DAY 14 – DAILY PROMPT:

Plays and scripts can be some of the most challenging writing we attempt. Even if you’ve no interest in it, write a few pages of a script for a play. Where you can, include stage directions as if the reader is going to be participating. Stretching our borders can help us better fill them when we return.

Time: 1944
Location: Japan

Characters:

Kazuo-Japanese American once held in the Japanese internment camp in Utah now working as an interrogator for the United States Army.

Japanese Prisoner

Note: Scene takes place in Japanese. Only when the soldier interrupts does Kazuo speak English which the prisoner does not understand.

AT RISE: Single light shines on a silver table, two chairs
on either side. PRISONER, hands bound behind his chair, sits
glaring towards KAZUO. KAZUO’s back is toward the audience,
finger tapping steadily against the steal table.

PRISONER:
Is it true what they say?
(PRISONER stares at KAZUO. KAZUO STOPS
TAPPING. PRISONER LAUGHS.)
Can you not hear?

KAZUO:
Where are the American soldiers?

PRISONER:
I told you I don’t
(Light illuminates the side of KAZUO’s
face.)
know.

KAZUO:
But you do.
(PRISONER leans back, hands shifting
behind him.)

PRISONER:
So, what they say is true.
(PRISONER squints, taking in KAZUO’s
appearance which is now visible to the
audience.)
You are one of us.

KAZUO:
The American troops. Where are–

PRISONER:
Traitor.
(KAZUO presses his hands against the
table, shaking his head. A smile slowly
stretches across his face.)

KAZUO:
Look at me.
(KAZUO takes a step back, spreads his
arms, wiggles his fingers. He spins in
place. He pulls out the chair across
from PRISONER and sits down, crosing his
leg over his knee.)
Now you.

(PRISONER LOOKS TO THE SIDE. KAZUO
LAUGHS, REACHING INTO HIS POCKET.)

Seems we both forgot for a second.

(KAZUO PULLS OUT A BROWN SQUARE PAPER.
HE STRUGGLES TO UNFOLD IT. PRISONER EYES
HIM, CURSING IN JAPANESE. ONCE UNFOLDED,
KAZUO PLACES THE MAP BETWEEN THEM ON THE
TABLE.)

You’re name is Jiro, yes? I heard a rumor that they
found you hiding under the corpses of your fallen
comrades.

(KAZUO looks at JIRO. They exchange
glares. KAZUO smoothes out the corners
of the map.)

Is there any truth to the rumor?
JIRO:
(whispers)
Are the rumors about you true, Nanashi?

KAZUO:
Where are you from Jiro?

JIRO:
Where are you from, Nanashi?
(KAZUO bites his lip, nodding his head.)

KAZUO:
That is what they call me?

(Jiro shrugs.)

Is it because they believe I have no home? No honor? No
sanity? Do you all believe that because I look like you
I should reveal my name? Or, perhaps I’m not good
enough, spoiled, dirty, you all care so much about
cleanliness in spirit that maybe when you look at me
you deem me worthy of no name?

(KAZUO leans forward, smirking.)

Or, is it because you do not know what I am. I am
neither your ally or your enemy. I have your face but
speak like them. And, because you asked, I am from
here, Japan originally, but was raised over there. You
give me a name that means no name because at least that
translates into your language. Makes me real. But the
truth is,

(KAZUO sits back, right pointer finger
glossing over the paper map. PRISONER
shifts in his seat, refusing to make eye
contact.)

You, all of you, are terrified of me. You fear me
because I represent what you might become. What could
happen should you lose.

(KAZUO shrugs.)

When you lose.

(KAZUO drags his finger on unseen point
on the map.)
Tokyo.

JIRO:
I will never tell you anything.

KAZUO:
Osaka.

JIRO:
Traitor to your own people.

KAZUO:
Kyoto.

JIRO:
The Japanese are strong.

KAZUO:
Nara.

JIRO:
Honorable! Unlike the Americans.

KAZUO:
Hiroshima.

JIRO:
All of you think you are better!

KAZUO:
Kagoshima.

JIRO:
I will never surrender.

KAZUO:
Kagoshima.

JIRO:
(shouting)

I will never give in!

(KAZUO presses hard against the spot on
the map, Kagoshima. JIRO pants, sweat on
his forehead.)

KAZUO:
Kagoshima.

JIRO:
No.

KAZUO:
I said it twice.

JIRO:
So?

KAZUO:
You yelled when I said it again.

JIRO:
You mad me angry.

KAZUO:
You were so calm before.

(JIRO falls silent)

Your fingers are callous and dry. Years spent near salt
water? Also, there are several extra lines running
across them, cuts from hooks, wire, nets.

(KAZUO stands, JIRO remains quiet but
never lets KAZUO out of his sight.)

Tan skin. No doubt from the hours spent under the sun.
You also have terrible teeth, probably from the rotting
tooth on the left which is why you are favoring the
right side of your mouth.

JIRO:
I don’t know where they are.

KAZUO:
Your parens must need the money, sending to be a part
of this war.

JIRO:
Nanashi, I don’t know.

KAZUO:
I heard another rumor.
(KAZUO places his palm against his head,
circling around JIRO)
That your gun was fully loaded when they found you.

JIRO:
(whimpering)
I don’t know anything.

KAZUO:
All your brothers died fighting and you.

JIRO:
I’m sorry.
KAZUO:
Not a single shot fired.

JIRO:
(shouting)
Please Nanashi!

KAZUO:
Someone in your family must need you alive.

JIRO:
I know nothing!

KAZUO:
So desperate to save yourself.

JIRO:
I told you I know nothing!
(KAZUO stops behind JIRO, leaning close)

KAZUO:
(whispering into JIRO’s ear)
How many more must die so that you may live?

JIRO:
(crying)
Please.

KAZUO:
Where are they.

(JIRO shakes his head, his breath
quickening. KAZUO sighs, pats JIRO’s
shoulder, then walks to the other side
of the table. KAZUO glares at the map,
fingers tapping as JIRO struggles to
gain his composure. SILENCE. KAZUO slams
his fist against the table. JIRO
squeals, jerking back in his seat)

SOLDIER:
(off)
Everything alright in there?
(JIRO and KAZUO stare at one another)

KAZUO:
Kagoshima.

JIRO:
What?

KAZUO:
No survivors.

JIRO:
(gasping)
No…

KAZUO:
Single shot to the head.

JIRO:
Please, no.

KAZUO:
A massacre.

JIRO:
(yelling)
No!

SOLDIER:
(off)
Anything more to report?

KAZUO:
(to JIRO)
You can stop this.

(JIRO nods)
Hold on.
(JIRO lowers his head)

JIRO:
I told you the truth. I don’t know where they are.
(KAZUO rolls his eyes, moving toward
offstage)
wait!
(JIRO looks up, struggling to lean
forward. KAZUO stops, back still to
JIRO)
I know who has them.

KAZUO:
Tell me.

JIRO:
His name is Mutsuhiro.
(SILENCE)
Mutsuhiro Watanabe.
(SILENCE)
Please, don’t hurt my family.
(SILENCE. KAZUO exits. JIRO cries as
light fades to blue. Fade black.)

Scene

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