend Chris calls him that, so why can’t he say it. I definitely have reasons for why he can’t say it, but I can’t really think of any concrete actions to get him to not say it, you know. He doesn’t have ownership I don’t think.

 

Sister

Boy: She’s whiter than me, I think. Not necessarily in mannerisms, but in features. Although also in mannerisms. She’s whiter than me. Her hair is wavier, and thinner. I always say that my sister wishes she had my Asian hair. She’s paler, too. Until that one summer she spent in Mexico and she came back all tan, speaking Spanish and we joked about how most people might think she is Mexican.

She worked security one summer and everyone there thought she was Mexican, often just assuming she spoke Spanish. Well she did. But they just sorta came up to here and talked to her in Spanish. She says she’s losing some of her proficiency. My father wants her to keep it up, he always found the people walking up to her funny. Thought it was funny that they would walk up to her.

Anyone I think I can have been talking for too long, sorry.

 

Family

Boy arranges the dinner table as the monologues go on below. If the lines need to be spaced out a bit more to make this part make sense go for it, I can’t quite get the format to fit exactly what I want anyway.

Sister: Father: Mother:
My brother

 

 

What a fucking dope

 

He was always a little awkward guy, I’m not sure how he managed to make friends sometimes. I mean I love him I do. He can just be so awkward.

 

 

He was scared of my friends growing up. He was always at home, never out much, except when he was with his little “Asian Squad.” They’ve all been friends since they were little and yeah there are white people in this little circle, but they were dubbed “honorary Asians” because they were smart. His smart little group of friends.

 

My friends have mostly been white.

 

 

 

It’s just an observation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure if being Asian changed the way that they looked at me. I’m pretty white.

We’d joke about it

 

About being barely Asian

 

 

 

Part of it is cause we’re mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And part of is just cause we were born here, In American

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raised here in. In America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Americans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I guess in some ways

 

 

 

I don’t always feel

 

 

Like this place is my home

But I don’t really know where else my home could be

 

 

I have a white boyfriend

He plays soccer. He grew up in the suburbs, like me, he was raised in the suburbs. He was raised by a white mom and a white father until that father left.

My Father.

 

Played soccer. Did boy scouts. Hiked outside. Went fishing with his father, my grandfather. He worked a lot when I was a kid. Traveling around the states.

 

 

To California. In California. For work.

 

 

He always skyped in though.

Always called.

Made sure we would see his face

 

 

 

 

We could feel connected across the screen.

Sometimes I found other fathers on the screen. White men who felt more present, because I saw them on TV more than I saw my father on my laptop. But my father was my father.

Son

Here is the talk I never gave you:

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to lean back

 

 

 

 

And wear comfortable sweaters around the house

 

 

 

 

 

And eat your food too fast

 

 

 

 

 

So that you can take time to digest

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important to take time to digest

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner

 

 

 

 

 

It’s good to laugh at yourself

 

 

 

 

 

It’s good to laugh at what you find funny

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just because people don’t laugh at what you laugh at

 

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t mean you should not like those people

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t know what kind of mood they may be in

 

 

 

 

Or what kind of culture they come from

 

 

 

 

I don’t always find funny what you may find funny

 

 

 

 

 

But I think

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you laugh at something you see on TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will try to laugh too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And maybe you will see how I laugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you will know

That I

I really care about you

I’m not sure if I always show it

Because I don’t know that I know

How to tell you I care

In your language

Not that I don’t know English

But your Americanness. That. I’m not sure if I really know that.

My son

 

He’s smart

I’ve never been too worried about his education.

He’s been pretty good about doing his best in school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He can get a little restless, or be out too late

 

 

 

 

 

But he kept up his grades and that’s what matters. It also matters for him to have fun. It also matters for him to have fun.

 

Yeah, I guess I don’t like it when he’s out late. Over at his friends. It’s hard cause I just don’t know what they’re doing out there. They could be doing anything. And I don’t have any sense of control over that.

 

 

 

 

And maybe I shouldn’t maybe that’s not my place. I don’t wanna be some sort of helicopter parent. And I’m not.

