My Visit to America (work in progress)


Title: My Visit to America
Status: work in progress
Genre: Drama with comedic elements
Running time: 98 minutes
Cast size: 5
Tag line: Three weeks, 4500 miles, one ocean, an infinite gulf
Alternate tag line: The price of failure, the cost of discovery

Blurb: In a world of today that is not our world, Eurasia is run by the Mongolian Empire and America is run by indigenous Americans. Jochi, a London bureaucrat, tries to cheat and bully a way into a trade deal between London and Miami. Instead, Jochi encounters an interrogation in America; a test of friendship back home; and the discovery of where Jochi fits in the scheme of race, class, and world politics.

Note 1: This is a work in progress as of Feb. 16, 2013, and is expected to change before production. Unauthorized public reading or performance is prohibited.

Note 2: Because acts I and II are so different from one another, I am including the first ten pages of each act.

Note 3: This play has multiple versions depending on casting and on whether Elizabethan or modern* verb conjugation is used for thou. (*Actually, not so modern. The Oxford English Dictionary has scattered “st”-free “thou” conjugation citations dating back to circa 1500 and it happens among a small percentage of the “thou”s in Shakespeare.)

MY VISIT TO AMERICA
a play in two acts
by
Chas Belov

Copyright © Charles Belov. All rights reserved.

Some lines vary depending on casting and verb conjugation choices.
This copy of the script:

  • Has a HOTALKI-YAHOLA who is indigenous American.
  • Has a female HOTALKI-YAHOLA.
  • Has a female JOCHI, BATU, ORDA, and WAITER.
  • Has an ORDA who is not mobility impaired.
  • Has a WAITER who is not Asian.
  • Has verb conjugation for “thou” which is not Elizabethan.

#2468

CHARACTERS

ACT I – MIAMI

HOTALKI-YAHOLA: Indigenous American woman; preferably the youngest character, at least 25. If an indigenous American actor is not available, the part could be played by a mono-racial actor of another race other than Caucasian, as is reflected in another version of the script, and Hotalki-yahola would be that race and an accepted member of their American nation. Pronounced hoh-tull-kih-yuh-hoh-luh.

JOCHI: Visibly biracial adult woman, at least 30. Pronounced jo-chee.

COMPUTER: Recorded female voice or female voice from a speaker.

This voice should sound almost natural, better than HAL of 2001: A Space Odyssey or the iPhone’s Siri, but still not quite human, at least until the day Siri sounds human. No onstage actor needed.

ACT II – LONDON

JOCHI: Same character as in ACT I.

BATU: Visibly biracial adult woman, preferably within several years of JOCHI in age. Pronounced bah-tu.

ORDA: Visibly biracial adult woman, preferably within several years of JOCHI in age. Pronounced or-duh.

WAITER: Adult woman, visibly one race; shares that race with Jochi, Batu, and/or Orda; preferably the oldest character.

UNSEEN/UNHEARD CHARACTERS – No actors required
ASSISTANT (on phone and outside office at doorway; if seen, is Caucasian)
INNKEEPER (on phone)
COMMERCE SECRETARY (on phone)
ORDA’S OPERATIVE (in text messages)

Text messages are not seen by the audience. The other ends of phone calls are not heard by the audience. These are provided in the script for the actors’ timing and reactions only.

SETTING AND TIME

ACT I – A government office in Miami, Nation of Calusa, America; six weeks ago.

ACT II – A private room in a pub in London, England, Mongolian Empire, Eurasia; tonight.

The present, although not our present. A present in which the Mongolians completed their conquest of Eurasia in the 14th century and as a result the Europeans never conquered America; America is run by indigenous Americans.

The playwright gratefully acknowledges for research:

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
by Charles C. Mann

Laurie Frater, Danielle Soames, and Laura Redish

and for inspiration

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone/Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
by August Wilson

Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller

The Man in the High Castle
by Philip K. Dick

MY VISIT TO AMERICA
ACT I – MIAMI

(Six weeks ago.  The government office of HOTALKI-YAHOLA, a mono-racial, neither indigenous American nor Caucasian, woman of the indigenous American Nation of Calusa, somebody with some level of authority and responsibility, in Miami.  Among the reflections of this authority are several gold and silver objects, including a gold or silver bracelet.  HOTALKI-YAHOLA is at a computer and wearing headphones.  JOCHI, a biracial bureaucrat from London, likely somewhat older than Hotalki-yahola, enters through what was a closed door without knocking.  HOTALKI-YAHOLA does not acknowledge JOCHI.  JOCHI clears her throat.  HOTALKI-YAHOLA continues to ignore JOCHI, listening to the headphones.)

