The Accused

Bei Li- Mother

Si Yuan- Father

Jia Yan- 16-year-old daughter

Xiao Zi- 9-year-old son

Red Guard

Second Red Guard

Judge

Act 1

The scene opens onto a room of a small farmerís house in southern China. It is the major living room, kitchen, dining room, and bedroom all in one. There are two windows in the back, facing rice fields, a small square table between the windows, where three people of the family of four are seated. There is a plain bed in the corner with worn sheets that used to have prints, with a boy the age of 9 under them. The year is 1967.

Bei Li to her daughter: Did you say your prayer before sitting down to eat?

Jai Yan, matter of factly: Of course I did. I never forget!

Bei Li, hastily: Ok, now Jia Yan, go wake up your brother. Heís been sleeping late all this week; Iím getting worried. I hope heís not coming down with the flu.

Jia Yan, clearly annoyed: Mom, I canít. First I have to finish my breakfast and then get ready for school. My teacher already yelled at me for being late on Monday. I canít afford another one. What if she asks me to stay after again?

Bei Li, now annoyed at her daughter: How long does it take to wake your brother up?

Si Yuan, jokingly: Since the two of you are two busy arguing, I got it. He walks over to the bed. Xiao Zi, wake up now. Youíre gonna be late for school. He shakes his son a little, as to stir him.

Xiao Zi, groaning: Itís too early to get up, five more minutes please. Mom make him stop.

Bei Li, worriedly: Do you feel all right? Do you have a fever? Let me see. She walks over to the bed, too, and touches his forehead. You seem fine to me, so get up now. We donít want you to be late to school like Jia Yan, now do we?

Xiao Zi, reluctantly: Okay, Iím getting up.

Bei Li: Donít forget your Morning Prayer.

Xiao Zi, grabbing the Little Red Book, he recites from memory: I wish Mao to live on forever and ever.

Xiao Zi and Jia Yan exit to school.

Si Yuan: I plowed the paddies yesterday, so I think today would be a good day for planting the new rice seeds.

Bei Li, supportingly: Good idea, do you need any help?

Si Yuan, smiling: No thatís all right. Just make something good to eat for the kids and us when they come home for their lunch break. He reaches over to grab her hand. Iíll be back later.

Si Yuan exits to the rice paddies.

Bei Li, quietly singing to herself, as she does the dishes: You are the sun, you are the fire that keeps us warm. You will live forever, you are a God to me and to all of us. I will worship the ground you walk on, I will kiss your feet. Hmmm÷ mmmm.

Suddenly the door is kicked opened and enters a Red Guard.

Bei Li, startled: Oh! What are you doing here? Can I help you kind sir?

Red Guard, demandingly: Yeah, where is your husband?

Bei Li, apprehensively: Well heís outside planting this yearís rice crop.

Red Guard, meanly: I suggest you get him now, or call him into the house.

Si Yuan enters.

Bei Li, trying to hide her nervousness: This nice gentleman here wants to talk to you.

Red Guard, impatiently: Actually Iím here for the both of you. I have a warrant for your arrests.

Si Yuan, surprised: What did we do? What counts are we charged upon?

Red Guard, quickly: We have records that the two of you have a secret alliance with America, and giving away our secrets. You are charged for spying on your own government.

Bei Li, defensively: We never did anything of that sort? Weíre good honest people and would never want to hurt Mao and his government. I swear, weíre innocent people! We always say the prayer when we wake up, before we eat, and before going to bed. I promise, we didnít do anything wrong!

Red Guard, not caring: Come on, quickly. Iím the wrong person to tell. Iíve only been sent here to arrest the two of you.

Bei Li, helplessly: No please I beg you, please donít take us away. My children are in school right now, they need us when they come home. Please! NO! Please donít. She starts pulling away from the guardís strong grip, and in not being able to do so, she starts crying and whimpering. Please donít÷.

Her voice fades as the curtain drops.

Act 2

Scene 1

Jia Yan is waiting outside the schoolís courtyard for her brother Xiao Zi. Xiao Zi comes out, sees her, and runs to her.

Xiao Zi, excitedly: Guess what? I got a hundred on my math test. Professor Wu said I got the only one and she said she was very proud of me. She also said that I can a lot for my country if I keep this up.

Jia Yan, proudly: Good job, not bad at all. Youíre almost as smart as I am! She giggles a little, and the two of them start walking home for their 2-hour lunch break.

Scene 2

Jia Yan and Xiao Zi walk into their house.

Jia Yan, hungrily: Xiao Zi? Are you hungry? What do you want to eat?

Xiao Zi, putting his hand on his stomach: Of course Iím hungry, I didnít have any breakfast this morning because you were too lazy to wake me up so I could eat!

