Tuesday, June 23, 2009


From fellow Princeton in Asia fellow Elena's blog, explaining about previously posting a play by her students that used questionable English grammar:

"I'm feeling a little guilty about my last post because I feel like it sounds like I'm making fun of their English. I'm really not! I love my students and I commend them for how hard they are trying to learn and how much they already know. If I were to write a skit in Thai it would read something like this:

Elena: Hello! How are you? Chicken, pork, rice, water. 1, 2, 3, 17. The mall. Thank you! It's alright.

Those are all the words I know."

Apropos, a play:

Chicken Water 17: The Mall

[A, a man, walks in stage left. B, a woman, walks in stage right. They both stare at their shoes, considering the banality of existence. They do not notice each other until they have nearly collided. Each regains the composure he/she wishes to project to the other].

A: Hello.
B: Hello.
A: How are you? B: How are you?
[Nervous laughter from both.]
A: How are you?
[B looks at the ground, shakes her head stiffly]
A: How are you?
[She shakes her head more dramatically].
A: How are you?
B: Rice.
A:...how are you?
B: Rice.
A: Rice.
B: Rice.
A: Rice.
B: Rice. Rice, rice, rice.
A: It's alright.
B: Thank you.
A: It's alright.
B: How are you?
[He regards her coldly, with the icy pangs of lost concupiscence]
A: How are you?
B: Rice.
[He nods his head, defeated.]

[Enter stage right a clown on a unicycle. He balances a bucket full of water precarious;y on his forehead.]

A: Water. Water. Water water water.

[He skitters back and forth for a while and then rolls up in between A and B. He gets down from his unicycle and regards A]

CLOWN: How are you?
A (pointing at B): Rice
CLOWN (pointing at B): Rice.
A (nodding): Rice.
[The clown considers this].
CLOWN: Water.

[He throws the bucket of water into A's face. A does not reacts, only accepts that it is not that water has been thrown in his face, but that the preordained time in the water's celestial path to have arrived at those precise coordinates had dovetailed with the location of his face.]

[Exit CLOWN].

[A and B stand silently, forlorn, for an awkwardly long time, until the audience becomes restless. Length to be decided at the actors' discretion].

[They turn to face each other.]

B: Water.
A: Rice.
[They intertwine their wrists, with the right hand of A holding the right hand of B, and the left hand of A holding the left hand of A].


All right, you guys, I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking: more well-written than Frost/Nixon.

Now let's get Ron Howard on-board and make an Oscar-nominated "film."

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