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Scene Four

 

 

 

The stage is dark save for a single spotlight on a thick wooden door downstage right. It is the front of a house in the capitol a week later. YANG appears at the door. HE knocks. There is no response. HE knocks again, this time with considerable force. The door is opened by WAN. From within we hear sounds of a party in progress.
WAN
Yang!
Old friend Yang!
I could not be more surprised.
You are looking well.
 
YANG
And you, also, Wan.
 
WAN
The monastery,
How is that beautiful place?
How often I think
Of the wonderful weeks
I spent there.
 
YANG
We had expected you to return
Before the leaves had fallen.
 
WAN
How I wish I had!
The capitol can be wearying.
(We hear a WOMAN's voice rise above the clatter inside.)
WOMAN'S VOICE
Wan! Where are you?
 
YANG
We had not heard from you for so long.
I had imagined you were ill.
 
WAN
No, I have not been ill.
 
WOMAN'S VOICE
Wan! What are you doing?
 
WAN
Yang, you must join the party!
It is most fun,
And I think you shall like the people.
 
YANG
It is late,
And I must return to my room.
 
WAN
Please stay awhile.
It has been too long.
 
WOMAN'S VOICE
Wan, are you coming back inside?
 
WAN
Come, old friend.
There is much delicious green wine.
You will enjoy yourself.
 
WOMAN'S VOICE
Wan, did you hear me?
 
WAN
I shall be there in a moment!
                                                        (to Yang)
What say you, old friend?
 
YANG
Then Meilan was right.
 
WAN
Right?
 
YANG
You have forgotten her.
 
WAN
No, that is not so!
I have thought of her often.
 
YANG
You think of her often.
But you do not write.
And you do not return.
 
WAN
Please.
We shall speak of it another time.
 
YANG
No, we shall speak of it now!
How could you do this to her?
 
WAN
I told you I think of her often.
That is true,
And with a special affection.
For Meilan was my first love.
But people grow
And while they grow
They grow away.
Someday I shall return,
But I could not marry her.
 
YANG
Why could you not marry her?
 
WAN
Because I could not.
 
YANG
The woman you loved so passionately,
The woman you were willing to die for.
 
WAN
If she could give herself to me so freely,
With how many others would she do the same?
 
YANG
How can you say that!
How can you speak of Meilan like that!
Now, now she sits
Alone in the garden,
Waiting till you return.
Although she knows in her heart
You shall not return.
She loves you!
Can you understand that?
She loves you!
Can you understand something
As honest and simple as love?
 
WAN
Love!
How everyone talks of love!
What is love anyway
But an awakening of youth?
Everything changes in this world.
You, of all people, know that.
The earth changes,
The sea changes,
The flesh changes,
The heart changes.
 
YANG
Meilan was right again.
There are many ways of love.
 
WAN
Please.
Let us speak of this no further.
 
YANG
Then the willows by the western gate
And all those words
Were only real for those moments?
 
WAN
You do not understand.
The words were sincere.
And the nights
Within the willows by the western gate
Are still close to my heart.
 
YANG
You have no heart!
Oh, Wan,
I look into your eyes
And hear your voice
And try to believe
That this is not the man I knew.
You have no heart.
You have no heart.
 
WOMAN'S VOICE
Wan, are you ever coming back in?
 
WAN
I must go back now.
I cannot discuss this with you
When anything I say
Leads to such anger.
You were my friend,
And as a friend,
I thought you would understand.
Friends need no words
To speak to one another.
But I see now
I was wrong.
 
YANG
You speak of friendship!
You speak of understanding!
What has happened to you?
You were not like this before.
 
WAN
I have always been a human being.
 
YANG
Then if you are a human being,
Meilan is a goddess!
 
WOMAN'S VOICE
I will give you two minutes, and then I shall leave!
 
YANG
If you could only see her face.
 
WAN
That is enough.
This conversation has been most unfortunate.
I am deeply sorry,
But I must bid you goodnight.
 
YANG
Wait!
There is one thing more!
Meilan has sent you a letter.
Here.
In it you shall find her jade ring.
Jade is the symbol of purity,
And the ring is the symbol of eternity. (YANG hands him the letter, turns quickly and walks off. WAN stares down at the envelope in his hand.)

 

 

 

LIGHTS DIM RAPIDLY