A Short Play: "Visiting Relatives"

Characters:

A: male, in his late twenties, a scholar, gentle and graceful.
B: male, in his late thirties, competent, optimistic and outspoken.
C: female, in her sixties, indiscreet, B’s mother.
The three of them are overseas Chinese.

Setting: a long couch along a pavement in a local community.

(The scene starts with A walking up to the stage from the right, carrying two shopping bags of heavy winter clothes.)

A: With the approach of the festival, I acutely miss my family. I have lived abroad for several years. This Chinese New Year, I should go home to visit my parents and the Beijing in my memory. (Placing the shopping bags on the long couch.)

(B hurried to the long couch from the left side of the stage, greeting B, sitting on the couch and taking a look at A’s shopping bags.)

B: Hi, buddy. What a coincidence to meet you here. Are you planning to visit the North Pole or South Pole?!

A: I plan to go back to Beijing. This year the weather in Beijing is very bizarre, unusually cold, snowy and foggy, the weather is very strange these days.

B: If you want to go to Beijing, it is not so simple as just to prepare warm clothes. You need to be mentally prepared. In fact, Beijing is a place of troubles; it is no fun to visit Beijing.

A: Dear cousin, what is happening in Beijing? Please tell me.

B: Don’t you have any idea? My aunt’s second daughter went back to Beijing to visit her relatives. She’s been back from Beijing for several days, but still feels annoyed about her experience there.

A: What happened? Your cousin is a stubborn person. Who made her angry?

B: There is nothing worth mentioning. At first, she felt so happy to visit her parents, friends and relatives in Beijing since she had stayed overseas for so many years.

A: Sure, everyone would feel happy to visit their family at home.

B: When she arrived in Beijing, she went to Tiananmen Square with her elder sister, and they took a photo as a kind of souvenir.

A: In my childhood I had seen Aunt’s eldest daughter, who was very thin, weak, hunchbacked, and did not look good on the photo.

B: That is just where the problem was. The two sisters chose a good site for taking a photo, but the elder sister hunched down, bringing her face down. So, the younger sister came toward her to lift up her arms from backward, which helped the elder sister to straighten up her upper body. (making the gesture when talking.)

A: To have her upper body straightened would make her look better on the photo.

B: Exactly at that moment, several plainclothes police and armed police hurried to them and surrounded the two sisters.

A: What was wrong? They just lifted up their arms, without interfering with others!

B: You are really a nerd. You are not allowed to do that! The police questioned them angrily and asked if they were Falun Gong practitioners and then asked them to show their ID cards.

A: That is really frightening.

B: The elder sister came to know the seriousness of the situation, hunching down and saying, “No! No!” To tell you the truth, if she really had practised Falun Gong, perhaps she would have made her upper body straighten up.

A: How about the younger sister?

B: She had lived abroad for so many years, been used to freedom. And she has the concept of human rights and rule of law. She replied, “Why should I give you an answer?” “I am an overseas Chinese. I am not obliged to answer your question.” She refused to answer the question.

A: Then what happened?

B: You can guess. The police pushed and dragged them, hitting and kicking them into the police van, sending them to the police station near Tiananmen Square and questioning them. The elder sister just kept crying, saying, “No, No.” The younger sister was separately questioned if she was a Falun Gong practitioner. She still replied, “Why should I give you the answer?” She just did not take any threat, saying that she would ask the embassy for help. The whole situation was becoming more serious. The two sisters were detained for one day and were released only after their family bailed them out.

A: It was just all right when the whole situation settled down.

B: The situation settled down? No, it was just the beginning! Before they arrived home, the police had already waited for them there. The police questioned their mum if her daughter practised Falun Gong abroad. And the mother grew so frightened. The police also went to her youngest sister’s home. And the police also went to visit her elder brother whom she had not visited yet; the police also questioned the elder brother if his sister was an overseas Falun Gong practitioner. The police was monitoring the entire family.

A: Then, what could they do with this?

B: Her family was being monitored by the police, so she stayed at the home of her friend that night and she was sent to the international airport secretly the next morning. She was told, “Dear cousin, please leave us alone, and we can not stand being monitored by the police anymore.”

A: This wasn’t visiting the relatives, but bothering them.

B: She had travelled for such a long distance, but had not visited most of her family. Even though she had paid some of them a visit, she did not have a long enough chat with them. But the journey home turned out to be such chaos.

A: Alas! This is absolutely lawless.