JOCHI
Thou called me into thy office.  The least thou can do is greet me.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Correcting)
“The office-holder” called me into “her” office.  The least “she” can do is greet me.

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA removes the headphones, neither rising nor extending a hand.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Enter.  Welcome to Miami.  How was quarantine?

JOCHI
Same as always.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
The visitor does not appreciate the new computer we provided her?

JOCHI
How should I use a computer without a keyboard!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Should the visitor find a keyboard more efficient?

JOCHI
I should find it more efficient if we could meet immediately upon my arrival in America.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
It is not on the table for discussion.

JOCHI
Thou could add it.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
If the visitor thees or thous me even a single additional time, I shall drag her from this office, haul her struggling body into the forest, and thrash her until she lies bleeding and broken.

JOCHI
How dare th-how dare you!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
I cannot imagine the visitor’s training or breeding.

JOCHI
My breeding!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Does the visitor wish me to think she is intentionally being insulting?
(Pause)
At minimum, the visitor should know to introduce herself first so that I may properly address her.
(Long pause.)

JOCHI
Jochi, Trade Minister, London office of the Mongolian Empire.

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA stands and extends a hand.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Hotalki-yahola, Liaison, Nation of Calusa at Miami.
(Pause)
Is the Trade Minister trying to protect America from her germs?  That is what quarantine was for.

(Long pause.)
(JOCHI extends her hand; they shake hands.  The first chance JOCHI gets that she thinks she can’t be seen, she will wipe her hands on her pants; she will be seen.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
So the Mongolian Empire wish to establish a trade agreement with Calusa.  Why not the Iroquois Confederation, the Algonquins, the Navahos?  There are hundreds of nations here in America.  Why Calusa?

JOCHI
Ulan Bator like Calusa’s technology, its port facilities.  Government.  Control.  Military prowess.  Security.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
They’re not afraid we’ll eat them alive?
(Pause)
Joking.  We haven’t done that for hundreds of years.  They’re not afraid we’ll out-trade them?

JOCHI
All we need to do is connect Miami and London and-

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Miami and London?  We can’t even connect to each other’s computers and phones!

JOCHI
America can use Eurasian computers and phones!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
One rickety ship every two months!

JOCHI
There should be ships every week!  Doesn’t the Liaison wish this?

(JOCHI pulls out a mobile phone, opens it, starts pressing buttons, shows screen to HOTALKI-YAHOLA.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Where did the Trade Minister get that image?

JOCHI
I was taking pictures of the sights of Miami.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
The phone takes photos?

JOCHI
Yes, I hold the phone up and snap!  The Liaison’s image is in my camera.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
I don’t remember any such feature.

JOCHI
American phones don’t have it.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
I don’t remember such a feature in England.
(Pause)
I graduated from Cambridge.

(Long pause.)

JOCHI
(Add graduation year, at least nine years ago.)
Public Policy, ________.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Add graduation year, at least four years ago.)
Transcontinental Relations, ________.

JOCHI
The Liaison’s English is very good.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
So is the Trade Minister’s.
(Pause)
What else did the Trade Minister photograph yesterday?

JOCHI
I was kept waiting for an hour!

(Pause.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
I’m sorry.  Tell me more.

JOCHI
Our batteries store the sun better than America’s do.  No more turning off phones or computers after sunset.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
After sunset is for time with family around the fire.

JOCHI
Eurasian phones and computers for American genetic engineering technologies.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Four years ago, the Trade Minister came to Miami for the first time.  She met with Hotalkochi.  She insulted Hotalkochi by consistently addressing Hotalkochi as “thou”, an unspeakably familiar manner for a stranger, and a practice which she has repeated on each subsequent visit. She insulted our procedures, our food, our clothing, our way of life.

JOCHI
Not so!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Three years ago, the Trade Minister came to Miami for the second time.  She made two attempts to exit quarantine prematurely-

JOCHI
Two months in quarantine is ridiculous!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
It is not on the table.  Two years ago the Trade Minister made her third trip to Miami.  She attempted to arrange a deal with Siwa involving private payments-

JOCHI
Where is the Liaison getting these accounts?  I demand to see the reports.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
We have an oral tradition.