 

 

He’s very self-sufficient. Except when he’s not and I have to talk to him about it. I don’t have to check his grades, he always tells me when things are a miss. And I appreciate that.

 

 

 

 

 

He made this joke once. He was like, “Ma, you’re the actually Asian one.” I laughed.

 

It was funny cause I’m not.

Asian.

 

 

But I guess I can be a bit of a “Tiger Mom”

Whatever that means

But I think I just

 

 

I want him to succeed

And work hard

Because I worked hard

I worked really hard to get here

I did

 

 

And I guess in some ways I feel like he might have to work harder, or maybe he won’t

Because people will think…

 

 

His father

 

 

 

His father worked very hard

 

 

 

To live in the suburbs of America

 

 

 

His father.

Was one of the only Asians at his high school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It must feel weird. A sea of white

And him the only person of color.

I think our suburb is more diverse now

 

My son he had a lot of Asian friends growing up

I think it was good that he had a lot of Asian friends

That he could feel connected through race like that

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Time

The family sits down to dinner. The kids might be on their phones a little bit. You can ad lib somewhere the boy looking at his phone and the sister or the mother telling him to stop.

Boy: My ma made stir fry.

Mother: I made stir fry!

Sister: Thanks mom, for dinner.

They eat. It is quiet, but not awkward. They are comfortable with each other. This conversation is never heavy. It should be relatively dry, and real.

Mother: How was your day?

Sister: It was good. Didn’t do much.

Mother: You went to the botanical gardens, right?

Sister: Yeah! Michael and I. We spent most of the time there asleep on the side of the hill.

Boy: Ha that’s petty dangerous.

Sister: Eh there was mostly just old people there.

Boy: It is nice out there though. Did you go to the Japanese Garden?

Sister: Yeah, it was very pretty. They also had all these Bonsai trees! And I was just like I want!

Boy: You’d kill one though I bet.

Sister: Hey! I don’t think so.

Mother: It’d be a good trial before kids.

Sister: ok mom, go there.

Mother: Just saying!

Some silence.

Mother: And how was your day?

Boy: It was pretty good. Practice was funner than usual. Coach has been going easy on us since our last couple of wins.

Mother: Just remember to keep up the good work.

Boy: Of course, ma. And how was your day?

Mother: It was pretty good. You know work was busy, except when it wasn’t, then it was excruciatingly boring. And honey how was your day?

The father, after eating fast, has laid back to digest, but is still awake.

Father: My Day? It was good.

 

The Man I Made Before Me

Boy: A father can be there for his son. And when he was there, he was there. But even when he was there, there are cracks. A father cannot be a father and be around all the time. So even before he was gone, and I mean truly gone, he was already gone a little bit. That’s what it is to have kids, isn’t it? To crack yourself up.

But I’d be careful what you laugh at. Cause as you’re cracking up, other things are filling in those gaps. (As he says this lines the technology on stage lights up.)

 

Racist Dinner Time

The family sits down to dinner. This time they are joined by many families on the screens all around them, including reflections of their earlier selves, maybe throw in some intro music, this is gawdy. The father is dressed in outrageous “oriental” attire. Something absolutely batshit. He should take on a terrible “Asian accent.” Honestly, if the actor can think of some more racist shit to throw around that’d be great, think the worse things you see on TV. The family does not react to the father at all. He doesn’t affect them. It’d be great if his voice could be echoed by the technology in some way.

Boy: My ma made stir fry.

Mother: I made stir fry!

Sister: Thanks mom, for dinner.

Father: AWW stir frrryyy my favorite dish! But could your white hands do it justice??? For my family???

Mother: How was your day?

Father: Yes my one and only daughter, how was your day?

Sister: It was good. Didn’t do much.

Mother: You went to the botanical gardens, right?

Sister: Yeah! Michael and I. We spent most of the time there asleep on the side of the hill.

Boy: Ha that’s petty dangerous.

Father: Was he kind, was he gentlemanly to my daughter??? You should dump him to get an Asian boyfriend!

Sister: Eh there was mostly just old people there.

Boy: It is nice out there though. Did you go to the Japanese Garden?

Father: Japanese garden??? It was not truly Japanese if it was made here in America! It would not have the correct foliage, the correct climate to up hold such beautiful and wonderful plants that exist in Japan.

Sister: Yeah, it was very pretty. They also had all these Bonsai trees! And I was just like I want!

Father: BONSAI!

Boy: You’d kill one though I bet.

Sister: Hey! I don’t think so.

Mother: It’d be a good trial before kids.

Father: When will you be having kids?? Soon I hope my daughter, you are not getting any younger, and it is time you settled down, to have kids. But first dump the whitie.

Sister: ok mom, go there.

Mother: Just saying!

Some silence.

Mother: And how was your day?

Boy: It was pretty good. Practice was funner than usual. Coach has been going easy on us since our last couple of wins.

Father: Why bother?? Soccer is white man’s sport. You should stop and do something like taichi.

Mother: Just remember to keep up the good work.

Boy: Of course, ma. And how was your day?

Mother: It was pretty good. You know work was busy, except when it wasn’t, then it was excruciatingly boring. And honey how was your day?

Father: You should quit your job. Then you can be full time housekeeper for me. I will make the money you know that. You know that sweetie. I am the man of the house. When I walk you worship my feet. When I run, you stay behind. I am the man of the house. This is my Asian house. Take your shoes off before entering here. Bow down to me, be subservient, know your place, or I’ll start throwing punches, using karate, singing karaoke, because this is my Asian house. (He has sped up, he is breathing very hard.) We cannot be here, we cannot live here, this is not where we belong, I will kill the white man, I will kill him, I do not belong, we do not belong. We are too good, we are too good, we are so so good, naturally born good, we do not belong in this rotten state. All I wanted, All I wanted, All I wanted—

The boy and sister restrain him.

Boy: Dad, it is ok.

(looking at audience, very meek) I’m sorry about him. I think you put him here. But I think I did, too.

Father: My Day? It was good.

 

My Sister Won’t Have a Kid

Sister: You want kids, right?

Boy: Yeah, I do.

Sister: Good. Cause ma really wants grandkids. And I don’t want kids.

Boy: Why not?

Sister: I’m afraid. To be like ma. Or to be like dad was.

Boy: I know.

Sister: Aren’t you?

Boy: I am

Sister: Then why do you want kids?

Boy: I just. I want them? I want to pass on my genes. I know that’s selfish.

Sister: Good. Cause I think I wanna be an aunt.

Boy: Just not a mother?

Sister: Just not a mother.

Boy: My sister didn’t want a child.

Sister: I don’t want a child.

Boy: Because she was too afraid.

Sister: Because I am too afraid.

Boy: To crack herself up.

Sister: To shatter myself for another. I don’t need a reason.

Boy: She doesn’t need a reason.

Sister: To not want a child.

Boy: To not want a child.

Sister: I will take care of my brother’s children.

Boy: She will take care of my children.

Sister: When he is busy doing other things. We might not live close by. He might move far away. He might stay close. I hope he stays close. Our mother will need taking care of when she is older. I have always been a bit more of the adult between the two of us. So I will take care of her when she is older probably. I will have her as my child, in a weird way. Her mind will slow. But life will keep going. I told him he should stay close by so that he can help me take care of our mother. And I can help him take care of his kids. It’s too early for planning though. Too early. We still have so much learning to do.

My dad always used to watch the Walking Dead. He would yell “get im” at the men and the zombies. I’m not sure if he noticed or thought about Glen in association with himself. He yelled at the TV all the same. He yelled like that at all the action movies he watched. My brother’s kids will not yell at the TV. I will not let them yell at the TV.

 

Epilogue

Boy: I’m not sure if I’ve said everything I meant to say. Maybe I’ve said some things I didn’t mean to say either. But I’m just me. But I did my best. For my limited perspective Please submit any comments or questions to my email at (insert email). I’ll see what I can do about making some changes.

Everybody Works by Jay Som plays. The technology on stage remains on. Lights out.

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