Jia Yan, smiling: Mom, weíre home. Did you make anything good for us today?

A man stands up from previously sitting on the bed and startles her. She gasps.

Jia Yan, surprised: Who are you? Can I help you?

Second Red Guard: Iím here on behalf of your parents. They wanted me here when you guys got home to explain to you what happened to them.

Xiao Zi, worriedly: What did you do to my parents? Whereís my dad? Whereís mommy?

Second Red Guard, getting annoyed because he obviously didnít like children: They were arrested this morning.

Jia Yan, stupefied: No, you canít do that! Where are they? I demand to see them now! Please!

Second Red Guard, angrily: Just be quiet, and let me explain.

Jia Yan, stubbornly: I just want to see my parents! Please let them go, I just want to see them. I canít take care of my brother by myself! Why are you doing this to me?

Xiao Zi thinking he was a tough little boy goes over and punches the Second Red Guard in the arms.

Second Red Guard, now really mad: Stop that, you insolent little boy! He grabs Xiao Zi by the arms and drags him to the other side of the room.

Xiao Zi starts to cry hysterically and he runs to his sister for protection.

Jia Yan, madly: How could you do that to my brother?! Heís only nine years old! Donít you have any compassion at all in your puny little brain? Jia Yan walks over to him, and spits in his face. There, you deserved that!

Second Red Guard, breathing heavy trying to control his anger: I should arrest you for trying to undermine the Communist government just like your parents. I can see where you get your manners.

Jia Yan, with an angry frown on her face: What exactly didnít my parents do?

Second Red Guard, loosing impatience: Itíll all be explained when we reach the courtroom. Their trial is today, and can not be postponed for fear of escape. So come with me.

Scene 3

The scene opens up in the courtroom with Si Yuan and Bei Li I the front. One on each side each in their own little pulpit where the defendants stand. The judge is in the front on his own high podium, with two Red guards beside him, one on each side. The audience seats are filled with curious bystanders. People are chatting away, wondering what was going to happen here today.

Judge, to the people of the court: Everybody, itís time to be quiet. Weíre going to start soon. To Bei Li: Why did you feel the need to undermine the Communist government of China?

Bei Li, quietly: I didnít.

Judge: Speak up, I canít hear you.

Bei Li, a little louder this time but still inaudible: I didnít.

Judge: Louder please!

Bei Li, loud enough for the Judge to hear: I didnít.

Judge, loosing impatience: If the typist canít hear you, what good is that going to do? This time say it loud!

Bei Li, unable to handle the pressure starts to cry: I didnít! She yells out to the court, again and again. I didnít, I didnít do anything, I love Mao, and our whole family loves him. We support him, everyday we pray for him. I didn't! I didnít!

The court starts to stir and whispers go around. Someone is heard saying traitor.

Judge, meanly: Quiet now! Everybody quiet! Iím trying to hold a trial here! The well being of our country is at stake here! Now to Si Yuan. Do you plead guilty to spying for the US Government? Do you plead guilty to trying to undermine the Communist government, to spying, and then reporting the information back to the US?

Si Yuan, proudly: I am not guilty. I am one hundred percent innocent, as innocent as the guard that came to arrest us is. Si Yuan shoots a mocking glance toward the Red Guard.

Judge: Do you mean to say that neither of you did anything illegal?

Si Yuan, mockingly: Thatís exactly what I said didnít I?

Judge, suspiciously: Are you mocking me?

Si Yuan: No you honor. Why would I do such a thing? Maybe because you arrested two innocent people, and left their kids with no parents?

Judge, annoyed: I see. Well Iíve had enough of you for today. Weíll resume the trial tomorrow, when you decide to confess. Get some rest. Think about it. Quietly to the Red Guard. Bring them to the fields in the back and execute them immediately. We can not stand to have these traitors in our country.

Jia Yan, crying hysterically, not knowing what to think: Mom! Dad! How can you do this to us? Didnít you think of us when you were spying? Didnít you think of the circumstances? I canít believe you would do something like this to us! Weíre your children!

Xiao Zi, confused: Was mommy bad? Are they going to get punished? Will they hit them like my teacher sometimes does with a paddle? No please make them stop. Mommy, come back!

Si Yuan and Bei Li are led away through the back doors, knowing exactly what was going to come to them. Si Yuan held his head high, while Bei Li cried, not knowing what was going to happen to her kids. Both had no energy to protest, and both knew it was no use.

Jia Yan, angry but scared: You are going to pay for what you did! Why did you do it? Why? Why? She repeats this over and over, while she cries.

Xiao Zi holds onto his sister for comfort, heís crying too. The sobbing noises fade as the curtains close.

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