No, Listen to Me (2013)

 

No, Listen to Me 

 

a short play 

 

by 

 

Emily Y.

 

Characters: 

CURIOUS, the Harmonica, male, 17. 

WISE, the Disk, male, 56. 

 

Setting: In a storage room of a music school. There are different kinds of instruments in the 

room, such as a violin and a piano. They are dusty and old. The room is bright as sunlight 

comes in from the window shining on a birthday cake. 

 

Time: An afternoon on Curious’ birthday. 

 

At Rise: Wise is playing old music from his disk; Curious sits and listens, looks bored, as he is 

looking outside the window. 

.

WISE 

 

Hey, Curious, why are you looking so bored? Isn’t my music enlightening? I especially 

picked these songs for your birthday. 

CURIOUS 

 

Thanks, dad. But . . . (yawns) these songs really make me feel sleepy. 

WISE 

 

Curious! (frown) You should be more appreciative to old songs. 

CURIOUS 

 

Come on, man. It’s my birthday, let’s not talk about these boring things. Look outside, 

look at the dancing trees, look at the resting sky . . . the world is so wide and wonderful. 

Why don’t we go explore the changing world, rather than staying in this old storage room, 

passing on some “tradition” that nobody cares about? 

 

WISE 

 

What did you say!? (shocked) 

 

CURIOUS 

 

You’ve heard me. (turns face away) 

WISE 

 

Curious. (Suppressing anger) Give some RESPECT to our family tradition, and our 

ancestor. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Who gives a song about tradition. This is a modern world, ain’t nobody care about dead 

people . . . 

WISE 

 

(Furious, raises his hand, about to hit Curious) Foolish! Foolish son! 

CURIOUS looks straightly into Wise’s eyes with anger, not intending to dodge Wise’s fist. 

.

Wise’s fist freezes for a second, then he takes his hand back. After a while of silence, 

Wise starts speaking uncertainly. 

WISE 

 

(Sighs) Curious, you have changed. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I changed? (Laughs) You know what? Even the world is changing in every minute, why 

can’t I change? 

WISE 

 

There are some things that can’t be changed. Our family tradition has remained the 

same for centuries, and it will pass on eternally. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

That’s what you think. You lock yourself in here, not knowing what’s happening outside. 

That’s why you can say this so easily – Family tradition can’t be changed? Everything 

will get crushed under the wheel of the changing world, unless you follow the wheel. Go 

out there, and you will find out that modern music is the main stream right now. 

 

WISE 

 

Wow wow wow. My son, did you get brainwashed by the evil music? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

You are the one who got brainwashed, by old music. My passion for music is strong, I 

like how it is refreshing; and more importantly, modern music is what people in the world 

are listening to: I want to be part of the world. 

 

WISE 

 

Says who? You can play old music and you are still an important part of the world, See 

.

the violin, and the piano? They love listening to the old songs I play. And my songs are 

popular in school, too, since people play them everyday. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

No, no, no, no . . . Only old guys like your old songs. Have you ever tried to discover my 

world? I am not an old guy like you. Other kids tease me for only knowing old songs. 

Oh, I hated those days. 

 

WISE 

 

(In pain) Why . . . you never tell me about that? When you were little, you were always 

smart and obedient, and every time you had learned one song, you would be really happy 

. . . (delighted, memorizing) You would dance around the room 

 

CURIOUS

 

… and I kept singing the old song for a whole day until you told me to stop, “Silly boy, 

don’t hurt your throat . . .” 

 

WISE 

 

Yeah, yeah (laughed, then stopped) but . . . but why don’t you do that anymore? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Because I have grown up, I have found my dream. Why can’t you just support my 

dream?! 

 

WISE 

 

Son, I always support you on almost everything. But this time, no, “pursuing modern 

music”? You won’t want that, you are too immature to set that as your dream . . . 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I’m not a kid anymore. I really don’t understand, why are you so resisted to modern 

music? 

 

WISE 

 

(Slowly shakes his head) Why don’t we eat the cake first? It’s melting, didn’t you always 

.

wanted a cake for your birthday? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Don’t try to change the topic. I’m not interested in those childish things anymore. If you 

really want me to be happy, support my dream. 

