From One Culture to Another

From One Culture to Another

A Stage Play by MagicMika006

A stage play I wrote in high school, inspired by my grandmother.


By: Mikaila Multari


Ai-Shan Lei


Mother Lei

Mrs. Perry

Jen-Lee Lei

Jingfei Lei

Ferry Passengers

Pretty Girls

(Open curtain on a middle class village in the outskirts of Beijing in the year 1822. We see one late teenage girl exit the small home followed by an older woman and two other teenage girls.)

Mother: Do you have everything? All of your clothes? Your boat ticket?

Ai-Shan: Yes, Mama. (Ai-Shan turns and hugs her mother.) The only thing I'm missing is you.

Mother: Do not worry, my sweet child. We will follow you in less than a month. We will see you soon.

(Ai-Shan picks up her satchel and bag that are sitting on the ground next to her feet.)

Say your good-bye's, girls.

Jen-Lee: (Hugs Ai-Shan loosely.) Good-bye, sister.

Jingfei: (Hugs Ai-Shan tightly and sobs a little.) Good-bye. I'll miss you.

Ai-Shan: I'll miss you both. But we shall be together soon. (The girls let go.)

Mother: You know the way, dear. We've walked the path before.

Ai-Shan: Yes, Mama.

Mother: The ferry will be there by tomorrow at dawn. You can stop at the Chens' on the way and borrow their horse. They were good friends of your father.

Ai-Shan: (Holds Mother's hand.) I love you, Mama.

Mother: I love you, too, my summer child. Now, go. Do not delay.

(Ai-Shan exits the stage with her belongings as her mother and sisters wave to her.)

Scene 2

(Ai-Shan and Passengers have stepped down from the ferry and are crowded at the dock in Los Angeles. William enters as he accidentally bumps into Ai-Shan. Both William and Ai-Shan drop their belongings.)

William: (scrambling to pick up his things as well as Ai-Shan's luggage) I'm so sorry. I should have looked where I was going.

Ai-Shan: It's all right. I'm a bit clumsy myself. In fact, more than a bit.

(For the first time, William and Ai-Shan make eye contact. They look at each other in silence for a while before continuing to converse again.)

William: (clears his throat while tucking packages wrapped in brown paper under his arms) So... um... where are you headed?

Ai-Shan: I'm not exactly sure. I heard that there is an inn somewhere nearby.

William: I know where that is. I could take you there if you don't mind.

Ai-Shan: (with a huge smile) That would be great. Thank you.

William: Shall I carry your suitcase for you?

Ai-Shan: Are you sure you can hold everything?

William: Oh, yes. Quite sure.

(William and Ai-Shan walk off of the stage together. Scene ends.)

Scene 3

(Ai-Shan and William arrive at a three-story building with a sign above the windows that reads “The Inn”. William steps back and lets Ai-Shan enter the building first. They enter and William sets down Ai-Shan's luggage on the floor.)

William: (shouting) Mama Perry! Are you here?

(A short, plump middle-aged woman walks onto the stage and stands behind the counter, greeting William and Ai-Shan with a smile.)

Mrs. Perry: Well, hello, William! How are you this afternoon?

William: Quite well. This young lady here needs to rent a room for the evening.

(Ai-Shan greets Mrs. Perry with a smile and bows slightly.)

Mrs. Perry: No problem. We have a room upstairs on the second floor perfect for you, young lady. Now, what did you say your name was?

Ai-Shan: Ai-Shan.

Mrs. Perry: What a lovely name. (Turn around a takes a key from the wall and hands it to Ai-Shan.) Here you go, Miss.

Ai-Shan: Thank you very much. (Ai-Shan takes her luggage and exits to her room. William watches her as she leaves.)

Mrs. Perry: I see that look.

William: (his eyes still looking in the direction Ai-Shan walked) Hm? (looks at Mrs. Perry) What look?

Mrs. Perry: That look of young love in your eyes, Mister. Oh, I could spot it a mile away. It was the same look that Lewis gave me the first day he saw me. (sighs) You young kids.

William: (blushing, shyly) I kinda like her. She seems like such a sweet person.

Mrs. Perry: I'm sure she is, lad. I'm sure she is.

William: (nodding good-bye) I better be going. Mom will be expecting me home to bring in the firewood for tonight any minute now.