JOCHI
So when we agree-

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
If we agree.

JOCHI
There should be nothing but spoken words?

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Pointing to the fourth wall)
These shall be the representation of our agreement.
(Pause.)

JOCHI
Beads.  Patterns of beads.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Pointing again to the fourth wall)
Wampum.  This one, 1883.  Trade agreement with the Mayans.  That one, 1959.  Mongolian Empire.  Treaty allowing visitors from Eurasia with a two-month quarantine.  All of the patterns on this wall represent one treaty or another.

JOCHI
It is important to keep detailed reports!

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
What does the Trade Minister wish, a recording?
(Pause)
If the Trade Minister believes she is going to convince us of the need for her nation’s products by demeaning our customs, she is going to find herself coming back for a sixth time and a seventh time and an eighth time.  Or not at all.  I suggest the Trade Minister, one, leave this room.  Two, close the door behind her.  Three, consider well what she wishes to accomplish.  Four, knock on the door.  Five, wait until invited.  Six, enter.  Seven, greet me properly.  And eight, begin again.  Her only other option is to, A, leave this office.  B, board the ship which should be arriving from London.  And C, never return.

(Long pause.)

JOCHI
If the Liaison pleases, I should like to go out and come in again.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
I so please.

(JOCHI exits, closing the door.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(To mobile phone, in a natural voice)
Phone, call Reception.

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA hears computerized voice, “Calling Reception” and a ring.)

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Reception.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(To mobile phone)
The Trade Minister—

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA covers the computer microphone.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(To mobile phone)
The Trade Minister is not to leave the building without my escort.  She has inappropriate photos.  Secure her lodgings.  Nobody is to enter or leave her room until I arrive.  What is she doing right now?

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“She’s pacing.  I think she’s frightened.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Frightened?  Or angry?  This is critical.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Frightened.  She’s cringing.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Good.  Any sign of the ship yet?

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“It’s finally appeared.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Are you in phone contact?

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Yes.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Is The Wolf aboard?

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Yes.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Call and debrief her.  You have ten minutes.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Ten minutes?!”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Louder:)
The Wolf was supposed to return-

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Quiet!  She looked at the door!”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Softer:)
supposed to return from London with that-

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“She’s going to your door.  She’s putting her ear-”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Get her away from there!

ASSISTANT (through phone, unheard)
(“Pardon me.  Is there a problem?”)

JOCHI (O.S.)
I thought I heard the Liaison calling me.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“She’s moved away.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Listen.  I shall not wake up to epidemic nor to armada, just because The Wolf is two months late with her report.  Ten minutes.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“What are your priorities?”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Is the Eurasian really such a stupid git?  Who keeps sending her here?  How dangerous are they?  Cambridge University connections, photography.  Oh, and her actual title; somebody this ham-fisted can’t possibly be Trade Minister.  When you have your report ready, knock-

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“She’s going to your door.”)

(JOCHI knocks at the door.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Calling towards door)
One moment please!
(To mobile phone)
When the report is ready, knock on my door.  I’ll tell you to go away.  Shortly thereafter, I shall call you for chocolate.  Give me the report when you–  No, wait.  Have staff start preparing the chocolate the instant she returns to my office.  Then—

(JOCHI knocks at the door again.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Great spirit, help me.
(Calling towards door)
I said, one moment, please!
(To mobile phone)
If that mixed-race chauvinist calls me a “mono” I promise you there is going to be blood on the floor.
(Pause)
Bring the chocolate two minutes after I call.  I’m counting on you.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“We shall do our best.”)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Debrief.  You knock.  I call–

(JOCHI knocks at the door again.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
How does that ignoram…just get me the information!  Knock.  I call.  Three– No, two!  Minutes.  Report.  Chocolate and report.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Two minutes.  Chocolate and report.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Good bye.

ASSISTANT (on phone, unheard)
(“Good bye.”)

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA ends call, puts mobile phone away, takes hand away from computer microphone, and checks the time.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
(Calling towards door:)
Enter, please!

(JOCHI enters.)

JOCHI
It didn’t have to be so authentically new that I had to wait again for entrance.

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA ignores JOCHI.)

JOCHI
Jochi, daughter of Isabel and Mongke, Trade Minister of the Office of the Commerce Secretary of the Great Khan of the Mongolian Empire, London office.

