Honiefaith by Monty DiPietro

This Play is the copyright of the Author, and may not be performed, copied or sold without the Author’s prior consent
Characters

Victor BALMORI: Filipino newspaper reporter, male, age 25-60

Cora DIAZ: Filipino hostess, age 18-25

Nadya KARSAVINA: Russian hostess, age 25-40

Daisuke SAKAMOTO: Japanese nightclub manager, male, age 25-40

Inspector Yutaro MUKAIDE: Japanese policeman, age 25-60

SAKAMOTO SR.: Japanese gangster boss, Sakamoto’s father (age commensurate with son’s)


The action takes place in Tokyo, over four days in April


Act I

KARSAVINA APARTMENT - THU. MORNING 4 A.M.

Tokyo Bayside studio apartment, simple but elegant, of Nadya KARSAVINA, a Russian hostess. Karsavina wears pajamas and sleeps on a sofabed. The distorted sound of a household laundry machine accompanies Cora DIAZ, an attractive Filipino hostess, as she enters, as if in a trance, and approaches the bed. Diaz wears sweatpants and a t-shirt. Rhythmically violent music swells as Diaz sways and convulses in a macabre dance, collapsing on the bed as the music finishes.

DIAZ Screams. Sits bolt upright, gasping for air.

KARSAVINA: (Startled from sleep. Sits up and turns on a bedside light.) Shh, Cora, shh… (She hugs Diaz, brushes a hand across her face.) It’s alright. You were having a bad dream. It’s alright now.

DIAZ: (shaken) I’m sorry…

KARSAVINA: Take a deep breath. Shh… (pause) Feel better?

DIAZ: Yes… I’m sorry Nadya.

KARSAVINA: Good. But you’re going to have to stop apologizing so much.

DIAZ: I’m sorry… I mean, ‘thank you, Nadya.’

KARSAVINA: Was it the same dream?

DIAZ: No…

KARSAVINA: Can you sleep?

DIAZ: I don’t know.

KARSAVINA: (Rises from the bed, goes to the window, parts the curtain and looks out.) Almost morning. Why don’t we have a nice cup of coffee, and then walk down to the park for some fresh air?

DIAZ: I’d rather have a real drink. If that’s alright.

KARSAVINA: Good girl! But one drink is your limit. (Goes to offstage kitchen.) Do you want to tell me about the dream?

DIAZ: I was behind the building where we used to live, me and my Mom. I was all alone, walking along a little path through an old garden… Toward a tall kamagong tree. But there wasn’t any sound, no crickets, no wind in the air…

KARSAVINA: What kind of tree?

DIAZ: (surprised) A kamagong! It’s a big black tree. Never heard of it?

KARSAVINA: No, but it sounds scary! ‘Kamagong tree’... (laughs)

DIAZ: It was so quiet I could hear myself breathing, and my heart beating… (pause) There were pink and green pitcher plants, bright and swollen, like after a summer rain… The path disappeared when I got to the kamagong, and there was just the tree and me and the pitcher plants. (pause) The pitcher plants were everywhere, like a carpet…

KARSAVINA returns, carrying a tray with a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream, two glasses with ice and a swizzle stick. Diaz continues her recounting as Karsavina pours and stirs two large drinks, handing one to Diaz. She sits cross-legged on the bed.

DIAZ: I looked back to where my building was, but I couldn’t see it… Then suddenly I heard a noise, I don’t know, a bad noise like… like a dog growling and growling. And the big bulbs of the pitcher plants were squishing against my legs, and talking to me!

KARSAVINA: Talking to you?

DIAZ: They were saying my name… (imitating) ‘Cora…!’ (shudders) Then, ah, I started climbing the tree! I climbed up higher and higher, but the tree changed… Oh, this must sound stupid…

KARSAVINA: It’s alright. What happened to the tree?

DIAZ: It was steel, it was like a mechanical set…

KARSAVINA: (still groggy) What’s that?

DIAZ: (realizing) It was just like the mechanical set my little brother got for Christmas! That was a long time ago… (gesturing) Nadya, it was toy, you build things with little steel pieces, like pipes…

KARSAVINA: Ah! ‘konstruktor.’

DIAZ: I was up on a tree made of these steel pipes, putting a new pipe onto the last one, climbing, higher and higher, one after the other, higher and higher… (shudders) Then I was cold, and it was dark, and I couldn’t see the ground at all. I got scared, I’m so scared of heights! I tried to scream but I couldn’t…

KARSAVINA: Oh, but you did!

DIAZ: I did?

KARSAVINA: (laughing) You woke us both up!

DIAZ: I’m sorry…

KARSAVINA: (mock-scolding) I asked you nicely to stop apologizing… (Clinks her glass with Diaz’s. They both smile.) And that was it?

DIAZ: Yes.

KARSAVINA: (Looks closely at Diaz.) So…

DIAZ: (pause) What?

KARSAVINA: He wasn’t in the dream?

DIAZ: (Slowly looks downward) No. (pause) No, he wasn’t…

KARSAVINA Puts a comforting arm round Diaz

LIGHTS DOWN.


ROPPONGI POLICE STATION - THU. AFTERNOON

Police Inspector Yutaro MUKAIDE, a neat and articulate man, is seated at a desk in a small office. The office is utilitarian, two steel chairs, a desk with an in/out paper file, a telephone, perhaps a bulletin board or filing cabinet on back wall. A fan whirs as Mukaide leafs through papers. There is a knock at the door, it is Victor BALMORI, a newspaper reporter from the Manila Gazette. Balmori wears a brown jacket and light trousers, worn but clean, and white short-sleeved shirt with necktie. He carries a tired briefcase.

MUKAIDE: (Hears the knock. Glances at his watch. Calling out, in Japanese) Do’ozo… (Please come in.)