Mrs: Perry: Good-bye, William!

Scene 4

(Ai-Shan enters her room. She sets her luggage onto her bed and begins to unpack. Two dresses are the first to come out of her suitcase, then a portrait of herself with her mother, father, and sisters. She walks to the vanity parallel to the bed and sets the portrait on the vanity.)

Ai-Shan: (to the portrait) I'm here, Papa. I made it to America. Just like you wanted me to. Just like you wanted all of your daughters to. Mama has been saving the money for almost ten years. Soon she and Jen-Lee and Jingfei will follow me and join me. Mama wants to start her own business, Papa. She wants to fix dresses for people like she used to do back home when you couldn't work. Do you remember that, Papa? Do you remember when you were sick with the fever? We thought you would never work again, Papa. But you were strong, and you lived. It was work that killed you. Your heart became so tired that it... it... (sobbing) stopped. (kisses the portrait) I'm going to become an American, Papa. I'm going to be like all of these other girls, and get married to a wonderfully rich man, and have six children, and my first boy will be named after you. I am going to make you proud, Papa. I'm going to make you so very proud of me. (Ai-Shan looks out her window and sniffles. She puts the portrait down and lays on her bed.)

Scene 5

(The next day. Ai-Shan sits on the steps of the inn and watches thoughtfully as the people walk past. A pair of Pretty Girls walk her way smiling. They point at her as one whispers in the other's ear. They look at each other and giggle as they exit the stage. William sits beside Ai-Shan as she looks their way in disappointment.)

William: Don't be jealous of those girls. They've never met someone who is not ashamed of their

background before.

Ai-Shan: How could they be ashamed? They're so pretty, and rich, and...

William: And rude.

Ai-Shan: I do not blame them.

William: Why? Because they are English and French and you're Chinese? That is no reason to hang your head.

Ai-Shan: I'm different. I know that.

William: You're different from them because you're a good person. Be happy with who you are. You'll live a happy life and they'll beg for your mercy one day. It will not be much longer.

Ai-Shan: How can you be so sure?

William: I promise.

(They sit in silence for a minute until William reaches across Ai-Shan's lap and gently touches her hand. She looks at him with confusion at first, then curiosity.)

Can I ask you something, Ai-Shan?

Ai-Shan: What is it?

William: (acts uneasily) Would you like to meet my family?

Ai-Shan: (smiles a little, curious smile) Yes, I would.

William: (beaming and standing, taking both of Ai-Shan's hands) Come on. Let's go now.

(Ai-Shan stands, her hands still in his, and walks with him off-stage.)

Scene 6

(A year later. Ai-Shan stands alone on a dark stage, with only one light on her. She is holding her family portrait.)

Ai-Shan: Mama and the girls finally made it over here, Papa. Mama works in the tailoring shop next door to the inn that I stayed in the night I arrived in America. The woman at the inn who greeted me, Mrs. Perry; her husband own the shop. Mama loves it there. She loves seeing all of the people everyday who need her help. She loves seeing their smiling faces when they see her work. She is good at her job. Jingfei and Jen-Lee love it here. They had an easier time fitting in than I did. They look so pretty now with their hair curled and their new cotton dresses. I thought that I would have to leave my Chinese culture behind me when I came to America. But my husband, William, he told me that it was all right for me to be the person I was raised to be. He told me that his parents felt the same way when they came to America. They came here from Belgium. William's parents say that it is a beautiful country there. But I couldn't imagine it being more beautiful then the countryside of China. Do you remember when you used to walk with me to the little rivers? We loved it there. It was our place. It was where I learned to love the Earth. (paces to stage left) You would like William, Papa. He's very sweet and intelligent. He is going to college to become a doctor. (paces to center stage) I think that you would like the person that I have become, Papa. I think, even though I'm now an American girl, you would love the new me, and love that I kept you in my heart through my hard, confusing time here. (looks up) Thank you, Papa. I love you.

(Ai-Shan exits the stage with her portrait.)

© 2015 MagicMika006

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Added on August 1, 2015
Last Updated on August 1, 2015
Tags: one, culture, another, beijing, mother, father, family, move, passenger, luggage, time, arrive



Western NY, NY

I'm a musician, "perceptionist"/clairvoyant, college student, big sister and b*tch. Just here to write. :) more..