(HOTALKI-YAHOLA rises and extends the right hand.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Hotalki-yahola, daughter of Tami-yahola and Fohkita, External Affairs Liaison of the Office of Trade of the Nation of Calusa at Miami.

(JOCHI shakes HOTALKI-YAHOLA’s hand.  The first chance JOCHI gets that she thinks she can’t be seen, she will once again wipe her hands on her pants; she will once again be seen.)

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
Welcome to America.  How was quarantine?

JOCHI
Much better than last time, thanks to the Liaison.  Now that there are computers- I hope we don’t need to repeat the entire meeting thus far.

HOTALKI-YAHOLA
That shouldn’t be necessary.  Is the Trade Minister all right?  My assistant was concerned.  She said the Trade Minister appeared agitated.

(Long pause.)

JOCHI
How do I do business with Calusa?

(End of excerpt)

————————————————————————————————————

ACT II – LONDON

(Tonight.  JOCHI, BATU, and ORDA, three biracial women, are in a private room in an upscale London pub, each with a glass of ale in front of them.  WAITER, a monoracial woman, is going about doing what waiters do.  On a side table or shelves, there are a pitcher full of water and a row of at least half a dozen empty, clean glasses.  Being a private room, there is no crowd noise except perhaps occasionally when the door is opened; even then the sound  would be far away and barely noticeable.  Even the door itself, if visible, is quiet in its opening and closing.)

(As the evening gets underway, JOCHI, BATU, and ORDA begin with a traditional English song, “The Anacreontic Song”, the original tune for the song which is, outside the world of this play, commonly known in the United States as “The Star Spangled Banner”.  As they have not yet begun to drink, the performance is reasonably on key and on meter, if not particularly virtuoso, and primarily charged with the spirit of anticipation of an enjoyable evening of fellowship and ale.)

JOCHI, BATU, and ORDA
(Singing first verse)
TO ANACREON IN HEAV’N
WHERE SHE SAT IN FULL GLEE, A FEW DAUGHTERS OF HARMONY SENT A PETITION; THAT SHE THEIR INSPIRER
AND PATRON SHOULD BE; WHEN THIS ANSWER ARRIVED
FROM THE JOLLY OLD GRECIAN;”VOICE, FIDDLE, AND FLUTE, NO LONGER BE MUTE,
I’LL LEND YOU MY NAME
AND INSPIRE YOU TO BOOT,AND BESIDES I’LL INSTRUCT YOU
LIKE ME, TO INTWINE, THE MYRTLE OF VENUS
WITH BACCHUS’S VINE.”

BATU and ORDA
(Singing second verse)
THE NEWS THROUGH OLYM-
PUS IMMEDIA-

JOCHI
Enough of that old song.  Let’s drink.

ORDA
Spoil-sport.

(JOCHI, BATU, and ORDA drink.)

JOCHI
I think you are the only ones who even know there are other verses, let alone sing them.

BATU
Tell us about thy visit to America.

ORDA
Now thou have done it, Batu!  She’ll fish out her phone and force upon us an endless phalanx of photos.

BATU
What is so bad about looking at a few photos?  I’d like to see them.

JOCHI
At least one lady here is interested in broadening her horizons.
(Shows photo to BATU)
That’s me with the American official, Hatola, right after I came out of quarantine.  Her assistant took the picture.
(Pushes a button on the phone)
Here I am with several of their staff.  The assistant took this as well.

ORDA
What, thou cannot keep hold of thy own camera?
(Pause)
They all look alike.  Are they related?

BATU
Don’t be obtuse, Orda.  Look:  red, white, black, yellow.

ORDA
Thou do not have to be abusive.  I was just asking.

JOCHI
They are not related beyond employer and employee.  Whoever I met, they were all alike.  All monos.

BATU
Must thou use that word?

JOCHI
It’s a common word.

BATU
A bit too common.

(Pause.)

ORDA
Ladies, please, let us not let the ale rush to our heads.  So the Americans are all single-raced.  I’m certain that took some getting used to.

JOCHI
It did indeed.  It was all I could do to avoid remarking on it.

(JOCHI pushes the button again.)

BATU
What’s that?

JOCHI
That’s Hatola’s office building.

BATU
It looks like a bunch of sticks woven together.

JOCHI
That’s exactly what it was.  But inside it is like our offices.

BATU
Do thou have any photos of the inside?

JOCHI
Why should I wish to take photos of offices?

ORDA
Did thou achieve thy objective?

