Swan Soong Play Jyl Bonaguro
Swan Soong Play Jyl Bonaguro

Swan Soong Play

Excerpt Swan Soong

A 2 act full length play by playwright Jyl Bonaguro

 
ACT I

SCENE 1

(MICKEY and SINMAY smoking opium pipes in a simply decorated room. Shanghai 1939.)

MICKEY
How many hours has it been? Three or two?

SINMAY
Four, I think, why does it matter?

MICKEY
I have work to do Sinmay. Challenging work.

SINMAY
All work is challenging. Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. So I believe, yes, that must be correct, Confucius has said.

MICKEY
Yes, from one who has actually, never worked a day in his life.

SINMAY
I have worked, on my writings, my poetry, my dear Mickey. I’m still working on my poems for Flower-like Evil. This
sweet dream of beds, roses opening to me. Immersed, I fall into them repeatedly, enjoying my sins…
(Pause.)

MICKEY
I have deadlines.

SINMAY
Writing for money is rather crass.

MICKEY
Without an independent source of income, being paid to write and to be published is not crass. It’s a job that I
actually like.

SINMAY
We have returned to Confucius.
(Pause.)

MICKEY
And I must return to attempting to work.

SINMAY
On the Soong sisters book… I’m so pleased with myself for creating this introduction.

MICKEY
You should be, I’m pleased with you. Downright impressed. But don’t forget, we have a meeting with them today. I need to convince them to allow me to write this book. It will be an important, historical. I can’t write anything till they agree.

SINMAY
Oh, they will agree. They have to. Just be careful. Always ask permission. You are, after all, attempting to write a book on the three most powerful women in China.

MICKEY
I’m fully aware.

SINMAY
Are you really?
(Pause.)

MICKEY
We need to get going.

SINMAY
I, was not attempting to delay us.

(Exit MICKEY with SINMAY following.)

SCENE 2
(Enter AI-LING followed by CHING-LING followed by MAYLING.)

CHING-LING
She is simply not suitable.

MAY-LING
I think, she’s a rather an interesting choice.

CHING-LING
Interesting May-ling? She smokes opium, writes for the New Yorker and has become the second wife of a Chinese. She’s not only a concubine, she’s an American concubine, which I didn’t even think could exist.

MAY-LING
Oh the crimes of the heart. If I’m not mistaken, aren’t you a second wife?

CHING-LING
What are you implying?

MAY-LING
Ching-ling, your husband, the noble Dr. Sun, a man without peer, was father’s great friend and the founder of modern China, but nevertheless, he kept his concubine, even after marrying you.

CHING-LING
Your husband, the esteemed Generalissimo, had 2 wives and a concubine before your marriage. I question his hasty divorce and remarriage to you.

MAY-LING
Yes, I believe at the time you said, you would rather see me dead, than married to the Generalissimo.

AI-LING
If I may interrupt, the aforementioned concubine, Emily Hahn or Mickey as she likes to be called, is actually the second wife of Sinmay Zau. His aunt is my dear friend and guarantees her character.

MAY-LING
I still feel that I ought to write our book. I’m, after all, the first lady of China. If I only had the time. But with my public speeches and appearances, there’s hardly a minute to myself. Ching-ling, when you were the first lady, did you feel like you never had any time whatsoever?

CHING-LING
I hardly recall being the first lady, it was so long ago and so very brief. What is brother T.V.’s opinion?

(Enter T.V. who had been listening.)

T.V.
I’m so grateful to be allowed an opinion.

AI-LING
We did discuss this.

T.V.
We discussed finances Ai-ling. According to my recollection, we did not discuss a sensationalistic novel about my three sisters to be written by an opium addict.

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