Wise is bout to cut the cake, but sadly takes his hand back. 

 

WISE 

 

Don’t you understand? Old music symbolizes the wisdom of our ancestors. Moreover, it 

is a link to our family culture. If you don’t work hard to study the old music, our family 

tradition won’t continue. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

But is family tradition really that important, even more important than my will? 

 

WISE 

 

You are still young, you don’t know what’s good for you . . . 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I know exactly what I want! I want to go outside, see what the world is listening to. I want 

to play modern songs, and blend into the modern world! I don’t want to get rotten in this 

broken storage room! And die without anybody knowing me! 

 

WISE 

 

(Calm) Of course you are too young, that’s why the outside world is so attractive. You 

see the refreshing, beautiful part of the world. But what you don’t know is the cruel, 

dangerous side. That’s why I don’t let you go out, you will get hurt. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

That’s a lame excuse. You don’t want me to get hurt? Why did you beat me up in the 

first place? 

 

.

WISE 

 

Because you snuck out from the window and went to the club that one time! Do you 

know how much I was worried about you? How could you do such a bad thing! 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I just went there to listen to music! All the other kids could go there, but me! Because I 

have a stubborn old song 

lover as my dad! 

 

WISE 

 

Listen to MODERN music! You got corrupted by modern music, I knew this day will 

come eventually. And you were smelling like alcohol too! Didn’t you know drinking would 

hurt your body parts? What if you can’t play songs anymore? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I know, hahaha, that’s all you care about what 

if I can’t play the OLD SONGS 

anymore? That’s why you taped up the window, so I would stay in here forever. 

 

WISE 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I only taped up the window to prevent you from sneaking to the club 

again. When I beat you up, I hurt even more than you do, but I won’t regret it, if my 

punishment can change your mind. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

(Laughs) Yes, I changed – Are you satisfied? You think blocking the window can stop 

me from going out? Interesting. Even if you don’t support my curiosity, the whole world 

will fulfill me. 

 

WISE 

 

What do you mean? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Few days ago, I met Mr. Free the Fox, he is also a modern music lover. He told me lots 

.

of amazing things about the outside world. 

 

WISE 

 

Don’t trust the fox too much . . . they are cunning (worried) 

 

CURIOUS 

 

NO, he’s the kindest creature I have ever met. He even offered to help me travel around 

the world, and listen to all kinds of modern music in different places. I want to go with 

him. 

 

WISE 

 

What!? Are you going to leave me? Just for that stupid modern music? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

It’s not stupid! It’s my obsession, my dream!

 

WISE 

 

You don’t even know that cunning fox, and you want to go with him? Are you out of your 

mind? What if he plans to sell you to the black market? I told you, the world is more 

dangerous than you think! 

 

CURIOUS 

 

His name is Mr. Free, not “cunning fox”! And I trust him, although we only known each other for 

few days, I can see from his eyes – we share the same passion. 

 

WISE 

 

(In pain) No, don’t go. I won’t let you take this risk. You don’t even know him, he must have 

ensnared you in some way, listen to me. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

I don’t know him? It’s more like I don’t know YOU! You always wanted me to inherit the old 

songs, I don’t even like them. 

 

WISE 

 

 

.

You don’t know . . . me? (covers his eyes, weeping) All these years, I have always been 

concerned about you. Everything I do is because I want you to live a safe, a happy life, and 

ensure your a successful future, because . . . I love you. And that’s how you think of me? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Dad . . . are you crying? 

 

WISE 

 

I’m such a horrible father. I do things that I think are best for you, but I never try to understand 

what you really want. 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Oh, dad. Sorry, I didn’t really mean it. I appreciate what you have done for me all these 

years. I finally understand your love for me, and your effort for our family. Now it’s my turn 

to take over this responsibility. 

 

WISE 

 

No, you don’t have to. You have been a good son all these years, bearing all the pain 

yourself. Now I will let you do the things you really wanted to do play 

modern music, isn’t that your dream? Then go for it! Don’t just give up halfway, that’s no like our family? 

 

CURIOUS 

 

Thank you, Dad, I won’t let you down. 

 

WISE 

 

Happy birthday, silly boy! 

Father and son give each other a big hug. 

 

THE END