(WAITER is done with her tidying up, and unobtrusively awaits instructions.)

JOCHI
I was successful in moving the negotiations along.  Just a moment.

(JOCHI dials two digits.)(Hears ring in phone.)

COMMERCE SECRETARY (recorded, on phone, unheard)
(“This is voice messaging for Kochu, daughter of Meimei and Chagatai, Commerce Secretary of the Mongolian Emp-”)

(ORDA texts.)
(Sent text: “is horatio there” – code for “Are you there with the Secretary?”)

(JOCHI disconnects.)

JOCHI
Voice messaging.
(Pause)
But whatever we come up with has to be passed on from one nation to another, discussed and discussed again, before any decision can be made.  Who knows how long this process could take?

BATU
Are our bureaucracies any different?  Getting a permit to reconstruct the Globe took us six years.  Even then, they required so many changes that were William to return, I am certain the theatre should be un-recognizable.

JOCHI
That’s different.  That’s just career pencil-pushers making sure to dot every T and cross every I.
(Pause)
Cross-eye.  Their eyes get crossed and they can’t read the forms.
(Pause)
American processes are so inefficient!  I asked their Liaison to produce an account of a previous meeting and she could not do so.  All she could say was, “What does the Trade Minister’s representative wish, a recording”?
(Noticing WAITER; to WAITER)
Yes?

WAITER
Does the patron desire anything else?

JOCHI
Three more pints of thy finest.

WAITER
As the patron pleases.

(WAITER bows and exits.)

JOCHI
I don’t wish this process to go on any longer than it has to.  Ulan Bator are getting impatient.

ORDA
If they’re that interested in trading with America, why don’t they send someone higher up than thee?

JOCHI
I’ll have thee know I’m set for an Ambassadorship.  If I can shepherd this through, it’s all but assured.

ORDA
Five years.

JOCHI
It took ten years to set up quarantine.  And here we’ve had it for what?  Fifteen?  Twenty years?

ORDA
Since 1959.

JOCHI
Now we know who was the cracker at history.  But thou are right, Batu.  The way our bureaucracy moves, I assure thee I shall have a deal with the Americans before London open our first tube station.

BATU
Orda, what should thou do should America open as a market?

ORDA
I can trade the entire length of the Silk Road without fear of bandits or corrupt border agents.  Why should I wish to endure several weeks at sea, two months of quarantine, and questionable travel schedules?  Thy return ship a fortnight-

JOCHI
Only this once!

ORDA
A whole fortnight tardy, for Genghis Khan’s sake.  When I travel I wish assurance, reliability.  There are trades to be made.
(Pause)
There are debts to pay.

JOCHI
Thou are living in the past, Orda.  America spell new opportunities.

ORDA
New headaches, Jochi.  Nothing but trouble.

JOCHI
Do thou think the Silk Road was built in a day?  No!  The Mongolians had to-

BATU
Excuse me, Jochi, but the Mongolians did not build the Silk Road.  For all the work they’ve done, thou hardly need give them credit for things they haven’t.

ORDA
Oh, don’t mind her, Batu.  Her intention is to kowtow her way into an invitation to Ulan Bator.

JOCHI
And why shouldn’t I wish an invitation to Ulan Bator?  I rather imagine it should be a fascinating place.

ORDA
I’m teasing thee, Jochi.  I’m impressed with all the work thou have done improving our relationship with America.  I’m sorry that I can’t offer thee any more encouragement than that.

(During the next lines, WAITER returns bearing a tray with three glasses of ale.  WAITER serves the glasses and retrieves the empty ones, then waits unobtrusively for further instructions.)

BATU
I’m actually looking forward to better relations with America.  I wish to experience their theatre first-hand.

JOCHI
I shouldn’t quite call it theatre.  More of a ritualized lecture, I’d call it.

BATU
Thou have seen it?

JOCHI
Why yes.  Cultural presentations were an important part of my visit.  But there’s no sense of a William or a Euripides.

BATU
Theatre is theatre.  Three weeks across the sea and two months in quarantine is nothing.

ORDA
Batu, thou are so romantic.  All that wasted time.

BATU
I can practice my own work.  In fact, it should be nice to do so without the usual interruptions.
(To JOCHI)
Do thou have any photos of it?

JOCHI
I wasn’t actually that impressed with it.
(Noticing WAITER)
Yes?

WAITER
Does the patron desire anything else?

