A summer night outside a nightclub in Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo. 1984. Zach and Mariya gallop outside after dancing for hours. Mariya relaxes while Zach is still riding on energy.
ZACH. Can’t you feel it? Can’t you feel the tension? As the energy rises, bringing us to that magic moment: midnight!
MARIYA. It’s 4am.
ZACH. I love Japan! It’s a traffic jam every night. It doesn’t matter who you are or who I am. You get caught up in the power of the hustle and bustle. Makes you want to tear your shirt off!
MARIYA. You really are an American, aren’t you?
ZACH. Look at me! I haven’t had this much fun in so long, you have no idea.
MARIYA. I can see.
ZACH. You just let it all off! You let the music get so loud!
MARIYA. I’m glad you like it.
ZACH. And the heat! Summer touches you up and down here.
MARIYA. You’re having fun.
ZACH. You don’t talk much. Are you feeling good?
MARIYA. I’m good, I’m good. I don’t go out a lot.
ZACH. I can’t tell. You look great out there.
MARIYA. I had some practice.
ZACH. Am I a celebrity?
MARIYA. You could be. No one else looks like you here.
ZACH. Tall, white, long hair. I’m practically a god!
MARIYA. Yes! Yes, you are a god here!
ZACH. I am a god here! A tall white dancing god.
MARIYA. If only you can stay forever.
ZACH. I wish. My flight leaves Friday.
MARIYA. Well, you have a week to be a god.
ZACH. Not enough time.
MARIYA. Are you famous in America?
ZACH. Maybe. I’m here as a gift to myself. My painting sold for $4000 and I promised myself I was gonna use the money to go to Japan. I flew on Air Tokyo.
MARIYA. You’re a painter?
ZACH. Yeah. I just had a solo show. I sold most of my paintings in it.
MARIYA. What do you like to paint?
ZACH. Lots of things. My show was about all different angels. Good ones and bad ones. Angel of death and angel of life. I had twelve angels all around the gallery. They were huge paintings too, six feet tall. I don’t paint stuff like that either, so it was a big change from what I did before.
MARIYA. You painted devils?
ZACH. No. I never painted just a single person. I always make scenes. There’s composition to them. But the angels sold more than anything I’d been making for years.
MARIYA. Have you been trying for years?
ZACH. Of course I have but they were so successful it catches you off guard — (Mariya grabs Zach’s face and kisses him)
ZACH. …. Arigato.
MARIYA. I’m sorry I just wanted to do that one last time.
ZACH. That’s the last time?
MARIYA. It’s 4am. I should be leaving.
ZACH. How about I get you another drink? You like beer?
MARIYA. You can’t drink outside.
ZACH. Let’s smoke a cigarette then. C’mon I don’t know your name.
MARIYA. I don’t smoke. My name is Mariya.
ZACH. I’m Zach.
MARIYA. Zach, I’m tired, I had a great time tonight.
ZACH. Don’t be like that. You’re the first Tokyo-ite I’ve talked to. I feel close to you.
MARIYA. What more do you want to talk about?
ZACH. Well, where are you from?
MARIYA. No Handa. It’s in Aichi…? Near Nagoya…? It’s south.
ZACH. Ok. So what are you doing in Tokyo then?
MARIYA. It’s where my boat leaves from.
ZACH. You’re riding in a boat?
MARIYA. There’s an island hundreds of miles off the coast called Aogashima. It’s a volcano. I’m going to throw myself into it.
ZACH. And then what?
MARIYA. And then nothing. And then I die.
ZACH. Why would you do that?
MARIYA. You’re polite company. I can’t mention it.
ZACH. I’ll remind you you’re in the presence of a god.
MARIYA. I don’t want to make you unhappy.
ZACH. I’ll tell you that I’m happy if you want me to.
MARIYA. In Handa I was engaged to an engineer. He was a little dorky but he was a responsible man and very kind and generous. Respected in the city and at his job. My parents loved him and admired his diligence. I cheated on him with another man. At first I rejected him, but eventually I was weak. This man was popular in the city too and knew my fiancé through friends. One night we all ran into each other and I guess from my reaction my finance knew something was suspicious. That night I confessed to him. He wasn’t angry, he didn’t feel rage, he just wanted to know why. And whenever I think back I can’t find an answer. He just asked that I stop seeing the other man and we get married soon. I tried to tell the other man but he wouldn’t hear me. If we had been honest we’d still be in love. It was too late anyway. Some women had seen our meetings before and were gossiping. Now my family knew about it and wanted the wedding to happen immediately. That was a week ago. I’ve been in Tokyo ever since. My days and nights are switched. The damage is done. I am publicly disowned from my city. But leaving everyone offers no freedom. I’m still unhappy.
ZACH. Mariya, I don’t think death is the best option for you.
MARIYA. You don’t?! Then tell me what should I do? How should I keep on living?
ZACH. With love. With forgiveness. The second you drop from that cliff you’ll know the mistake you’ve made.
MARIYA. Why do I listen to you!? A cheap American painter? Looking for a fancy whore. Well you found her.
ZACH. Stop that! I’m human just as much as you are.
MARIYA. Lord, give me one more chance!
ZACH. You’re acting crazy. Those people love you. Just meeting you I know you can be loved.
MARIYA. Never love me seriously.
ZACH. So you’ll die. After you dance and kiss and listen to artists, you’ll die. Can it be worth that? Can it be worth all that?
MARIYA. I can’t answer you.
ZACH. Then don’t answer me. You’re just playing games, wasting everyone’s time. I’m drunk, I’ve been dancing, and you’re killing my buzz.
MARIYA. You won’t need to worry about that soon.
ZACH. And make me an accomplice to murder, how selfish of you.
MARIYA. Why do you have all the answers!? It’s like a needle on a record, the same phrase repeating!
ZACH. Stay with me. We knocked on the door of midnight a while ago.
MARIYA. I have nothing left.
ZACH. I think everything is placed where it is for a reason. We’re both in Tokyo at 4am? There must be something bigger than us, holding a moment between two people. How could you leave a world like that?
MARIYA. What am I gonna go back to?
ZACH. Stop worrying where you’re gonna go, just keep going.
MARIYA. I can’t be here anymore.
ZACH. Was this a waste!? What am I doing this for?
MARIYA. To fill my ears with cliches and temptations!
ZACH. I can’t let you leave.
MARIYA. Please let me go.
ZACH. Right now, if you let go, we will just pass by one another. It will be as it is.
MARIYA. Did you bring your angels to Japan? They’re laughing at us right now.
ZACH. I bet they are.
MARIYA. It’s not fair.
ZACH. No one said it was.
MARIYA. I’m a fool.
ZACH. But you’re alive. Is there a train to Handa?
MARIYA. What do you care?
ZACH. It’s a miracle that we met.
MARIYA. And I should believe in miracles?
ZACH. You should believe in something. It’s better than a volcano.
MARIYA. It’s all a cruel game. A game of war.
ZACH. A game of change.
MARIYA. I should call first.
ZACH. I can’t see you after tonight.
MARIYA. I know.
ZACH. Maybe. I’m not sure.
MARIYA. Remember your summer days for me.
ZACH. I can’t go back twice, neither can you.
(Mariya exits. Zach takes out a cigarette and smokes. He dances to music.)
End of Play
Roman D’Ambrosio is the co-artistic producer of the Adult Film theatre collective. His plays have been performed at the New York Theater Festival, Emerging Artist Theatre, and various independent productions. He is based in New York City and just finished reading What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula.