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Alaitz Olaizola Borda > Extracts


2005 | Erein

A 20-year-old girl by the name of Txiukue lives in the China of 500 years ago. She is the daughter of the town's mayor and is in love with Peifen, a working girl who is her own age and is the housemaid. Her father wants to marry her off and has therefore selected four suitors. But Txiukue does not want to marry any of them. She wants to marry Peifen.

As both Txiukue and her father are very stubborn, this dilemma is not going to be sorted out until the last moment.

Who is Txiukue going to marry?

SCENE I (The Mayor's house))

(The mayor and his wife are seated at a table talking in the living room of the Mayor's house. If a servant is present, he or she has to stand absolutely still in a corner)

MAYOR: Now is the moment. I'm the mayor of this town. I'm a well-known, respected man. (Hitting the table)

WIFE: I know. But it isn't our daughter Txiukue's fault if her father happens to be the mayor.

MAYOR: What do you mean her fault? It is precisely because I'm mayor that she lives in such comfortable circumstances.

WIFE: She's only twenty. Just leave her in peace, dear!

MAYOR: The whole town is asking me the same question.

WIFE: (Mocking him) Why are you so stupid?

MAYOR: (Very serious) It isn't that. They're asking when our only daughter is going to get married.

(There is a knock at the door)

MAYOR: Let them enter, whoever they may be! (If a servant is present, he or she can open the door. If not the caller can simply enter)

(Enter Ding Jun. He goes up to the Mayor and bows after the Chinese fashion)

DING JUN: My Lord Mayor, I bring the new pieces of furniture you ordered for the town hall.

MAYOR: What about them? (In a very serious voice)

DING JUN: They're on a cart so I'd be grateful if you could tell me where you want them (in dulcet tones with his head bowed)

MAYOR: Where do I want them? If they're for the town hall, you'll have to leave them there, won't you! (In a very bad temper)

DING JUN: As you wish. (He bows and runs away)

WIFE: (to husband) Who was that?

MAYOR: Ding Jun. The most famous furniture maker in the whole of China.

WIFE: What do you need new furniture in the town hall for?

MAYOR: You'll find out all in good time.

(There is a knock at the door)

MAYOR: Let them enter, whoever they may be!

(The servant opens the door)

(enter Yutan. He goes up to the mayor and bows)

YUTAN: My Lord Mayor, the new flowers you ordered areÓ (the Mayor interrupts him)

MAYOR: (In a filthy temper) You've got them on a cart, haven't you?

YUTAN: No, my Lord. In baskets on each side of an ass.

(Wife starts laughing)

MAYOR: An ass? You are the only ass here! (He stands up, angry, because he did not guess correctly) What do you want?

YUTAN: Where am I to leave the flowers? (His head bowed)

MAYOR: Where did I tell you I needed them?

YUTAN: At the town hall. I'll take them there now.

MAYOR: Go on, then!

(Yutan bows and runs away)

WIFE: Who was that?

MAYOR: (Sitting down again) Yutan, the best gardener in the whole of China.

WIFE: Have you bought me some flowers? (Delightedly)

MAYOR: They're not for you.

WIFE: Who are they for then?

MAYOR: Don't you think you're being a bit nosy?

WIFE: And don't you think you're being a bit strange?

MAYOR: You'll find out all in good time! (He gets up and leaves)

WIFE: He thinks I'm stupid. But I know he's making preparation for his daughter's wedding (She straightens the chairs and exits)

SCENE II (The Mayor's House)

(There is a knock at the door. A servant will open it and if there isn't one, Xiao Ping can knock and enter. He stops beside the table. There is another knock at the door and Lao Txan enters with a shuffling gait because he is old)

LAO TXAN: (When he sees the younger man) Xiao Ping! What are you doing here? (With a grandfather's voice. He sits down)

XIAO PING: Hello, Lao Txan. The Mayor told me to come. It seems he wants to marry off his daughter.

LAO TXAN: That's right. As I am the wisest man in the town he has asked me for my advice.

XIAO PING: And he has sought my advice, too, as I am his best friend.

LAO TXAN: What are you going to tell him?

XIAO PING: I am going to introduce two men to him.

LAO TXAN: You know Txiukue, don't you?

XIAO PING: That's right.

LAO TXAN: (worried) It'll be difficult to make the right choice for her.

XIAO PING: I don't think so.

(At this moment, Mayor enters briskly)

MAYOR: Here you both are. I need the help of each one of you. (Sitting in his chair)

XIAO PING: We'll help you.

MAYOR: Come on Xiao Ping, who have you brought with you?

(Xiao Ping starts shouting to the off stage area)

XIAO PING: Tu Fu! Tu Fu! (The servant shows him in and like the others he bows to the mayor) This is Tu Fu, the most famous poet in the whole of China.

TU FU: (He is carrying some old sheets of paper under his arm) My Lord Mayor, you have before you a strong man. I will look after your daughter.

MAYOR: Um... (immersed in his thoughts) So you're a poet...

TU FU: A famous one, my Lord Mayor.

LAO TXAN: Fame, fame... That's not enough!

TU FU: (His head bowed) It is not enough, but it is no small matter, either.

XIAO PING: You have a point there, Tu Fu.

MAYOR: Tu Fu, produce the most beautiful poem you have ever composed.

TU FU: (Delighted) Yes, of course my Lord!! (He bows and races away)

XIAO PING: (He starts shouting to the off stage area again) Faguo! Faguo!

(Accompanied by a servant, a young Frenchman enters)

LAO TXAN: Who are you, then? (in surprise)

FAGUO: Faguo, sir. (Extending his hand towards the mayor)

MAYOR: Where are you from, Fago?

FAGUO: Not Fago, my Lord. My name is Faguo.

MAYOR: I'm going to call you what I want. Is that clear?

FAGUO: (Proudly, without bowing his head). I am a Frenchman, my Lord, I'm a French warrior, the best in the whole of Europe

XIAO PING: (addressing the Mayor) The perfect guardian for our town.

FAGUO: I'm a very skilled horseman.

MAYOR: Silence! I did not give you leave to speak (Angrily)

LAO TXAN: There aren't any horses in our town.

MAYOR: Off you go Fago. Let's see if you are capable of finding a horse.

FAGUO: (Very happy) That'll be very easy. (And off he goes at a run)

LAO TXAN: As I am the wisest man in this town, I do not think that any of these men will make a suitable husband for Txiukue.

XIAO PING: (Angrily) You are deeply mistaken! Our town needs great men!

LAO TXAN: My Lord Mayor, you should speak to your daughter.

XIAO PING: What for? It is up to her father to decide.

LAO TXAN: (Angrily getting to his feet) No, it isn't! If your daughter is going to marry, let her decide!

MAYOR: (Raising his hands to his head to cover his ears as he cannot bear the racket that is going on) That will do! Silence both of you! I asked you for advice, not orders! I will decide tomorrow. I have four suitors in mind: Faguo the warrior, Tu Fu the poet, Yutan the gardener and Ding Jun the furniture maker.

XIAO PING: I think Faguo...

LAO TXAN: Ask Txiukue herself, my Lord.

MAYOR: That will do! (Shouting) Get out!

(They bow and disappear)

MAYOR: Who will be the most suitable? (Pensively. He leaves.)
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