JOCHI
Next time, do wait for a break in the conversation before thou disturb us with thy service.

WAITER
As the patron pleases.

JOCHI
Thou are released.

WAITER
As the patron pleases.

(WAITER bows and exits.)

JOCHI
Actually, I think that should be a good thing.  Encourage artists to go back and forth between America and Europe.  Have them pave the way for others.

ORDA
All advances in travel have come from the military or trade, not from artists.

JOCHI
These Americans think differently from us.  Think creatively, Orda, creatively.

ORDA
Why, Jochi, why?  There is a reason there has been so little progress in transoceanic relations since Columbus discovered America.  It is simple economics.  We should stop sending ships over for all it’s getting us.

JOCHI
What if we should have flying machines?

ORDA
Thou must be joking.  Who should fly through the air?

BATU
Leonardo drew such devices five hundred years ago.

ORDA
Drawing is not making.  If they were at all practical, they should have been built by now.

BATU
They say whoever tries to build such devices dies horribly.

ORDA
Such devices must be dangerous.

BATU
No, I mean they have been tortured and executed.

JOCHI
Gentleman, gentleman, this is supposed to be a pleasant evening.  Let us not spoil it with talk of gore.  It is enough that there are ships.  It should have been nice if-

ORDA
Human flight and trade agreements with America.  Rumours and rubbish.  Nothing shall ever replace the Silk Road.

JOCHI
Ulan Bator wish a trade agreement.  So we negotiate a trade agreement.

ORDA
Ulan Bator.  Ulan Bator.  I’ve read no dispatches from Ulan Bator stating that this is on the Khan’s agenda.  No doubt some bureaucrat wishes to feather her nest, expand her personal empire.

JOCHI
It’s not a priority.  Not all projects pay off, but we have to try them anyway.  Do thou only attempt to enter markets thou know shall succeed?

BATU
Must the two of you always talk business?

ORDA
I’m sorry, Batu.  I don’t know why thou associate with us.

BATU
Sometimes I spend time with my theatre friends.  Tonight I spend time with my Cambridge friends.

JOCHI
We’re wasting the head on full pints.  To Cambridge friends!

BATU and ORDA
To Cambridge friends!

(JOCHI, BATU, and ORDA drink some ale.)

JOCHI
Odd, Hatola graduated from Cambridge and we had nothing in common.  Except for thee, Batu.  Except for our love of William’s plays.

BATU
She saw me?

JOCHI
She quoted thy Hamlet.

ORDA
Imagine an American graduating from Cambridge.  It certainly does take more than a shared alma mater to make a friend.

JOCHI
Indeed.  And I wish the two of you to know how much I appreciate your friendship.

(JOCHI dials two digits.)
(Hears ring in phone.)

COMMERCE SECRETARY (recorded, on phone, unheard)
(“This is voice messaging for Kochu, daughter of Meimei and Chagatai, Commerce Secretary of the Mon-”)

(ORDA checks for a text message.)
(Received text: “together with most weak hams” – code for “I am here with the Secretary.”)

(JOCHI disconnects.)

JOCHI
Voice messaging.

BATU
She likes us so much she can’t wait to escape.

ORDA
Jochi, thou called only five minutes ago.  Who are thou calling that can’t wait until after a social occasion?

JOCHI
The Commerce Secretary.

ORDA
What, in Ulan Bator?

BATU
Thou have the Commerce Secretary on rapid dial?

ORDA
Thou are trying to impress us.

(End of excerpt)

4 Responses to “My Visit to America (work in progress)”

  1. Making my own goalpost « Exit, Pursued by a Lark Says:

    [...] first drafts of and began editing three more full-length plays: The Beginning of Grammar, My Visit to America and Evil [...]

  2. Politeness in dialog « Exit, Pursued by a Lark Says:

    [...] [ed. note - I did finish the first draft in 2010 and have done extensive editing since; you can read the first ten pages of each act] and I should be so lucky to have it performed, first in the US and then around the globe in [...]

  3. Stage directions: threat or menace? « Exit, Pursued by a Lark Says:

    [...] If you’re curious, you can view the first ten pages of each act of My Visit to America [...]

  4. Playwrights Center of San Francisco (PCSF) « Exit, Pursued by a Lark Says:

    [...] readings of my second full-length Hemlock, and a developmental reading of my third full-length My Visit to America. While I’d love a full production of my full-lengths, words cannot express how thrilling it [...]

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