BALMORI: (Enters and approaches the desk.) Hello. I’m Victor Balmori. (Offers a handshake.)

MUKAIDE: (Stands and bows slightly.) Ah, Mr. Victor, right on time. When did you arrive in Japan?

BALMORI: (Takes back his hand and returns the bow, even as Mukaide awkwardly offers his own hand.) Today… I arrived this morning. (They awkwardly shake hands.)

MUKAIDE: I see. Allow me to welcome you to Japan… As we say, ‘yokoso’!

BALMORI: Thank you, Mr. Inspector. I’ve read a great deal about your country. And may I say thank you for seeing me today, I know you’re a busy man.

MUKAIDE: (smiling) No need to thank me, Mr. Victor. Please sit down.

BALMORI: (sitting) Thank you.

MUKAIDE: (Searches through his ‘inbox,’ extracts a piece of paper, then another, examines them.) It seems that you are in Japan to do research?

BALMORI: Yes. I’m writing a story on the Marlene Velez murder.

MUKAIDE: Is that so?

BALMORI: Yes…

MUKAIDE: In which media?

BALMORI: For the Gazette.

MUKAIDE: The ‘Gazette’?

BALMORI: My paper, the Manila Gazette. We’re the city’s oldest daily.

MUKAIDE: A newspaper…

BALMORI: (puzzled) Yes… Excuse me, but I thought we’d sent all the information… From Manila, on Monday? When we made this appointment? (pause) We were asked to fax you a list of questions, which I believe we did… (Reaches into his briefcase and extracts two sheets of paper.) I have the questions here. (Hands the papers to Mukaide.)

MUKAIDE: (Studies the papers.) I see. Can I make a copy please?

BALMORI: No problem, you can keep them.

MUKAIDE: Very good… Thank you. (Opens his desk drawer, takes out a hanko rubber stamp, a piece of paper and a stapler, makes a note on the piece of paper and methodically stamps then staples it to the papers with Balmori’s questions. Carefully places everything together with the other papers in the center his desk.) And when will your article appear?

BALMORI: I really don’t know, that’s up to my editor. I want to get some case information from you, talk to some people here, and then I’ll file. I hope it’ll run in the Sunday edition.

MUKAIDE: Well, Mr. Victor… (looks up) At this time, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Section is conducting an investigation into the matter of Miss Marlene. The media can get information when we conduct our press conferences.

BALMORI: (sits up) Alright. When is that?

MUKAIDE: It depends… (pause) There is the Shichisha Kai, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Kisha Club, and the News Kisha Club. (pause) The announcements of the press conference topics and schedules are given to media members before a press conference.

BALMORI: I understand. (pause) What I was hoping, was that you, personally, could answer some questions for me today… (hopeful) I’m only in Japan for two days, I leave Saturday morning.

MUKAIDE: (Sucks his teeth and cocks his head.) That could be difficult…

BALMORI: (Takes out a pen and notepad.) Well, at the very least you can give me the official information… (Taps pen on notepad, consults it as he speaks.) Time, date and location of Marlene Velez’s murder. The coroner’s report on cause of death and probable murder weapon. The status and progress of the police investigation. Are there any witnesses? Do you have any suspects? Have you made any arrests? Also, if you’ve released any photographs for the press. The rest, interviews and so on, I’ll get from the nightclub where she worked.

MUKAIDE: (pause) You said ‘murder,’ but we have not said that…

BALMORI: (Leans forward.) But this is a murder investigation…

MUKAIDE: We have not said that.

BALMORI: (pause) Respectfully, Mr. Inspector, I spoke with Marlene Velez’s family yesterday, and my paper has been following the story in the Japanese press. It’s known that the body was cut into ten pieces, and discovered last Sunday in a locker at the World Trade Center in… (Flips through his notebook) ...Hamamatsu-cho. (Looks at Mukaide then back to his notes.) And that you have a suspect in custody, a Mr. Hideo Nakamura.

MUKAIDE: I am sorry, I cannot comment on that.

BALMORI: It’s already been reported by the Japanese press… (pause) Let me be frank, Mr. Inspector. (Puts his notebook aside.) This was a grisly murder. A beautiful 22 year-old Filipino girl, killed, her body cut to pieces and stuffed into a locker. It’s shocking and it’s horrible, but that’s why I was sent. (pause) I sincerely hope you can help me. If you could just let me have a look at the police report. And tell me if this Nakamura has been charged?

MUKAIDE: (Sucks his teeth.) I see. (Stands, picks up the papers from his desk. Taps them with his finger.) Maybe I can check on these things for you. (pause) Can you see me tomorrow?

BALMORI: Tomorrow? (stands) Well, I’ll come back tomorrow then, thank you… (Starts toward door, turns back to Mukaide, confused.) Excuse me, Mr. Inspector… I thought that you were in charge of this case…

MUKAIDE: Of course.

BALMORI: So, you’re the inspector responsible for the Marlene Velez investigation?

MUKAIDE: No…

BALMORI: I don’t understand…

MUKAIDE: Yes, you misunderstand. I am in charge of helping you… (pause) I am in charge of your case.

[end of extract]

—-

Honiefaith premiered in June 2009 at Our Space Theater in Tokyo; produced by Monty DiPietro and Jonah Hagans for Tokyo International Players; directed by Jonah Hagans; featuring David Aranez as Balmori, Arlene Dinglasan as Diaz, Elena Yankova as Karsavina, Ken Suzuki as Mukaide, Takuya Matsumoto as Sakamoto and Jun Takahashi as Sakamoto Sr.

Honiefaith is a fictional story based on real events. Names have been changed.

Locations (minimal sets): Studio apartment / Police Inspector’s office / Hostess club “VIP section” / Business hotel room / Small city park



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