|Character name: ||Ma|
|Age Range: ||17 — 25|
|Show: ||The Dance and the Railroad|
|Duration: ||0 — 2 minutes |
|Monologue Type: ||dramatic,contemporary|
|Notes: ||Ma is a railroad worker who wants to become a Peking Opera star. He is being tested by a veteran Peking Opera performer who challenges Ma to stay in character as a locust until morning. This is Ma's speech as a locust, alone on a mountain at night.|
Locusts travel in huge swarms, so large that when they cross the sky, they block the sun, like a storm. Second Uncle – back home – when he was a young man, his whole crop got wiped out by locusts one year. In the famine that followed, Second Uncle lost his eldest son and his second wife – the one he married for love. Even to this day, we look around before saying the world “locust,” to make sure Second uncle is out of hearing range. About eight years ago, my brother and I discovered Second Uncle’s cave in back of the stream near our house. We saw him come out of it one day around noon. Later, just before the sun went down, we sneaked in. We only looked once. Inside, there must have been hundreds –maybe five hundred or more – grasshoppers in huge bamboo cages – and around them – stacks of grasshopper legs, grasshopper heads, grasshopper antennae, grasshoppers with one leg, still trying to hop but toppling like trees coughing, grasshoppers wrapped around sharp branches rolling from side to side, grasshoppers legs cut off grasshoppers bodies, then tied around grasshoppers and tightened till grasshoppers died. Every conceivable kind of grasshopper in every conceivable stage of life and death, subject to every conceivable grasshopper torture. We ran out quickly, my brother and I –we knew an evil place by the thickness of the air. Now, I think of Second Uncle. How sad that the locusts forced him to take out his agony on innocent grasshoppers. What if Second Uncle could see me now? Would he cut off my legs? He might as well. I can barely feel them. But then again, Second Uncle never tortured actual locusts, just weak grasshoppers.
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