B: There is still something funnier. There were two brothers, young and tall, travelling to Tiananmen Square. When they were taking a look around, one of them put his hand inside his pocket, ready to take something out. Then, it turned out to be something terrible! All of a sudden, there were plainclothes police to arrest them. The two brothers stepped backward quickly and pushed the police far away. Then, another group of armed police came to kick and hit the two brothers. Unexpectedly, the two brothers were also good at fighting. Both of them were unwilling to be mistreated by the police, so they fought back. There were more and more police, also more and more spectators. How could they miss such a spectacle?

A: Wait! Why did the police want to arrest them? They did nothing wrong.

B: Alas! The police were suspicious they were Falun Gong practitioners, ready to take out banners to unfurl them in Tiananmen Square. For example, the banners with the words of “Falun Dafa Is Good,” “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” “Promptly Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong.”

C: It is said that something like this happens in Tiananmen Square every day. (C comes to the stage from the left side, joining in the conversation while walking.)

B: Hi, my dear mother! How come you are here!

A: Aunt, please take a seat.

C: Your wife told me that you plan to visit Beijing. I am very worried about you, so I came to see you to give you some advice. I hope that you have a safe journey.

A: Please go on with your story. What happened to the two brothers in Tiananmen Square?

B: There were so many spectators. At that moment, a police chief shouted, “Stop fighting. Stop fighting. There must be some misunderstanding.” One of the police asked why. The police chief said, “You are so stupid. Falun Gong practitioners will never hit back or talk back when they are hit or scolded. How could they be Falun Gong practitioners? Just release them.” Some of the police suffered from injuries to their faces, on their head, with their hats lopsided and their collars strained. It must be interesting to see the police wounded in this way.

A: The bullying police deserved all of this.

C: Don’t say something like this. Your uncle’s wife living in Shandong has some problems with her hearing and legs, so she usually walks with the help of her walking stick. The old lady travelled to Beijing with her youngest son, and they also paid a visit to Tiananmen Square.

B: Tiananmen Square must be a very big place for the old lady to walk around.

C: Just like you said, the old lady grew tired after some walking and felt like sitting down on the ground in front of the commemoration monument. Immediately after the old lady sat down on the ground, several plainclothes police hurried to her. The police are usually very quick at bothering the civilians. Without telling why, the police dragged the old lady toward the police van. At that moment, the old lady shouted, “What happened? What are you doing?” Then her son and daughter-in-law were trying to pull back their old mother, a game of tug and war was been played.

B: The police will never listen to you.

C: The old lady was bad-tempered and unexpectedly hit the police several times with her walking stick. The police really let go of her hand and was surprised that a Falun Gong practitioner would hit him. The police said, “You are a Falun Gong practitioner because you sat on the ground.” The old lady replied, “You ask me to practise Falun Gong, and then I will after going home.” The police continued, “You are deaf!” The old lady said, “Yes, Falun Gong is good, and I want to practise it, I want to practise it.” The police got tired, shouting, “You are deaf!” The old lady answered, “Well, Falun Gong can still cure my hearing problem. That is so good. I want to practise it, I want to practise it.”

A: This is too incredible.

B: If you visit Tiananmen, you might get into trouble by standing, sitting, stretching your arms or legs, or putting a hand inside your pocket. Buddy, you must be careful. By the way, how about your younger brother?

A: He went back to Beijing to visit our relatives several days ago. We are academics and won’t get into trouble.

C: What? Most of the Falun Gong practitioners are Doctors, Masters, college graduates, intellectuals of scientific research or professional experts.

A: I will visit Tiananmen, I will neither stand nor sit there. I will just fly above the sky and that should be all right.

B: Then, you will be in a greater trouble. That is called “levitation in broad daylight,” and you will be certainly punished by the police.

A: I don’t believe something like this will happen to me, and we won’t annoy anyone. (The mobile phone kept ringing, and A answered the phone.) What? Please speak slowly? What happened?

B, C: What is wrong?

A: My ... my, my brother and his girlfriend were arrested by the police in Tiananmen Square. The police suspected that they practised Falun Gong abroad. And my family were worried about them. What should I do about this?

C: Something like this has really happened.

B. C: Hurry! Let’s hurry to save them.

(The three of them hurry to the left side and then go back to the right side and leave the stage. C comes back to the couch to bring the winter clothes and then leaves the stage.)

Chinese version available at http://www.yuanming.net/articles/200301/16610.html

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